When adults improve their literacy skills, the ripples extend to benefit their families, their communities, and beyond.”
Christine’s passion for adult literacy started in high school when she volunteered as an ESL tutor at a refugee center. That passion has served her well during her many years as an English language instructor, both locally and abroad, and as the Executive Director of Literacy Works. Under Christine’s leadership, Literacy Works has provided essential training to more than 10,000 professionals and volunteer tutors and thoughtfully developed innovative programs that help organizations better serve individuals with low literacy. When Christine is not at work, it is likely that you will find her in triangle pose on her yoga mat or dancing with friends in a Zumba class.
Literacy is the great equalizer in today’s society. Being able to read is essential for one’s economic, social, familial, and even medical health. It raises everyone up in our community.”
Amy’s extensive experience prior to joining Literacy Works includes 18 years in nonprofit fundraising, including individual giving, event planning, direct mail, and grantwriting and other communications. Most recently, she was the Development Officer at Evanston Community Foundation. She has also raised funds for the Lincoln Park Zoo and BackStage Theatre Company in Chicago. Amy holds a BA in Mass Communication from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a certificate in Philanthropy and Non-Profit Fundraising from Northwestern University’s School of Continuing Studies. She lives with her husband and two children, both of whom attend Chicago Public Schools, on Chicago’s northwest side. She enjoys spending time with her family (especially swim meets with her daughter) and reading outside.
Access to literacy is fundamental for a fair and just society and necessary for individuals, families, and communities to thrive.”
Adult & Family Literacy Specialist
Melanie Sampson, MA, has nearly 15 years of experience in adult education, including teaching, program administration, and volunteer management. At Literacy Works, she creates materials and designs training for professionals at parent education, adult literacy, workforce development and other programs. Melanie refers prospective students to literacy programs through our Adult Education Helpline and provides interactive parent education to adult learners. She also manages Literacy Works’ social media and web resources. In her free time, Melanie enjoys reading, hanging out with her dog, and taking long walks around Chicago.
Literacy is a key that opens doors. When individuals improve their literacy skills, they are more able to advocate for themselves and participate in their communities.”
Becky DeForest has over 15 years of experience in education. She started out as an elementary school teacher, but found herself drawn to adult education and its rewarding combination of teaching and public service. Becky brings knowledge and skills in ESL and ABE instruction, job readiness training, textbook publishing, and low-literacy materials. For Literacy Works, Becky creates training curricula, manages our staff of trainers, oversees Adult Learning in the Library at the Chicago Public Library, conducts workshops in expressive writing for adult learners, coordinates tutor training and networking events, and facilitates Literacy Connect trainings. She enjoys taking dance classes, cooking, and falling down Wikipedia rabbit holes.
Literacy is about knowledge. It is a fundamental tool individuals can use to transform their lives.”
Samantha holds a BA in English from Roosevelt University where she also worked as a writing tutor. She has volunteered as a reading coach and hopes to continue working in education and literacy as a high school English teacher. During her year of service with LVI VOCAL, Samantha is assisting with Literacy Works’ Adult Learning in the Library program, as well as overseeing membership and registration for Tutor Essentials trainings. She enjoys reading, writing, listening to podcasts, and going to readings and concerts throughout Chicago.
Literacy empowers individuals to make decisions appropriate to their needs and circumstances.”
Jeong Shin has nearly 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, ranging from legal advocacy for prisoners in British Columbia to affordable housing for homeless women and children in Chicago. She is trained and experienced in nonprofit administration and bookkeeping. Jeong assists with agency finances and is currently attending graduate school for accounting. Outside the office, Jeong can be found reading, watching British and Korean television, and exploring new restaurants.
Board of Directors
Shannon Callahan, President
Women’s Leadership and Economic Empowerment Director, YWCA Evanston/North Shore
Will Linder, Vice President
Principal, Will Linder Marketing Communications
Christine Sullivan, Treasurer
CAS Consulting, LLC
Kimberly Clark, Secretary
Financial Advisor, Waddell & Reed
Celina Chatman-Nelson, PhD
Assistant Director, Graduate Career Development, University of Chicago
Managing Director of Enterprise Science, Deloitte Consulting LLP
Mary Ann Dyar
Adult Redeploy Illinois Program Administrator, Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority
Corporate Counsel, Allstate (retired)
Senior Outreach Planner, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
Matthew C. Hynes
Portfolio Manager, The Northern Trust
Director of Frontline Focus, Chicago Jobs Council
Christine Kenny, Ex Officio
Executive Director, Literacy Works
Richard Levenfeld, Director Emeritus
Attorney, Allstate (retired)
Director of Development, Voices for Illinois Children
Partner, Foley and Lardner, LLP