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Since January, 2011, when I was first appointed as Executive Director, I have had the privilege of supporting the work of the Commission to advise the Mayor on policy that will advance education opportunities for adults in Philadelphia.
Shortly after starting here I attended a GED® completion celebration for a wonderful group of successful adult learners, whose stories are an inspiration to us all. There was the woman who decided to go back to learning when her grandchild wanted to know why she had to stay in school when her grandmother had dropped out and never earned a diploma. The grandmother promptly enrolled in a literacy program, and here she was, proudly standing in her graduation robes surrounded by her children and grandchildren. And there was the man who told of studying hard for a year, and passing all but one of his five GED® tests, when he was diagnosed with cancer. Eight months of chemotherapy intervened before he had the strength to study again. Only eight weeks after re-enrolling he was ready to take and pass that final test. Every adult whose education ended before earning a diploma has a story to tell of personal challenge, determination, courage, and triumph. They inspire my work every day.
Since 1990 when I was appointed by Mayor Goode (yes, I was a mere baby), I have had the distinct opportunity to play many roles for the Commission. I currently oversee the Commission’s work around systems, programming, instruction, community involvement, resources, professional development and training. Working with various government departments, social service agencies, literacy providers, nonprofits and community groups provides me the wonderful experience of serving the citizens of Philadelphia.
Many years ago, I had the chance to go to a graduation ceremony at Inglis House. Inglis is a national leader in providing care and services for people with complex physical disabilities. During this graduation I witnessed the true spirit of people were determined to succeed. To me this typifies what I see in so many adult education classes. The desire to succeed and to be successful and the wonderful perseverance adults show in overcoming the many challenges they encounter.
Director of Marketing and Communications
A self-proclaimed education advocate, I was thrilled to join the staff of the Commission in May of 2013. As Director of Marketing and Communications, I am charged with increasing the public profile of adult literacy, workforce readiness, and lifelong learning in Philadelphia. In addition to strengthening the Commission’s brand, my responsibilities include developing creative messaging across all print and digital marketing platforms. Along with a stellar communications team, our department informs the public about the Commission’s wide-ranging programs for adult learners, educators, and volunteers. One of my favorite parts of my job is engaging individuals, community based organizations, and businesses about how they can work with the Commission to help make Philadelphia a city of learners and earners.
Associate Director, Mayor’s Commission on Literacy
As a resident of Philadelphia with a strong commitment to education, I was privileged to join The Commission in September of 2013. As lead on the myPLACE campuses, I am coordinating efforts to create a more effective system for understanding the needs of adult learners, placing each learner in an educational program that meets these needs, and providing comprehensive supports to increase persistence and retention. In my current role, I also design professional development that equips adult literacy practitioners and leaders with research-based strategies and techniques that can be immediately put into practice with a diverse range of adult learners. Prior to joining The Commission, I was Senior Director at Foundations, Inc., where I designed professional development and technical assistance for urban and rural schools nationally, and served as content specialist for You4Youth, a U.S. Department of Education initiative. I have an M.S.Ed. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, and have lived and worked in Spain, Costa Rica, and El Salvador.
Assistant Director of Communications
I started working at the Mayor’s Commission in August 2005. I handle anything from creating e-communications, coordinating meetings and event logistics, to supervising volunteers and interns, and giving information and referrals to people looking for literacy services.
Working with the literacy providers and people who call or come to our office looking for services is what I like most about the job. It’s so hard to find people who genuinely want to help others in the world today, and I try to provide the best customer service experience, so people will continue to stay connected to us. I guess I’m a “people person”—helping others is my thing.
Information and Referral Specialist
I was hired as the Commission’s Workforce Liaison in 2005. Now, as my duties continue to expand, I provide referrals to individuals looking for classes and programs, as well as manage our new online registration system. One beneficial aspect of my work has been the pride of accomplishment that my role has offered me. The most remarkable has been when I’ve been able to help others who are looking to improve their lives by making a positive move towards working to be a successful part of their own future. Working with the Commission has educated me to the fact that promoting and facilitating adult literacy is one of the most important societal contributions one can make.