Literacy Works is recognized in Chicago and beyond as a leading expert in adult literacy. Literacy Works’ mission is to advance equity by promoting literacy education and the use of clear language. We bolster adult literacy through capacity building and professional development, train volunteer literacy tutors, and build the capacity of adult literacy professionals. We work closely with mission-driven organizations to prioritize clear, effective communication in our communities so people can access information they need to thrive.

Our vision is that one day, literacy will be recognized as a basic human right, supporting people along their journey to read, write, and interpret the world.


meet the team

Christine Kenny


Executive Director

"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.


Jeannette Mihalek, President 

Ellen Johnson, Vice President 

Kimberly Clark, Secretary

Shannon Callahan

Brandon Cox

Kelly Hellberg

Katriel Jean-Baptiste

Stephanie Mena

John Palmer

Kim Ratkin

Ashley Telman

Christine Kenny, Ex Officio 

Celina Chatman-Nelson, Director Emeritus 

Mary Ann Dyar, Director Emeritus

Judith Gaston , Director Emeritus

Matthew C. Hynes, Director Emeritus 

Rich Levenfeld, Director Emeritus

Will Linder, Director Emeritus

Joel Schoenmeyer, Director Emeritus

Christine Sullivan, Director Emeritus