Beyond Literacy


Our History

In spring 2021, the merger between Center for Literacy (CFL) and Community Learning Center (CLC) brought together 87 total years of literacy experience that has created lasting, positive impacts, not just for individual students, but for their families and the community at large. By uniting together, the combined agency – renamed Beyond Literacy – goes above and beyond to offer strong transformational services and classes to those seeking a way to a better life.

Center for Literacy: Born as a volunteer tutoring program in 1968 in West Philadelphia, Center for Literacy (CFL) quickly expanded to other areas of Philadelphia in need of adult tutoring. The demand for tutoring services soon exceeded the availability of volunteer tutors, and CFL began adding classroom instruction for adult education. Preparation classes for the GED® test soon followed, and in a few short years CFL was offering free neighborhood classes throughout Philadelphia. In 2019, CFL’s headquarters and classes relocated to Peirce College with additional classes held at neighborhood locations across Philadelphia.

Community Learning Center: In 1987, founder Jean Fleschute launched an adult education program called Community Learning Center (CLC), meeting a dire local need for adults who had not finished high school. Starting with 67 students, Ms. Fleschute and devoted volunteers taught classes in the Germantown, Kensington, and West Oak Lane neighborhoods and began CLC’s hallmark of student-centered education that promotes a love of lifelong learning. In 1994, Community Learning Center became an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Throughout its history CLC, established its reputation as an outcome-driven organization.

Beyond Literacy

Greater capacity. Greater impact.

Together we have the ability and opportunity to reach, serve, and impact more individuals, families, and communities. As the largest literacy organization in Philadelphia, we are positioned to provide more opportunities to our learners than ever before through innovative partnerships, accessible services, and close relationships with diverse communities citywide.


Beyond Literacy


Our Mission

To expand opportunities and improve lives by unleashing the power of literacy through free, high-quality education.


Our Vision

Adults empowered beyond literacy; children, youth, and families inspired; our communities thriving; our city transformed.


Our Values

Belonging: We create a positive environment where all learners may experience a sense of belonging and worth.  

Equity: We provide equal access to education to combat systemic injustices that lead to unequal opportunities.

Lifelong learning: We believe everyone can learn and grow throughout their lives. 

Inclusion: We foster an inclusive space in which all cultures, traditions, and social identities are welcomed.

Transparency: We are sincere and accountable to each other and our community.

Financial Statements from Beyond Literacy

Click here to view our financial statements for transparency.

Strategic Plan Executive Summary

Click here to view our Strategic Plan Executive Summary.

2021 Impact Report

Click here to view our 2021 Impact Report.

2022 Impact Report

Click here to view our 2022 Impact Report.

2023 Impact Report

Click here to view our 2023 Impact Report.

Graduation with family


Board of Directors

Julie Jones | President | Drexel University
Enrico Crispo | Vice President | IKEA
Pratik Butala | Treasurer | Vanguard
Ivy McDaniels | Secretary | Alliance for Decision Education
Ted Baumgardner | The Baumgardner Group
Denise Cifelli | University of Pennsylvania
Jeffrey Daman | Daman and Associates
Ashley Del BiancoUniversity of Pennsylvania
Alison DiFlorio | Exude Inc.
Charlie Douglas | Comcast
Jessika Faulkner | Citizens Bank
Hon. James Giles | Blank Rome Law Offices
Beth Gonzales | Office of Homeless Services, City of Philadelphia
Michelle Grimley | Teachtown
Barbara Halpern | Halpern Law Office
Zeidane Javar | Beyond Literacy Learner                                                      Becky Leimkuhler | Deloitte Consulting
John Lyons | IBX Foundation
Ivy McDaniels | Alliance for Decision Education                                                  
Roy Pappan | PECO 
Dr. Erica Patterson | Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW)
Carol Saline | Saline Solutions                                                                  Marion Sindoni | Strategic Communications Leader


Executive Leadership Team

Kimmell Proctor

Chief Executive Officer

Kimmell Proctor, M.Ed.

A Philadelphia resident, Kimmell is committed to strengthening citywide community access to effective educational opportunities. With a combined twenty-five years of experience in education, strategic partnerships, and nonprofit services, Kimmell seeks to narrow achievement gaps and empower all learners with the knowledge, tools, and resources essential for success. After earning both her B.A. in Government and Master of Teaching at the University of Virginia, she began her career in the underserved classrooms of Baltimore with a focus on elevating early literacy instruction that she maintains today as a member of the AIM Institute Advisory Council. She also serves on the Philadelphia Works, Inc. Board of Directors, and led the merger of Community Learning Center and Center for Literacy to create Philadelphia’s largest Title II agency. As CEO of Beyond Literacy, Kimmell works closely with a wide range of community partners, funders, and families to facilitate collective action and align impactful education solutions.
Get in touch with Kimmell at [email protected]

Chief Program and Impact Officer

Dawn Hannah, M.A.

Since 1998, Dawn has dedicated her professional life to improving the academic and personal success of out-of-school youth and striving adult learners. The length of Dawn’s tenure in education is a testament to her passion for bridging the academic gaps that can limit one’s life-chances.

Dawn began her career as adjunct faculty at the Community College of Philadelphia, teaching ESL, GED, and developmental English courses. She later served as a researcher and project manager at the University of Pennsylvania’s National Center on Adult Literacy (NCAL). Building on lessons learned as both an educator and education researcher, Dawn left NCAL and began her career in education administration in 2007. Since then, Dawn has served as Education Coordinator at Congreso de Latinos Unidos, and held a number of positions at the Center for Literacy, including In-School Youth Program Manager, Manager of Data Systems, In-House Professional Development Specialist, and Assistant Director of Education. In 2013, Dawn accepted the position of Director of Education at the Community Learning Center (CLC). In 2018, she was charged with management of CLC’s intake and student support teams. Dawn now serves as the agency’s Chief Program Officer.

Dawn’s commitment to adult education is grounded in her personal journey as one of the first in her family to attain a postsecondary credential, and the only one until recently to have earned an advanced degree. Dawn holds a B.S. in Spanish from Georgetown and an M.A. in linguistics from Stanford.

Get in touch with Dawn at [email protected]



Chief Operating Officer

Sara Manning

Sara joined Beyond Literacy as Chief Operating Officer in August 2023. She has held senior leadership positions at Mental Health Partnerships, The Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, White-Williams Scholars (now Heights Philadelphia) and the American Heart Association. Sara has 18 years of nonprofit management experience in development, communications, operations, board relations, and events. In her prior roles, she built her expertise in implementing new systems for greater efficiencies, leading efforts to increase and diversify organizational revenues, and raising brand awareness. 

Before entering the nonprofit sector, Sara held several account management positions in major broadcast, cable, print and radio with Fox Philadelphia, KYW-TV, Metro Philadelphia and Radio One. During her tenure, she spearheaded creative partnerships with several nonprofit organizations resulting in increased community engagement and exposure for all parties.

Sara holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Temple University and is a first-generation college graduate. An active member in her South Jersey community, Sara is a founding board member of The Victory Group, a nonprofit based in Westville, NJ, which addresses basic needs within surrounding underserved communities around food insecurity, clothing essentials, education, and job training. Early in her career, Sara served as a volunteer for the Center for Literacy. She is excited that her career journey has brought her full circle to Beyond Literacy. 

Get in touch with Sara at



Leadership Team


Director of Education

Gianna Brisbone, M.S.

Gianna is dedicated to helping others utilize education to become the best versions of themselves. She grew up in North Philadelphia and experienced many of the systemic inequities that still plague urban areas today. Thankfully, she was able to receive excellent educational experiences. It was those experiences that allowed her to gain access to a variety of opportunities. She believes that having options makes all the difference in life. Therefore, she strives to ensure that others receive high-quality academic instruction, so that they will have choices about what they want to do with their lives and who they want to become.  

Gianna currently serves as the Director of Education for Beyond Literacy. Her previous roles include Math, Reading, Science, and Social Studies teacher, In-House Professional Development Specialist, Academic Coordinator, and Neuroscience researcher. She earned both her Bachelor of Science in Biology and her Master of Science in Neuroscience degrees from Delaware State University. She also earned her Master of Science degree in Secondary Education from the University of Pennsylvania.   

Get in touch with Gianna at [email protected]


Director of Workforce Solutions

Rochelle T. Cooks

Rochelle T. Cooks is Director of Workforce Solutions at Beyond Literacy. She has been in workforce development serving adults of all skill levels. She discovered this field after participating in a community service spring break trip to Detroit, MI with the UMass Boston Beacon Voyages for Service program. There, Rochelle learned what poverty looks like in the US and how housing demolition and restoration and urban farming can revitalize a community. Since then, Rochelle recommitted her career to serving individuals in low-paying jobs to empower them to find and retain family-sustaining careers. Rochelle believes education and employment are keys to ending the cycle of poverty. And, upskilling job seekers and employers is important in changing the workforce development ecosystem. We as a community are obligated to make these opportunities accessible to all.

Rochelle received her Bachelor of Art in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Massachusetts Boston and Master of Education in Adult and Organizational Development from Temple University. She is enjoys going to concerts and comedy shows.

Get in touch with Gianna at [email protected]

Director of Student Support & Digital Navigation Programs 

Kieran Farrell

Kieran has worked to support a variety of at-risk populations throughout her career. She began her career as a Residential Caseworker for dually diagnosed homeless men and women in Philadelphia and New York. She shifted into Adult Education in 2010 while working with a small tutoring program supporting low-income Philadelphians developing basic literacy skills. It was in this role that Kieran recognized the immense need for adult education services in Philadelphia and realized its impact on the family unit and our larger community. She began working with Community Learning Center in 2012 as Student Support Coordinator and became Director of the Student Support Program (SSP) and Digital Equity at BeLit in 2022. Kieran leads a team of Student Support Coordinators and Digital Navigators to support learners’ goals and ensure access to the social service and digital access supports needed to be successful. Kieran has a BA in Latin American Studies and Peace and Justice Studies from Fordham University.   

Get in touch with Kieran at [email protected]


Director of Enrollment & Placement

Kelly Griebert

Kelly is invested in building and strengthening community to foster the development of a more equitable world. She is passionate about how Beyond Literacy’s focus on providing adults and families with access to high quality education plays a small, but impactful, role in this work.

Kelly graduated from The College of New Jersey with a degree in Biology and minors in Spanish and Gender Studies. Initially unsure of the type of job she wanted to pursue, Kelly began working as an SAT & ACT tutor for high school students. She quickly found a home in the education field, but was eager to utilize her skills and experience in an administrative capacity. After tutoring for two years, Kelly began working as an Intake Coordinator and Office Associate at Community Learning Center (CLC). She has since held a few different positions at CLC and BeLit that have enabled her to help develop an intake and enrollment process that makes it easier for prospective learners to begin their education journeys. Kelly currently serves as the Director of Enrollment & Placement.


Get in touch with Kelly at [email protected]


Director of Communications

Amanda Labrador

Amanda is passionate about strengthening and expanding our new agencies impact to directly combat systemic injustices in Philadelphia. As Director of Communications, she is committed to creating partnerships that align with our agency’s collective action to create empowered and equitable opportunities for our learners. Amanda earned her B.A. in Mass Communications and Women’s Studies from Towson University. Previously, she served as Director of Events at the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce where she developed dozens of corporate events focused on city-wide economic and workplace initiatives for minorities, women, and young professionals. She was co-editor and designer of the InBusiness Magazine, as well as being a contributing writer.

Get in touch with Amanda at [email protected]



Director of Strategic Initiatives

Faiza Manzoor

Faiza brings a passion for education and operational excellence to Beyond Literacy. She graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in Psychology and International Relations, attending Stanford as a result of the Fulbright – Sutton Trust US Programme.

In her previous role as Chief Operating Officer and Business Manager at The Stanford Daily Publishing Corporation, Faiza was responsible for overseeing operations, managing budgets, leading fundraiisng initatives, and the financial performance of the company. As the Director of Strategic Initiatives at Beyond Literacy, Faiza leverages her nonprofit operational experience, strategic vision, and dedication to educational equity to drive impactful change and empower learners.

Get in touch with Faiza at [email protected].




Niema Alfred | Intake Coordinator

Michael Antosch, M.Ed. | Instructor

Debroah Arnold | Communications & Special Events Specialist

Luriel Balaurea | Instructional Technology Specialist

Amy Bell | Instructor

Karen Bennett | Instructor

Mitchell Berger, Ed.D. | Instructor

Lindsay Blade | Student Support Coordinator

Ivry Bland | Student Support Coordinator

Scott Bostwick | Intake Coordinator

Imani Burrus | Instructor

Tiffani Clemons | Administrative Assistant/Receptionist

Suzy Czarkowski, M.Ed., M.A. | Instructor

Jemal Davis | Facilities and IT Coordinator

Warren Dobney | Instructor

Steven Doncaster | Student Enrollment Specialist

Amara Gregorek | Student Support Coordinator

Carl Gugasian | Instructor

Patricia Haggerty | Instructor

Song Han | Instructor 

Steve Hawkins, M.Ed. | Instructor

Aliocha Haynes | Instructor and Intake Coordinator 

Clarece Hicks | Intake Coordinator

Kristen Hodge | Data and Intake Coordinator

Roberta Hodges | Senior Site Coordinator

Andrew Hoffman | ESL Instructor

Mercy Howard | Student Support Coordinator

Mara Imms | Instructor

Barry Johnson | Instructor

Shaina Kapeluck, M.S.Ed. | Instructor

Lorna Laster-Jackson | Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator

Gabrielle Lanciano | School Partnerships Manager

Joanne Laub | Instructor

Nancy Lawrence Hill, M.S. | Instructor

Wen Liu | Drexel Americorps Volunteer

Anna Claire (AC) Loper | Development Manager

Zaire Martin | Digital Navigation Specialist

Carolanne Mitchell, M.Ed. | Tutor and Classroom Aide Coordinator

Tim Morris, Ph.D | Instructor

Maryellen Norek | Student Support Coordinator

Vinny Ong | Intake Specialist

Megan Reamer | Instructor

Iris Rivera | Intake Coordinator

Heather Robinson | Instructor

Alexis Smith, M.A. | Instructor

Vivian Sevick | Intake & ESOL SSP Coordinator

Saumya Srivastava | Instructor

Mike Stevens | Instructor

Vicki Szondy | Instructional Technology Specialist

Rachel Tillman | Student Support Coordinator

Nicole Tomassi | Instructor

Claire Tucker | Data Quality Manager

Jaider Urrea | Intake Coordinator

Melissa Valle | Instructor

Monica Vasturia | Data & Assessment Specialist 

Tammy Walker | Instructor

Daniel Waters | Instructor

Valerie West | Salesforce Admin

Jelani Wilson | Student Support Coordinator

Samira Woods, M.A | Instructor

Christine Zopf | Instructor

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