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Adjusting the sails

An Update from our Executive Director, Cindy Threlkeld:

Yesterday I listened in on a virtual meeting that our ESOL Director, Erin, was facilitating with tutors to compare the pros and cons of using Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangout to continue lessons with their students. One described her first attempt to hold a virtual class that usually meets at Erwin Middle School with four parents: one each from Mexico and Belarus, and two from Ukraine. All logged in with either a phone or laptop, and by using the whiteboard feature on Zoom and referring to their workbooks, they carried on without a hitch.

Another tutor shared that her student doesn’t have access to a computer, but wants to continue to improve her writing. So the student writes out the lesson by hand, takes a photo of it with her phone, and texts it to the tutor. The tutor accesses the photo, enlarges it, and then calls the student to review her work.

And the stories are just as creative with tutors working with Rebecca in Adult Literacy and Youth Literacy. We will share their stories of both success and struggle in the weeks that come.

I am amazed and heartened by the resilience and determination of staff, tutors, and students to keep moving forward!

 

Note: We received this from a first-year tutor just before schools closed.

I trained with the Literacy Council in late summer of 2019. I was assigned to a 1st grade boy and started with some trepidation about how I would do as a tutor. Would I really make a difference? My student was a little shy at first, but that didn’t last, thanks to many of the fun games and aids I learned in training. I also learned more about The Avengers than I ever imagined! He gave ME homework—he asked that I learn all the Avengers’ names and super powers. I did OK. I tried to incorporate his love of The Avengers and other comic book/movie characters in our reading. 

How did it all turn out? 

I realized that just about anything I could accomplish with my student was making a difference. Sometimes he was too wound up to focus (kinesthetic games came in very handy), but we always got things done. His teacher reports his reading scores are improving and he is much more confident in class. 

Personally, my experience has been fantastic.  I learned a lot about myself (not just about The Avengers). I still have a lot to learn, and because every student I tutor in the future will be different, I can’t wait!

 

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12th Annual Authors for Literacy Recap

What an incredible night with author Daniel Wallace. He gave a wonderful talk, including a self-deprecating reading from some of his early writing. 

See the highlights of the night generously taken by Jesse Kitt, Jesse Kitt Photography.

 

 

 

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The Literacy Council welcomes new Executive Director, Cindy Threlkeld

The Literacy Council of Buncombe County is pleased to announce the selection of their new Executive Director, Cindy Threlkeld. Cindy moved to Western North Carolina in 2011 to become the Executive Director of MANNA FoodBank and served in that capacity for five years. During that period, food distribution increased by 60% and the facilities were expanded through a $2 million capital campaign to increase the focus on healthy foods.

Cindy’s career has included overseas positions with the Peace Corps and international development organizations in six countries around the world, including Guatemala, Ecuador, Zambia, and The Philippines. 

“My work in WNC has been a stark reminder of the extent of poverty and inequality in our own community. Literacy is critical to break the cycle and open opportunities for education, employment, and healthy families. It is basic for those of us fortunate enough to take it for granted, and essential to those who struggle to attain it. I am excited to work with the Literacy Council of Buncombe County to create a community in which literacy is achievable for all.”

Threlkeld’s first official event will be at the Literacy Council’s upcoming Authors for Literacy Dinner & Silent Auction featuring Daniel Wallace on October 25 at the Crowne Plaza Resort Expo Center. Ticket information is available here.

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2019 Auction Item Preview

We are receiving so many exciting donations for the 12th Annual Authors for Literacy Dinner & Silent Auction and we’d like to offer a preview of just a few of the items that will be up for bidding. Enjoy!

Lexington Glassworks Appalachia Vase

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Literacy Council Executive Director Position Announcement

Our Vision

A community in which literacy is highly valued and achievable for all.

Our Mission

To increase comprehensive literacy and English language skills through
one-on-one and small group instruction by trained volunteers and access to literacy resources.

The Organization

The Literacy Council of Buncombe County is seeking an experienced and passionate candidate to lead the organization as executive director and add to its exceptional 30+ year history.

The Literacy Council of Buncombe County teaches individuals of all ages basic reading, writing, and English language skills through specialized instruction provided by trained volunteer tutors. Students gain self-confidence and develop self-sufficiency to transform their lives as individuals, parents, workers, and citizens. 

The Literacy Council, a non-profit organization accredited by ProLiteracy and serving the community since 1987, provides highly individualized tutoring to fit the needs of over 300 students annually through the skilled instruction of over 250 volunteer tutors. The Literacy Council is governed by a 17-member board of directors and staffed by five highly skilled professionals and one AmeriCorps member. The organization has an annual budget of $355,000. The organizational culture is collaborative, hardworking, mission-driven, and service-oriented. 

The Region

The Asheville area’s prime location in the spectacular mountains of Western North Carolina and the high quality of life enjoyed in the region makes it attractive as a place where lifestyle complements business opportunity. The area’s consistent and steady growth is the result of the collaborative vision of economic development and strong community partnerships. Health services are known to be the best in the region. In addition to being Western North Carolina’s business hub, the Asheville area is world-renowned as a bustling tourist destination, named one of “15 Coolest Places to Go” in the world by Forbes Magazine. Western North Carolina offers an eclectic arts and music scene and a wide variety of year-round outdoor activities.

The Position

The Literacy Council is poised to move to the next level of growth effectiveness with the inspired leadership of the right individual. The incoming ED, in partnership with Board and staff leadership, will be focused on long-range planning, strengthening and diversifying fundraising efforts, and growing the capacity of the organization. The ED is also the public face of the organization and is instrumental in recruiting new volunteers, tutors, donors, board members, and community partners.

The new ED must have proven, significant, and successful organizational development, fundraising, and nonprofit leadership experience, the ability to oversee day-to-day operations, and the skill to work collaboratively with the board to guide the organization. The ED must also possess the talent to communicate effectively and build relationships with multiple constituencies, including the board, staff, donors, government officials and community leaders.

Organizational Priorities

The Board of Directors of the Literacy Council of Buncombe County has identified the following as the highest priorities for the new executive, the board, and the staff over the next 12 to 18 months:

  • Conduct a financial sustainability assessment
  • Develop a 3-5 year strategic plan for growth
  • Continue to diversify fundraising efforts
  • Improve engagement and effectiveness of the board
  • Maintain the high level of organizational culture

Ongoing Responsibilities

  • Vision, Mission, and Strategies – Work closely with the board and staff to translate the Literacy Council’s mission and vision into clear strategic directions, goals, and initiatives.
  • Accomplishment of Management Objectives – Oversee operational and program objectives that support the organization’s strategic goals and lead the staff in their implementation.
  • Fund Raising and Resource Development – In partnership with the board and staff, develop and implement appropriate and diversified fund-raising and financial development strategies.
  • Fiscal Management – Ensure that solid planning and budgeting systems continue so that income is managed wisely and that the organization’s goals serve as the basis for sound financial planning. Ensure that systems and staff are in place to accurately monitor, assess, and manage the financial health of the organization.
  • Human Resources Management – Foster and maintain a strong staff built on teamwork and collaborative decision-making in a positive and empowering environment. Oversee staff development activities that build leadership skills and motivate performance. Ensure adherence to the personnel policies in all hiring and employment practices.
  • External Liaison and Public Image – Serve as primary spokesperson and public face for the Literacy Council, representing it locally and regionally. Develop dynamic working relationships with diverse constituencies, including government, education and nonprofit groups that support the work of the Literacy Council.

Required Qualifications

  • A history of leadership or management success in the nonprofit sector
  • Strong fundraising and relationship building skills with proven experience in foundation, government, corporate and individual giving
  • A high degree of financial literacy and management experience
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills, strong interpersonal and public speaking skills, and experience with diverse populations and multiple constituencies
  • Collaborative leader with an exceptional ability to foster a spirit of cooperation with external partners and among board members and staff
  • Demonstrated ability to work with and facilitate strong board development and leadership
  • An innovative problem solver, flexible, and capable of adapting to changing priorities
  • A visionary leader with strong strategic thinking, organizational development, and planning skills
  • Strong organizational skills
  • A working knowledge of office technology including Microsoft Office suites, Quick Books, Gmail suite, and other technology-based systems
  • A demonstrated commitment to a strong culture of teamwork and staff development
  • A selfless and inclusive leader with a bias for action

Preferred Qualifications

  • Background in human services, childhood or adult literacy, or nonprofit organization leadership
  • Leadership and coordination of a volunteer, service-based workforce
  • Program evaluation experience
  • Marketing and PR experience
  • Experience in working with diverse communities and cultures
  • Bilingual skills
  • Bachelor’s Degree or higher

Compensation

The salary for this full-time position is $55,000.  The Literacy Council offers a flexible work environment and a generous time-off package.

Application Process

To apply, please send a letter of interest, resume, and salary history via email only to: edsearch@litcouncil.com. Please, no phone calls.

Submissions have now closed.  August 18, 2019

Download Position Description PDF

The Literacy Council of Buncombe County is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to recruiting a diverse pool of qualified candidates for the position.

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