About Us

Carmine Stewart started Aspire Consulting and Educational Services in 2007, in response to the need for professional development for adult literacy educators.  Since its inception Aspire has provided a broad range of educational services, including program evaluation, instructional design, professional development training, financial literacy education, and conducting research (pilot, longitudinal, and benchmark studies).  


We aspire to reduce illiteracy levels in adult learners internationally and to increase the literacy levels of youth and young adults through the education and professional development of adult literacy instructors and secondary and developmental educators.


About Dr. Carmine Stewart

Dr. Stewart is the president and CEO of Aspire Consulting and Educational Services. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Eastern Michigan University with an emphasis in special education and returned home to Cleveland to pursue a Master’s in Urban Education from the Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University. Carmine later earned her doctorate in Urban Education in 2012 after defending her dissertation, Teacher Preparation and Professional Development in Adult Literacy Education. Since 2007 Carmine has been conducting professional development workshops for adult literacy instructors that provide them with strategies and tools that help to improve the instruction of adult literacy learners. Carmine has designed a certificate program for adult literacy practitioners that she offers in partnership with Cleveland State University. Carmine is also an Adjunct Professor at Cleveland State University where she teaches future educators in the graduate and undergraduate programs in the Adult Learning and Development, and Curriculum and Foundations departments.



ACES seeks to improve educational outcomes for students nationwide, from middle school through the Developmental Education level of post-secondary education.  We believe that through education, professional development, program evaluation, instructional design, and research, we can impact the quality of education, by improving teacher quality.  Research in K-12 has demonstrated that teacher quality is the strongest predictor of student success.  As defined in No Child Left Behind, a highly qualified teacher is one who has completed a teacher education program, earned a bachelor’s degree, obtained full State certification, and is placed in a position within their certification area.  In 2005 the definition of a highly qualified teacher was changed to include teachers who were certified through alternative certification programs.  These were teachers who hold a bachelor’s, are able to demonstrate competency in their subject matter area, and are participating in an alternative certification program. Existing research suggests that while content area preparation alone is not sufficient to produce high-quality teachers, content area knowledge and teacher certification are both positively related to student performance (Darling-Hammond and Youngs, 2002; Marszalek, Odom, LaNasa, & Adler, 2010).  We envision using this research to impact teacher quality and student outcomes through the development of education and training materials and products for adult literacy instructors and secondary and developmental educators.

Carmine delivered Exploring Identity and Implicit Bias: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Our Work on 12/4/20 …. [Her] well-sequenced, inclusive, and well-thought-through webinar showed her depth of experience with the content, and with the field of adult education.”

– Dani Scherer (World Education Inc.) & Lakshmi Nayak (Sabes ELA Center)


Can’t get enough of Carmen’s expertise and guidance“The training sessions that Aspire has provided … are always grounded in research and highly interactive, with clear objectives that give participants ready-to-use tools and strategies. Aspire is unwavering in its commitment and passion to equip teachers for the unique demands of adult education.”  

– Christine Lee, Training & Communications Consultant


“[Dr. Stewart] was an incredible wealth of knowledge, non-judgment, and support.

 – Dani Sherer, World Education Inc.