Beyond Literacy


Our Story

Beyond Literacy is the best solution to teach our city’s hardest to reach. Adult learning helps break the cycle of poverty, particularly among those Philadelphians who are low-literate, unemployed, or lack a high school degree. In turn, adult learners contribute to the economy’s growth, as workforce development is a key part of our city’s economic growth. In a city where 1 in 3 adults is challenged by their lack of basic reading and numeracy skills, Beyond Literacy provides access and opportunity creating a more equitable, educated, and productive Philadelphia. 

learners served annually

Community Campuses

years combined literacy experience

partner site programs citywide


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.

Graduation with family


Board of Directors

Enrico Crispo | President | PECO
Ashley Del Bianco | Vice President | University of Pennsylvania
Jonathan Hill | Treasurer | M&T Bank
Jeffrey Daman | Secretary | Daman and Associates
Alison DiFlorio | Exude, Inc.
Barbara Halpern | Halpern Law Office
Carol Saline | Saline Solutions
Charlie Douglas | Comcast
Denise Cifeli | University of Pennsylvania
Dinesh Indala | Philadelphia Housing Authority
Dr. Erica Patterson | Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW)
Hon. James Giles | Blank Rome Law Offices
Ivy McDaniels | Beck Institute
Joseph Benford | Free Library of Philadelphia
Julie Jones | Drexel University
Keisha Moore | Beyond Literacy Graduate 
Kyle Straub | PwC
Malcolm Yates | State Rep. Scanlon
Marion Sindoni | Federal Reserve Bank
Michael McCourt | Clarfeld Citizens Private Wealth
Michelle Grimley | Teachtown

Peggy Leimkuhler | Firstrust Bank
Robert Young | Retired Attorney
Zeidan Javar | Beyond Literacy Learner


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

Chief Program 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



Chief Administrative Officer

Victoria Lynam

Victoria joined Center for Literacy (CFL) in 2013 as a Human Resources Specialist, became the full-time Director of Operations and HR a year later, and in 2017 was promoted to Chief Administrative Officer.

Previous to joining CFL, Victoria worked in the nonprofit senior services field for 20+ years in a variety of roles including Director of Human Resources, Chief Operating Officer and Director of a multi-site senior citizens center. She loves working in nonprofit. Victoria says that knowing her job supports an organization that makes people’s lives better is what gets her out of bed in the morning.

Victoria earned her Bachelor of Science degree at Florida State University (FSU), but also has a certificate in Human Resource Management from Villanova University and a certificate in Nonprofit Management from the LaSalle University’s Nonprofit Center. She and her husband of 20 years live in suburban Philadelphia with two cats and a whole lot of books.

Get in touch with Vicki at


Chief Development Officer

Robin Robinowitz

Soon after graduating from Antioch College with a BA in Sociology, Robin founded the Women’s Alliance for Job Equity (WAJE), a former member agency of WOMENS WAY, and served as its executive director for 13 years. During National Secretaries Day, she organized Bad Boss Contests with the Philadelphia Daily News and led workshops for employers on how to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. Robin moved on to work at the Urban Affairs Coalition (UAC) for 18 years, where she secured discretionary federal funds for workforce development programs supporting homeless adults and welfare-to-work clients, coordinated the development of UAC’s five-year strategic plans, directed events/press conferences, wrote external communications, and did media placements for UAC programs, including the Campaign for Working Families. In April 2015— her third career—Robin was hired at Center for Literacy to do fundraising and communications, and later was promoted to chief advancement officer. She is a board member of Northern Children’s Services.

Get in touch with Robin at


Director of Family and Community Partnerships

Cynthia Allen, M.Ed.

Cynthia began her journey at Center for Literacy (CFL) as a volunteer tutor. She was always interested in helping people reach their literacy goals. Cynthia was hired by CFL in October 2007 as an instructor and was an instructor for seven years, beginning as an Adult Basic Education instructor. She also taught in several other programs at CFL. Her last teaching experience was teaching young adults at one of the E3 Centers as a literacy specialist. In October 2013, Cynthia was promoted to assistant director of instructional quality. In 2016, Cynthia was promoted to director of academic success, which later became director of education.

Her goal is for every student to have the best outcome, which includes a positive learning experience, earning a high school equivalency credential and transitioning into post-secondary education or a career. Cynthia earned her Bachelor’s Degree at Millersville University. In 2010, she graduated from Strayer University with a Master’s in Educational Leadership.

Get in touch with Cynthia at


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


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


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




Niema Alfred | Intake Coordinator

Michael Antosch, M.Ed. | Instructor 

Mitchell Berger, Ed.D. | Instructor

Lindsay Blade | Student Support Coordinator

Ivry Bland | Student Support Coordinator

Scott Bostwick | Intake Coordinator

Tiffani Clemons | Administrative Assistant

Suzy Czarkowski | Instructor

Lynette David | Data Entry Specialist

Jemal Davis | Facilities Coordinator

Kieran Farrell | Student Support Manager

Nicole Ford | Data Entry Specialist

Carl Gugasian | Instructor

Kelly Griebert | Student Intake Manager

Patricia Haggerty | Instructor 

Song Han | Instructor

Lawrence Hastings, M.Ed. | Instructor 

Steve Hawkins, M.Ed. | Instructor

Aliocha Haynes | Instructor

Clarece Hicks | Intake Specialist

Kristen Hodge | Data and Intake Coordinator

Roberta Hodges | Administrative Assistant- HR/Receptionist

Mercy Howard | Volunteer Manager

Barry Johnson | Instructor

Shaina Kapeluck, M.S.Ed. | Instructor

Lorna Laster-Jackson | Administrative Assistant

Joanne Laub | Instructor

Lindsay Liprando, M.S.Ed. | Finance and Information Systems Manager

Maryellen Norek | Student Support Coordinator

Carolanne Mitchell, M.Ed. | Intake and Assessment Coordinator

Kathleen Quinn, M.Ed. | Data Quality Manager

Megan Reamer | Instructor

Heather Robinson | Instructor

Leon Santos De Barros | Intake Coordinator

Alex Smith, M.A. | Instructor

Mike Stevens | Instructor

LaTrina Swinson | Instructor

Nicole Tomassi | Instructor

Tammy Walker | Instructor

Daniel Waters | Instructor

Shonda Williams | Digital Navigator Outreach Support

Jelani Wilson | Student Support Coordinator 

Samira Woods, M.A. | Instructor


Join Our Team

Interested in joining the team at Beyond Literacy? We hire teachers throughout the year and strongly encourage you to submit your resume to be kept on file for future employment opportunities.

View all current job opportunities here

Send any additional inquires to

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