Gary Allen Eyre
Hall of Fame Class of 2011
Gary Allen Eyre’s contributions to the field of adult and continuing education span 50 years. It is well known that he has worked tirelessly with the executive and legislative branches of federal and state government on matters pertaining to public adult education. He has also developed significant working relationships with organizations, agencies, and individuals at the local, state, regional, and federal levels addressing educational issues and concerns of adults.
From 1971 to 1982, Eyre was executive director of the National Advisory Council for Adult Education, whose members were appointed by the president of the United States. At this point in U.S. history, adult basic education at the federal level was still in its infancy. Eyre’s efforts helped provide an agenda for legislation and public awareness for the field. As part of his agenda, he had a major impact on the policies of the country specifically related to literacy legislation and the use of discretionary funds for program development and training.
As the first solo executive director of the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education from 1982 to 1985, Eyre continued his impact on the legislative and executive branches. He provided continuing leadership for the new association, setting the precedence for executive directors for numerous years after his departure from that position.
Eyre continues to impact the visibility and stature of adult education in the areas of family literacy programs, GED programs, and staff development at both the state and national levels. As relevant today as ever, Eyre’s influential contributions continue to impact the field of adult education in profound ways.
At the state level, Eyre served as state director of two different states – Arizona and Colorado – and later moved to an associate superintendent position at the state level. All of these activities increased the number and funding for adult education activities.
Eyre received a bachelor of science from the University of Utah in 1959. He earned a master of arts from Colorado State College in 1964, and he received his doctor of education from the University of Northern Colorado in 1974. His career journey began as a high school teacher in Meeker,Colorado, moving on to become a local public school administrator and director of an adult high school in Colorado in 1962. Eyre has worked as a private consultant since 1998 as the president of Advance Associates and Consultants in Phoenix. He is presently writing a history of the Federal Adult Education Act for the Office of Vocational and Adult Education/U.S. Department of Education.
Athletics has also been a major part of Eyre’s life beyond a career in education. He has been a high school coach, school district athletic director, a representative of the U.S. track team in the Asian Games, a university conference track champion, and a coach, player, and student of golf for more than half a century. His involvement in this area extends beyond adult and continuing education, as it coincides with some of the basic tenets of education in general – being dedicated to the improvement of the lives of adults.