About Us

Meet the Staff Overview

Opening the doors to literacy.

The staff at the Literacy Council is here to serve students, volunteers, donors, and the community.   We have many years of experience across several disciplines.   We care deeply about the importance of literacy to the well-being of our community and are dedicated to the success of both students and volunteers.

Our passion is opening the doors of literacy to help change lives.

Ashley Vandewart Lasher
Executive Director
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.

Lily Contorer
Adult Education and Augustine Project® Director
The Adult Education and Augustine Project® Director is responsible for planning, executing, and managing programs focused on basic reading, writing,spelling, and math skills for native-English speakers of all ages. This includes overseeing students, volunteer tutors, and community partners.  Lily's background is in special education and she has taught literacy skills using Orton-Gillingham, Wilson, Cued Speech and American Sign Language for sixteen years. Read more >>

Erin Sebelius
ESOL Director
The ESOL Director 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 is English/Spanish/German trilingual.   Read more >>

Irina Khasanova
Office Manager and ESOL Specialist
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, as well as assists in managing the ESOL program. Irina is Russian/English bilingual. Read more >>

Mary Miller
Recruitment and Awareness Coordinator
Americorps/Literacy Corps Member
As Recruitment and Awareness Coordinator, Mary helps new volunteer tutors through the orientation and tutor training process, conducts orientations, and communicates with volunteers throughout their time as Literacy Council tutors. She also helps with marketing, recruitment of new volunteers, and community awareness of Literacy Council programs. Read more >>

Brantlee Eisenman
Development Director
Brantlee is originally from Greenville, South Carolina but has lived in Asheville off and on for nearly 10 years. After spending many years moving all around the country trying to find the perfect place to call home she has decided to settle into the place she loves most, the mountains of Western North Carolina. Read more >>

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