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.
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. Beyond Literacy breaks down barriers, igniting and exciting tomorrow’s learners. We open access and reach communities across Philadelphia. We empower adults to go from learning to earning. We unleash the power of literacy so our learners can reach their fullest potential at home and in the workforce.
learners served annually
years combined literacy experience
partner site programs citywide
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.
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.
Greater capacity. Greater impact.
Together we have the ability and opportunity to reach, serve, and impact more individuals, families, and communities. Joining forces will result in more resources as well as complementary strengths and specialties that allow us to provide more comprehensive programs and services to our learners.
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 and nation’s road to economic recovery post-COVID.
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.
To expand opportunities and improve lives by unleashing the power of literacy through free, high-quality education.
Adults empowered beyond literacy; children, youth, and families inspired; our communities thriving; our city transformed.
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.
Click here to view our financial statements for transparency.
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
Chief Executive Officer
Kimmell Proctor, M.Ed.
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 email@example.com
Chief Administrative Officer
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Chief Development Officer
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 email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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@example.com
Director of Workforce Development
Marcus Hall, MBA
Marcus serves as Director of Workforce Development for Beyond Literacy. In addition, Marcus serves as Secretary of the MacArthur Safety and Justice Challenge Community Advisory Committee, Treasurer of the Philadelphia Adult Literacy Alliance and fellow for the COABE State Advocates of Adult Education. Marcus is also a published contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer and formerly Philadelphia Public School Notebook.
Marcus earned his B.A. from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, Elementary Education Teaching Certificate from the University of Pennsylvania and has an MBA in Data Analytics from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA.
Get in touch with Marcus at firstname.lastname@example.org
Director of Outreach & Communications
Amanda is passionate about strengthening and expanding our new agencies impact to directly combat systemic injustices in Philadelphia. As Director of Communications and Outreach, 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@example.com
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.
Send any additional inquires to firstname.lastname@example.org.