Our Team

Working together to achieve our mission: our team is our greatest strength.

Our Staff

Tom Dillon

Co-Executive Director

tdillon@theliteracylab.org

Tom Dillon is the Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of The Literacy Lab. With a background in foreign language instruction, Tom brings an understanding of language acquisition and linguistic processes to the organization. Tom has experience teaching, coaching, and working in a number of academic programs in the Washington, D.C. area. Tom earned a Bachelor’s degree in European Studies at The College of William and Mary and holds a Certificate in Contemporary Europe from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.

Ashley Johnson

Co-Executive Director

ajohnson@theliteracylab.org

Ashley Johnson is the Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of The Literacy Lab. Prior to founding The Literacy Lab, Ashley worked as a Special Education teacher and coordinator at public and charter schools in the District of Columbia. Ashley was a Teach For America Metro DC corps member. Ashley earned her Master’s degree in Special Education from American University and her Bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania.

Emma Byrne

Program Director

ebyrne@theliteracylab.org

Emma Byrne has experience as a classroom teacher and is an expert in experiential learning and team building. After graduating from West Virginia University with a Master’s degree in secondary education and a Bachelor’s degree in English, she lived in Guanajuato, Mexico, where she trained high school and college faculty in the implementation of the country’s first 4-H & Youth Development program. Emma is a former Literacy Lab tutor.

Sarah-Rose Dorton

Deputy Program Director

sdorton@theliteracylab.org

Sarah-Rose Dorton joined the Literacy Lab team after being a part of The Literacy Lab’s first class of full-time AmeriCorps tutors, where she served at Polk Elementary in Alexandria, Virginia. Prior to her year of service with The Literacy Lab, she spent her summers working for Youth Development programs in North Carolina. Sarah-Rose holds a Bachelor’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies and Religious Studies from The College of William and Mary.

María Eugenia Fernández

Program Associate

mfernandez@theliteracylab.org

María Eugenia Fernández is a Program Associate for The Literacy Lab. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, she has previously interned with organizations working to improve the quality of public education on the island. María Eugenia also volunteered as a tutor and classroom aide in Richmond, Virginia. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Sociology from the University of Richmond.

Chamelle Gleaton

Office Manager

cgleaton@theliteracylab.org

Chamelle Gleaton joined the Literacy Lab team after serving as a full-time tutor at Amidon-Bowen Elementary school in Washington, DC. She also served as a Team Lead for the Literacy Lab’s summer school program at Wheatley Elementary school. Prior to her two years of service with The Literacy Lab, she worked four years educating the general public on FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program. She also spent a summer working in a youth development program in Hyattsville, Maryland. Chamelle holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

Tiffany Matthews

Office Assistant

tmatthews@theliteracylab.org

Tiffany Matthews is a native of the District of Columbia and a graduate of Calvin Coolidge Senior High School (DCPS). She has experience working at multiple childcare centers and assisting with after-school and summer programs for elementary-aged children. Tiffany also volunteers at her son’s school, KIPP Grow Academy.

Carlie Muessig

Recruitment Associate

cmuessig@theliteracylab.org

Carlie Muessig is a Recruitment Associate for The Literacy Lab. She has always enjoyed interacting with students and spent her high school and college years working at summer camps, participating in elementary mentoring programs, and tutoring students of all ages. After graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University with a double major in English and Sociology, Carlie joined The Literacy Lab as a K-3 Tutor at Mt. Vernon Community School in Alexandria, VA. She enjoyed her time with the MVCS community so much that she now lives in the Del Ray neighborhood where the school is located.

Anne Murray

Communications and Program Associate

amurray@theliteracylab.org

Anne Murray served as a full-time tutor in The Literacy Lab’s program at Ingenuity Prep in Washington, D.C.’s Ward 8. Prior to her year of service, her interest in early education and literacy was sparked by a weekly volunteer position with her university in urban education settings and by interning in an after-school program in a Philadelphia public school. Anne holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services from Villanova University.

Connor Nowalk

Data and Strategy Manager

cnowalk@theliteracylab.org

Connor Nowalk has worked as an educator in a variety of roles. A former Literacy Lab tutor, he went on to teach high school math for four years, including two as part of the Teach For America DC Corps. He also founded an ed tech company called Echograde to help teachers give students feedback and served as an English teacher in Angol, Chile, through WorldTeach. Now residing in Kansas City, MO, he is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the Literacy Lab again. He has degrees in music and the Program of Liberal Studies from the University of Notre Dame.

Nick Picciotto

Program Associate

npicciotto@theliteracylab.org

Nick Picciotto joined the Literacy Lab team after serving as part of The Literacy Lab's first class of Baltimore tutors, where he was a Pre-K literacy tutor at Curtis Bay Elementary Middle School. Prior to his year of service, he worked as a teacher's assistant and lead teacher at Step by Step Children's Learning Center in Sparks, Maryland for 4 years. Nick holds a Bachelor's degree in History from Towson University.

Sarah Reape

Program Manager

sreape@theliteracylab.org

Sarah Reape has over a decade of experience serving in the nonprofit sector. She previously worked as a program manager with an early education agency, where she recruited and trained volunteers to serve in preschool classrooms in low-income neighborhoods in Kansas City. In recognition of her leadership, talent, and dedication, Sarah was honored as the 2017 Kansas City Emerging Nonprofit Professional of the Year. Sarah is an AmeriCorps alumna who holds Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Spanish and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Diamond Revell

Program Manager

drevell@theliteracylab.org

Diamond Revell is a Teach For America alumna with over a decade of experience working in the public school system. For over 7 years, she provided English as a second language instruction for students in the District of Columbia Public School system. Diamond subsequently served as a literacy and data coach, providing critical support and guidance for local elementary schools. She earned her Master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language from American University and Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Richmond.

Anna Selle

Program Associate

aselle@theliteracylab.org

Anna Selle served as a Pre-K tutor at Ervin Early Learning Center in the Hickman Mills School District during The Literacy Lab's first year in Kansas City, MO. Anna graduated from Truman State University with degrees in Art History and Communication. Anna applies her experience in the classroom in her current role as a Program Associate for the Kansas City region.

Jordan Smith

Recruitment Manager

jsmith@theliteracylab.org

Jordan Smith has a range of experience in elementary education in her home state of Georgia, having served as a tutor, intern to a principal, and a 5th grade teacher. Upon relocating to Washington, DC, she served as an AmeriCorps member in the Trinidad neighborhood, supervising supplemental literacy tutoring through engaged community volunteers. She brings additional experience in volunteer and partnership management to her role as Recruitment Manager. Jordan holds a Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education and a Master’s in Educational Administration and Policy from the University of Georgia. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Education Policy from the George Washington University.

Donnaraé Wade

Program Manager

dwade@theliteracylab.org

Donnaraé Wade began her career in education as a teacher in Washington, DC. She taught Kindergarten for five years, and has garnered experience working with both Early Childhood and Dual Language programs in public and independent schools. She earned her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Curriculum and Instruction while she was a Teach for America corps member. Following her time in the classroom, Donnaraé served as the Coordinator of Elementary Schools for DC Public Schools. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, concentrating in Social and Cognitive Neuroscience, from Harvard University.

Weadé Wallace

Program Manager

wwallace@theliteracylab.org

Weadé Wallace has extensive and diverse experience in the education field, including program management, special education advocacy and non-profit leadership. Prior to joining The Literacy Lab, Weadé served as Executive Director of Advocates for Justice and Education in Washington, DC. In addition to being a former Literacy Lab tutor, she has also worked for Breakthrough Collaborative as a Program Coordinator leading initiatives to increase academic opportunity for low-income students. Weadé is an Advisory Council member of The National Center for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education. She received her Bachelor's degree in Child Psychology from the University of Minnesota and a Master's degree in Educational Administration and Policy from Howard University. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Special Education and Disability Policy at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Angela Wilson

AmeriCorps Grants Associate

awilson@theliteracylab.org

Angela Wilson served as a full-time tutor at Benjamin Banneker Elementary during The Literacy Lab’s first year in Kansas City, MO. Her interest in literacy was stimulated by nearly a decade spent volunteering for early education programs, including the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center in Topeka, KS, where she served as an AmeriCorps VISTA. Angela earned a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Kansas.

Our Master Coaches

Emily Durig

Master Coach

edurig@theliteracylab.org

Emily Durig is a K-3 Master Coach in Kansas City, Missouri. She has a decade of experience as an intermediate general education and English-Language Arts teacher in Kansas City area schools. She is an alumna of the Leading Educators teacher leader fellowship and current leadership coach for the organization. Emily has experience managing and coaching teachers and teacher leaders as well as facilitating professional development locally and nationally for Expeditionary Learning Schools. Emily holds a Master’s degree in Elementary Education with a Literacy focus and a Bachelor’s degree in Education from The University of Kansas.

Suzanne Edgar

Master Coach

sedgar@theliteracylab.org

Suzanne Edgar is a Pre-K Master Coach in Washington, DC. She is an early literacy specialist with expertise in special education, dual language learning strategies, and behavior interventions. Suzanne taught in public and charter schools in the District, and was a mentor teacher for an Urban Teacher Resident. Suzanne holds a bachelor of music and a masters degree in special education.

Christine Farber

Master Coach

cfarber@theliteracylab.org

Christine Farber is a K-3 Master Coach in Baltimore, MD. She started off her career as a French teacher in Baltimore City Public Schools. She then became a teacher coach and director of professional development with Teach for America - Baltimore. Her most recent role, prior to joining The Literacy Lab, was as an Assistant Principal for KIPP Harmony Academy – a public elementary charter school in Baltimore City. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in French and Political Science from Bates College and her Master’s degree in Education from Johns Hopkins University.

Shannon Hepler

Master Coach

shepler@theliteracylab.org

Shannon Hepler is a K-3 Master Coach in Washington, DC. She has over a decade of experience as a special educator with DC Public Schools as well as with Cesar Chavez and EL Haynes Public Charter Schools. She was a member of the inaugural class of DC Teaching Fellows and has extensive experience managing and coaching teachers, volunteers, and AmeriCorps members. Shannon holds a Master’s degree in Special Education from George Washington University and a Bachelor’s degree in Communication from George Mason University.

Jessica Jones

Master Coach

jjones@theliteracylab.org

Jessica Jones is a K-3 Master Coach in Washington, DC. She has a variety of experiences in early childhood and elementary education settings, teaching Pre-K, K, and 1st grade. Prior to joining The Literacy Lab, Jessica served as a Master Teacher for AppleTree Early Learning Public Charter School, coaching and developing teaching fellows. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Education from Temple University and is currently completing her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Studies at Walden University.

Lindsey Lipsky

Master Coach

llipsky@theliteracylab.org

Lindsey Lipsky is a K-3 Master Coach in Kansas City, MO. Lindsey has over a decade of experience working in both the education and non-profit realms. She is a Teach for America Alumni (Phoenix ’07) and worked as a special education classroom teacher for over five years, helping students with more severe reading, learning, language and attention issues. Lindsey is a certified Learning and Behavior Specialist who continues to work as an Inclusion Specialist for local private schools and religious institutions. Lindsey has a Master’s Degree in Special Education as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Business & Nonprofit Management from North Park University-Chicago.

Shelley Keith

Master Coach

skeith@theliteracylab.org

Shelley Keith is a Pre-K Master Coach in Baltimore, MD. She has extensive early education experience with a wide variety of programs with various philosophical approaches. Previous positions held include director, coach, mentor, curriculum specialist, parent educator and teacher. Shelley holds a Master’s degree in Education with a concentration in Early Childhood Education from Trident University and a Bachelor’s degree in Family and Consumer Sciences from the University of Wyoming. Shelley is a former Literacy Lab Internal Coach.

Terrell Mann

Master Coach

tmann@theliteracylab.org

Terrell Mann is a Pre-K Master Coach in Kansas City, Missouri. Her past roles include: early childhood teacher, master teacher/coach, and director, and elementary, preschool, and early intervention special educator. For the past ten years she has provided training, technical assistance, and coaching services to local and national child care and out of school time programs and support organizations. Since 2000 Terrell has served and continues to serve as adjunct faculty in the early childhood programs at two local community colleges. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in History of Art and Architecture from Princeton University and holds a Master of Education degree in Child Study from Tufts University as well as a Master of Arts degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Connecticut.

Kimberly Parker

Master Coach

kparker@theliteracylab.org

Kimberly Parker is a Pre-K Master Coach in Washington, DC. She is an Early Childhood Specialist with expertise in early childhood development, early literacy acquisition, and special education. Kimberly taught in a variety of settings in Washington, DC including child development centers, public charter schools, and DC public schools. In her three years with DC Public Schools, she was recognized as a Distinguished Teacher, having been rated as a Highly Effective educator for three years in a row, the highest possible evaluation rating. Kimberly earned her Master’s Degree in Education and Human Development from the George Washington University in 2007.

Alisa Smith

Master Coach

asmith@theliteracylab.org

Alisa Smith is a K-3 Master Coach in Richmond, VA. She began her career in education as an elementary teacher for Henrico County Public Schools in Richmond, VA. After earning her Master's degree and reading specialist endorsement from the University of Virginia , she helped open Harvie Elementary in eastern Henrico as the school's Title I Literacy Specialist. There she provided intervention to struggling readers and supported the faculty as a reading coach. Alisa has also taught graduate level courses in literacy for the University of Virginia in the Richmond area and has enjoyed providing professional development and support to teachers in a variety of settings.

Lisa Sweeney

Master Coach

lsweeney@theliteracylab.org

Lisa Sweeney is a K-3 Master Coach in Washington, DC. She has a decade of experience as an educator in a variety of elementary and special education settings. Lisa was a K-3 Master Coach for Iowa Reading Corps and has experience training and coaching AmeriCorps members for Minnesota Reading Corps National Replication. She is a member of Kappa Gamma Pi, the National Catholic College Graduate Honor Society, which strives for a high standard of excellence in leadership, scholarship, and service within the community. Lisa holds a Master’s degree in Education with a concentration in Learning Differences from Cabrini College and her Bachelor’s degree in Criminology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Sara Twaddell

Master Coach

stwaddell@theliteracylab.org

Sara Twaddell is a K-3 Master Coach in Washington, DC. She began her teaching career at Hope Community Charter School and taught 1st and 4th grade. She went on to manage the teacher recruitment and selection process for DC Public Schools and then served as an Instructional Coach at Langley Elementary School before joining The Literacy Lab. Currently, she is pursuing a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction, with a Reading Specialist Certificate from the University of Virginia. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the George Washington University and a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology from New York University.

Kyle Warren

Master Coach

kwarren@theliteracylab.org

Kyle grew up primarily in South Carolina where he attended school at the University of South Carolina, earning a degree in English and Political Science. After graduating, Kyle moved to Tulsa, OK where he taught 5th grade for two years at Celia Clinton Elementary School through the Teach For America program. He shifted to an instructional coach role with Teach For America as a Manager of Teacher Leadership Development, supporting teachers in content delivery, planning, and pedagogy in both Arkansas and Massachusetts from 2012 – 2016. He’s excited to begin supporting tutors with The Literacy Lab in Richmond, VA where he lives with his partner and two dogs. When not working, you’ll likely find him trying something new in the kitchen, kayaking or running the dogs by the river, or exploring the city.

Lori Wilen

Master Coach

lwilen@theliteracylab.org

Lori Wilen is a K-3 Master Coach in Washington, D.C. She was an elementary classroom teacher in the DC Metro area for 10 years and then served as an Instructional Coach, a Manager of Instructional Coaches, and the Director of STEM for DC Public Schools. Since becoming a mom, Lori has consulted with the Charter Board in DC and has been a Leadership Coach. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Spanish from the University of Maryland, College Park and her Master's degree in School Leadership from Harvard.

Our Board

Hugh Cole III

Treasurer

Hugh Cole is an associate with Washington Property Company, a real estate development firm in Bethesda, MD. Hugh has 12 years of experience in real estate development and investments. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Loyola University in Maryland. Hugh has previously served on the Board of Directors for KIPP Baltimore, the Alumni Board for the Gilman School in Baltimore, and the Secondary School Committee for the University of Pennsylvania Admissions Department. He lives in Bethesda with his wife and son.

Elizabeth S. Duff

Secretary

Betsy Duff is a Partner with Harbour Capital Advisors, LLC, an investment management firm and family office based in McLean, VA. Betsy has over 25 years of experience in private banking, investment banking, and corporate finance. She earned a B.A. from Brown University. Betsy has served as a Trustee and Chair of the Board of The Potomac School, as a Director of the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, and as a board member and President of the Junior League of Washington.

Bailey Edelson

Bailey Edelson is a Senior VP with the JBG Companies, a real estate investment and development firm in Chevy Chase, MD. Bailey has over 10 years of experience in real estate investment and development and is currently focused on mixed-use development in the DC Metro Area. She earned an A.B. from Brown University and an MBA from Georgetown University. She has been active through the Junior League of Washington with The Literacy Lab’s Ready to Read program since 2012. She lives in Bethesda with her husband.

Patricia L. Evans

Patricia L. Evans is the Associate Director of the DC Human Resources Center for Learning and Development (DCHR CLD). Prior to joining DCHR CLD, she was the Executive Director at Serve DC – The Mayor’s Office on Volunteerism. Patricia has worked in senior-level positions for the American Lung Association, the DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation, and the Fannie Mae Foundation. She also served for six years as the Director of Operations and Education at Standard Register, a Fortune 1000 company. Patricia lives in the historic Hillcrest neighborhood in Washington, DC and is married with two children.

Praveen Jeyarajah

Praveen Jeyarajah works with Astor Place Holdings, the private investment arm of Select Equity Group, L.P. Praveen has 20 years of private investment experience and earned a B.A. in Economics from Rutgers College and an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Praveen previously served on the Board of Capital Partners For Education. Praveen lives in Washington, DC with his wife and two sons.

Ashley Johnson

Ashley Johnson is the Founder and Co-Executive Director of The Literacy Lab. Prior to founding The Literacy Lab, Ashley worked as a Special Education teacher and coordinator at public and charter schools in the District of Columbia. Ashley was a Teach For America Metro DC corps member. Ashley earned her Master’s Degree in Special Education from American University and her Bachelor’s Degree in History and Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania.

Elisabeth (Liz) Liptak

Ms. Liptak has been involved in the literacy field for more than 20 years. She currently serves as director of professional services for the International Dyslexia Association in Baltimore, where she directs their standards initiative for teacher training. Previously she served as executive director of the Washington Literacy Council, an adult and family literacy nonprofit in Washington, DC, and was a researcher for a U.S. Department of Education reading grant at the Krasnow Institute of Advanced Study at George Mason University. She has been a volunteer literacy tutor in Washington, DC, and New York City. Ms. Liptak began her career in the publishing industry in New York City, working for John Wiley & Sons and Institutional Investor.

Ned Mandel

Chair

Ned Mandel has been involved in serving schools and literacy programs for over 25 years. He was an unpaid Literacy Lab tutor the past two years at two different DC public schools. He served as Development Director and board member of Septima Clark Public Charter School, located in DC’s Ward 8. Prior to his work at Septima, Ned spent 15 years as owner and President of AKJ Educational Services, a leading supplier of paperback books to schools and literacy programs nationwide. He earned an A.B. from Dartmouth College and an M.B.A. from Stanford University. Ned serves as Treasurer of the board of Horizons National, an award-winning, summer academic program based in Westport, CT.  He also served as Vice Chair of the board of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School in Washington, DC. Ned and his wife Betsy have two grown children and live in Chevy Chase, MD.

Our Supporters


FUNDERS

• The Abell Foundation
• AmeriCorps
• The Andrew and Julie Klingenstein Family Fund
• BJ’s Charitable Foundation
• Boeing
• Capital for Children
• Capitol Hill Community Foundation
• City Fund
• The Clark Charitable Foundation
• The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia
• Crowell & Moring LLP
• DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE)
• DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative (DCPNI)
• The Diana Davis Spencer Foundation
• Dimick Foundation
• Dollar General Literacy Foundation
• Fight for Children
• George K. Baum Foundation
• The George Preston Marshall Foundation
• The H&R Block Foundation
• Hall Family Foundation
• Hallmark Foundation
• Harman Cain Family Foundation
• The Hattie M. Strong Foundation
• Henry E. Niles Foundation
• Horning Family Fund
• The International Monetary Fund Civic Program
• The Jacob and Charlotte Lehrman Foundation
• John Wall Family Foundation
• The Junior League of Washington
• The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation
• The Lois and Richard England Family Foundation
• The Ludwig Family Foundation
• M&T Bank Foundation
• Mark and Anne Hansen Foundation
• Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation
• MAXIMUS Foundation
• MetroAid
• The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation
• The Philip L. Graham Fund
• Pitney Bowes Foundation
• Robins Foundation
• Roger A. and Corinne R. Durkee Fund
• RGK Foundation
• Richard E. and Nancy P. Marriott Foundation
• Scheidel Foundation
• Select Equity Group Foundation
• Share Fund
• Sherman Family Foundation
• Sidgmore Family Foundation
• Speas Memorial Trust
• Stanley and Lucy Lopata Foundation
• Target
• Taylor S. and Patti Harding Abernathy Charitable Trust
• TEGNA Foundation
• Terracon Foundation
• Walter A. Bloedorn Foundation
• Washington Nationals Dream Foundation
• Webber Family Foundation
• Wells Fargo
• William J. Brace Charitable Trust
• Whispering Bells Foundation: The Workman Family
• Wright Family Foundation
• Yelp Foundation
IN-KIND
• Books-A-Million
• Boston University Center for Digital Imaging Arts
• Compass
• Covington & Burling LLP
• Fair Chance
• Georgetown Cupcake
• Hogan Lovells
• JBG Companies
• Raffa
• Spectrum Printing
• Washington Nationals
• Washington Redskins
• Whole Foods Market

Our Partners


• Catalogue for Philanthropy
• Georgetown University
• George Washington University
• Junior League of Washington
• Maryland Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism
• Missouri Community Service Commission
• ServeDC
• ServeMinnesota
• United Way
• Virginia Office on Volunteerism and Community Service