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OTAN Digital Leadership Academy Assists Adult Educators

Statewide Program Helps with Technology, Distance Learning

Audience watching on-screen presentation

Teams from adult education agencies across the state presented their mid-project reports in May. Digital Leadership Academy participants get helpful feedback from other participants as they analyze challenges, investigate solutions, and develop final plans.

The Digital Leadership Academy (DLAC), offered by the Outreach and Technical Assistance Network (OTAN), provides support, resources, and professional development opportunities to educators from adult education programs across California. DLAC helps participants analyze and solve challenges related to distance learning and technology integration that affect their students and colleagues. Nine schools and educational agencies are part of the current 2022–24 cohort. These professional development opportunities are a part of a long history of academies implemented by OTAN over the last 30 years.

During the first year of the academy, participants identify and research the challenges their program wants to overcome, developing clear goals. By the end of the second year, they come away with specific site plans that are ready to be implemented. Each team has an expert DLAC coach and gets helpful feedback from other participants as they investigate solutions. They receive training on leadership, time management, conflict resolution, hybrid/online learning, and how best to assess student needs.

Halfway through their two years, the groups present mid-project reports focused on the specific goals of their agencies. Some of this year’s reports, which were presented in May, addressed challenges like:

  • Technology utilization in nursing instruction
  • Processes for student orientation and registration
  • Services for English as a second language students
  • Hybrid-flexible (HyFlex) classes where students can decide to participate online or in the classroom

The presentations demonstrated the diverse themes and goals of the participants with projects aimed at enhancing education through technology integration and digital equity.

“The DLAC program is a transformative journey,” said Coordinator Neda Anasseri. “I’ve witnessed the amazing impact on the participants in each cohort. We’ve made significant strides in advancing education through technology integration and promoting digital equity, and our participants report a rapid promotion into administrative and leadership roles following their participation.”

In addition to developing specific solutions that will benefit their students, academy participants receive certificates of completion that show the total number of hours invested in the courses and activities—typically almost 200 hours over the two years, not including the time invested independently within their agency. In some cases, those who complete the program qualify for a step increase in their salary because of the substantial number of professional development hours.

Participation in the DLAC program is limited to a total of 30 individuals per cohort. Applications will open for 2024–26 in April. For more information, contact Neda Anasseri: (916) 228-2580 or

About OTAN

The Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOEAdult Education Department contracts with the California Department of Education (CDE) to operate the Outreach and Technical Assistance Network (OTAN). OTAN provides professional development, resources, and technical support to adult education agencies across California, offering both online and face-to-face workshops. Its workshops and course materials are provided to California adult education programs, educators, and staff at no cost thanks to funding from the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) through CDE. The Outreach and Technical Assistance Network was first funded in 1989 and has been operated by SCOE since 1994.

DLAC participants presenting in front of screen
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Presenters standing in front of screen