Adult education in New Milford isn't just about learning to knit.

This is the message the new director of New Milford Adult Education wants to get out to the community.

Joanne Brogis arrives on the scene with an impressive resume of education, military and executive experience. Her annual salary is $30,000 for the part-time position.

"I love working with adults," Brogis said. "They are, in a way, the students I lost from the public school system as an assistant principal in Torrington.

"It's so rewarding," she said. "Everybody should have a passion in life. If you don't have that passion, come to us and we'll help you find it."

Assistant Superintendent of Schools Joshua Smith is delighted to have Brogis at the program's helm.

"We're fortunate to have Joanne, with her passion and commitment," Smith said. "We've restructured the director's position, allowing her to grow the program to meet the needs of a broader spectrum of the community."

Developing more job training, program expansion and degree development are all on the agenda. Expect to see Brogis at Rotary Club luncheons, Smith said.

Brogis knows about making a second start in life. Experiencing a successful career in the business world, she changed directions and started college at the age of 30.

She also joined the U.S. Air Force Reserve, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel. She retired from the military in 2011 after 30 years of service.

Brogis earned a PhD in educational leadership in 1989 from the University of Connecticut. She retired in 2011 as assistant principal of Torrington public schools for grades six to 12. She had been guidance director/administrator at Torrington High School for 14 years.

"I missed being in education," said Brogis, who returned to the field in the fall of 2012 in the position of adult and continuing education director with Danbury public schools.

"We're truly looking at a career and college readiness program," Brogis said about New Milford's GED and credit diploma programs.

"Our students are learning the variances of being in a leadership position, of being in management," she said. "When someone comes to us, we determine the best course forward for them."

And that support doesn't stop with graduation, Brogis said. The transition program for graduates assists them in enrolling in a career training or two-year college program, she said.

To learn more about the New Milford Adult Education program, call Christy Martin at 860-355-6647 ext. 1170 or email martinc@newmilfordps.org.