Meet the Staff Overview
Opening the doors to literacy.
We, the staff at the Literacy Council, are here to serve you – our students, volunteers, donors, and community. We bring many years of experience and knowledge across several disciplines to the organization. We care deeply about the importance of literacy to the well-being of our community and are dedicated to the success of both our students and our volunteers.
Our passion is opening the doors of literacy to help change lives.
Ashley Vandewart Lasher
The Executive Director is responsible for overall leadership of the organization: leading the board and staff fundraising efforts; overseeing the effective implementation of Literacy Council programs and services; developing and maintaining partnerships with key community constituents; maintaining efficient budget development and management; and maintaining strong relations with the Literacy Council’s Board of Directors. Ashley joined the Literacy Council staff as Development Director in 2010 and became Executive Director in 2012.
The Adult Education Program Coordinator is responsible for planning, executing, and managing all programs focused on teaching basic reading, writing, and math skills. This includes overseeing adult education students, volunteer tutors, and community partners. This position is currently open. Read more >>
The ESOL Program Coordinator is responsible for planning, executing, and managing all programs focused on teaching English language skills – speaking, reading, and writing – to adults whose native language is not English. This includes overseeing ESOL students, volunteer tutors, and community partners. Working at the Literacy Council since 2005, Erin is a ProLiteracy certified trainer and speaks several languages. Read more >>
The Development Director plans and implements varied fund development strategies to sustain the work of the Literacy Council. The Development Director lends vision, leadership, and experience to fundraising activities and fosters a culture of philanthropy within the organization. Michelle is a native of South Carolina who relocated to Asheville 17 years ago. She is excited to be a part of the Literacy Council and to join a team of people dedicated to making a difference in the lives of others. Michelle has spent most of her professional career working in non-profits helping children in need. Michelle joined the Literacy Council January 2013. Read more >>
The Outreach Director is responsible for all aspects of community and media outreach as well as volunteer recruitment for the Literacy Council. This includes strengthening existing partnerships and developing new relationships with local agencies in order to grow in volunteer and student numbers. Before joining the Literacy Council in August 2010, Jonathan developed a deep understanding of the importance of education and the support of a close-knit community while working with special-needs children. Read more >>
Born and raised in Kazan, Russia, Irina came to the U.S. in 1994 where she studied English with the Literacy Council and soon became an ESOL tutor herself. In 2000, she joined the Literacy Council staff and oversees all office administration functions. Read more >>
By Fred Chappell
Poet Laureate Emeritus of North Carolina
It waits as patiently as a forest trail
To take you to a place you must have heard about,
Quiet and exciting, a glade to be alone in,
With those who came before.
At first the journey is one slow letter at a time,
But sooner than you thought, you clip along,
Your pace growing smarter with each step.
You never arrive at an end
Because you never want to,
And a thousand other trails lead off from this one path,
Mysterious, inviting, alive with shadowy light.
The book will go with you as far as you desire.
And if you like, I will come with you.