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.
Access to literacy is fundamental for a fair and just society and necessary for individuals, families, and communities to thrive.”
Content Director of Clear Language Lab
Melanie Sampson has over 15 years of experience in adult education, including teaching, program administration, and volunteer management as well as a master’s degree in linguistics. At Literacy Works, she oversees project management at our Clear Language Lab. In this work, she designs training for professionals across a variety of sectors including workforce development, health, legal aid and others so that programs can more effectively communicate with participants. She “translates” handbooks, forms, and other client-facing documents to make them clear and accessible to adults of diverse educational backgrounds. She also consults with program staff to identify how literacy may affect their participants and how they can reduce barriers. In her free time, Melanie enjoys reading advice columns, hanging out with her dog, and walking around Chicago.
The ability to read and write opens up worlds of potential and knowledge that have the power to change a life.”
Jasmine Edison earned her B.A. in Communication and Political Science at Purdue University where she also gained valuable experience in leadership and volunteer development with Boilers in Action. She manages in-kind donations and donor media for Expanding Your Horizons Chicago to bring STEM opportunities to girls in underserved communities. Jasmine previously worked in employment-based immigration services and has joined Literacy Works as the Development Coordinator. In this role, she works to manage giving, plan annual fundraising events, and create marketing and media content for the organization.
Literacy is an indispensable right for all. Learning to read and write changes communities and supports individuals previously left out of conversations. Creating access to literacy education is imperative for a more diverse, inclusive, and hopeful future.
Community Literacy Program Manager
Keighty began her work as an educational ASL interpreter and quickly became interested in the teaching she was interpreting. She taught English as a Second Language for three years, while pursuing her M.A in Applied Linguistics. Her thesis focused on d/Deaf adult English learners, which led her to become interested in adult education specifically. She has presented at several conferences about adult education including the concept of Universal Design in the educational setting and working with ASL interpreters. Through her work she hopes to help make education accessible and equal for all who seek it. In her spare time, Keighty loves to grow vegetables, practice art making, or watch her cats run around in the yard.
The library is the temple of learning, and learning has liberated more people than all the wars in history.”
Gabi holds a BA in Gender and Sexuality Studies and Sociology from the University of Chicago where she also worked as a grade school teaching assistant. She is currently a graduate student at DePaul University in their Women and Gender Studies MA program. As a Program Associate, Gabi is overseeing membership, program scheduling for Tutor Essentials trainings, and program data. She enjoys reading, listening to podcasts, cross-stitching, and singing world folk music.
Literacy is foundational to everything that helps a person grow and succeed. It can be easy to take that for granted.”
Stanley is currently finishing up his undergraduate degree in chemistry and creative writing at the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign. His interest in words and storytelling started in elementary school when he and his sister would spend hours coming up with zany characters and stories. He is a volunteer tutor for Adult Basic Education at the Learning Center, and is now working as Literacy Works’ Program Associate, where he handles registration for Tutor Essentials and Professional Development trainings, as well as referrals for tutors and students. He likes African desert blues, riding the bus, and making lists of his favorite things.
Literacy is about knowledge. It is a fundamental tool individuals can use to transform their lives.”
Finance and Operations Coordinator
Samantha Gualito first joined Literacy Works as the Program Associate and is now the Finance and Operations Coordinator. She oversees Literacy Works’ accounts, HR functions, and technology infrastructure. Samantha is currently in graduate school at Roosevelt University’s Secondary Education program. She enjoys reading, writing, listening to podcasts, and going to readings and concerts throughout Chicago.
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
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
Director of Development, Voices for Illinois Children
Partner, Foley and Lardner, LLP
Head of Estate Settlement Services, BMO Private Bank
Instructional Coach, Reading In Motion
Celina Chatman-Nelson, PhD
Associate Dean of Academic Diversity and Inclusion, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Columbia University
Attorney, Allstate (retired)