President: Denise Alexander
Denise is the Program Coordinator for Continuing Education at Bucks County Community College, which is just outside of Philadelphia. She oversees the non-credit English as a Second Language program and collaborates with colleagues across the college on a variety of programs for adults in the community. Denise designs customized English language training programs for businesses in the region in addition to our traditional ESL program.
She began her career in Education in 2003 and has worked with English Language Learners since 2006. Denise has been on the PAACE Board of Directors since 2018, serving as the Fundraising Chair until moving into the role of Vice President. She also serves as a Board Member for the Newtown Business Association.
Vice President: Geoffrey Woodland
Geoffrey Woodland is an instructor/curriculum developer for the College and Career Readiness (CCR) program at District 1199C’s Training and Upgrading Fund in Philadelphia. In addition, he is an adjunct instructor facilitating online and blended courses at the Pennsylvania Institute of Technology (PIT) and serves on the board for Healthcare for All PA.
He also graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) and was a member of the men’s basketball team that went to the Division II Final Four in 1995. After earning a B.A. in Communications and Journalism, he continued his education at IUP earning a M.A. in Adult Education and Communications Technology. While in his M.A. program.
Treasurer: Tim Shenk
Tim Shenk is the community education program director for Lancaster Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 (IU13) where he has worked for the past 22 years. Tim started his career in adult education as a part-time English as a second language (ESL) instructor. After obtaining his master’s degree in education from Temple University, Tim obtained full-time work as an IU13 teacher and statewide adult education trainer for the PA Professional Development System. He then moved into supervision and administration. In 2013, Tim became the Program Director for IU13 Community Education.
Tim lived in East Africa as a child and for 10 years after college. He has had the opportunity to travel to the Middle East, Europe, Central America, and South Africa for purposes of studying and visiting friends. As a result of his international experiences, Tim has developed a passion for supporting immigrants and refugees in the United States. In his role as program director, Tim oversees a program dedicated to serving refugees and immigrant families in the School District of Lancaster. IU13 Community Education also provides HSE, ESL, and family literacy instruction, serves reentering citizens through a national Improved Reentry Education grant, coordinates after-school activities through 21st Century funding, provides Title I employment and educational services to youth, and facilitates a health careers academy in coordination with local postsecondary schools.
In his free time, Tim enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters, playing soccer, reading, and simply relaxing.
Administrator Chair: Victoria Lynam
Victoria joined Center for Literacy (now Beyond Literacy) 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 Center for Literacy, 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.
In 2017 Victoria joined PAACE and in 2018 was asked to become the Administrators Committee Chairperson; a position she has served in ever since. She loves working and volunteering for nonprofits. Victoria says that knowing her work 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.
Advocacy and Public Policy Chair: Cheryl Hiester
Cheryl has been working in adult literacy and basic education since 1991. She has been a teacher, a curriculum developer, and project manager. Today, she serves as the chief executive of The Literacy Council of Lancaster-Lebanon. Cheryl serves on the Pennsylvania Association for Adult and Continuing Education Board of Directors as the assistant chair of the Public Policy Committee.
Conference Co-Chairs: Tim Shenk and Cheryl Hiester
ESL Chair: Kimberly Chernesky
Kimberly Chernesky has worked in adult education since 2013 and has worked both as an ESL coordinator and ESL instructor. This journey has led her to pursue her Doctor of Education degree in educational leadership and management with a concentration in learning technologies at Drexel University with the anticipation of graduating in 2021.
Kimberly also holds a Master of Science degree in reading education with certification as a reading specialist K-12 and a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education (K-6) and early childhood (N-3), both from Marywood University. Prior to working in adult education, Kimberly has worked as a reading specialist (K-5) and has taught in a 1st and 5th grade classroom. Kimberly has served on the PAACE Board since 2016.
Committee and Division Assistant Chairs
Administrator Division Assistant Chair: Ryan A. Breisch
Ryan Breisch began his career with the Literacy Council of Reading-Berks in 1993 when he served as a volunteer tutor. In November 1995, he joined the staff as a curriculum developer and ESL coordinator and became the Executive Director in 2010. Ryan holds a B.A. in Spanish from Kutztown University, and served as the President of PAACE from 2016-2018.
ALBSE Division Assistant Chair: Keri Bowman
Keri Bowman graduated from Edinboro University before moving out of the Erie area. Through various jobs after graduating, she witnessed the transformation that education can have on the trajectory of individual lives. Her career experience has concentrated in supporting student success at a small private college, a rural community college, a large research-intensive university, and a large suburban multi-campus community college. Her roles in these institutions have included leading departments in admissions, learner support, advising, First Year Experience programming, and a full-service student services department. She followed the development of Erie County Community College for many years which renewed her interest in coming back to the Erie County community, to help found the college. She earned a M.S. and Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration from North Carolina State University. Keri is serving as the PAACE ALBSE Division Assistant Chair.
Conference Assistant Chair: Ilsa Diller
Ilsa Powell Diller is the Outreach & Resource Coordinator for the Literacy Council of Lancaster-Lebanon, where she has worked since 2015. After receiving her Master’s Degree in Communication from the University of Hartford, Ilsa moved back to Pennsylvania and began her career in adult education as the Coordinator of the Southeast Professional Development Center (SEPDC) through Lancaster-Lebanon IU 13. Ilsa moved on to become the Director of the SEPDC, and also worked as a Communications/Projects Coordinator with the Fund Development Unit at IU 13 before taking the position with the Literacy Council. In total, Ilsa has 21 years of experience working in some capacity of adult basic and literacy education.
In her role with the Literacy Council, Ilsa coordinates both fund raising and friend raising activities including grant writing, special events, campaigns, and any other activities related to seeking donations and building partnerships to support resources and programming at LCLL. Ilsa also coordinates publications, communications, and social media for the Council, and is a staff liaison for the Board of Directors.
Ilsa enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, working out, attending performing arts productions (and working backstage), gardening and cooking.
ALBSE Division Assistant Chair: Michelle Jordan
Michelle serves adult learners in Mercer County as the instructor at the Grove City Education Center for Adults. She also assists the staff with lesson planning and digital literacy, and serves as the agency’s tutor coordinator. On a mission to prioritize mental health while making education accessible, she teaches in-person and livestream ABE classes and facilitates a student-centered women’s support group called “Share. Support. Succeed.”
Michelle moved to Southern FL where she became involved in education as an instructor and curriculum writer after earning bachelor degrees in Creative Nonfiction Writing, Political Science, and Women’s Studies from the University of Pittsburgh in 2006. Her passion for mental health, and desire for children to be closer to family, led her to back to Western PA where she earned her graduate degree in Community Counseling from SRU in 2014. She spends her free time surrounded by books, practicing yoga, and playing with her son and daughter. Michelle is serving as a PAACE ALBSE Division Assistant Chair.
ESL Division Assistant Chair: Michael Antosch
Michael Antosch has worked as an adult ESL instructor since 2015 with Beyond Literacy in Philadelphia, PA. He has taught classes from High Beginning to Advanced, as well as Bridges classes for transitioning into careers or post-secondary education. In addition, he has played an active role in developing teaching resources and materials, and promoting learner career and life success stories.
Prior to working in adult Education, Michael earned a Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages M.S.Ed from Temple University. During this time, he taught writing courses for Temple University’s Center for American Language and Culture. For four years, he also tutored student athletes in reading, writing, and communication classes at Temple, and at The Ohio State University, specializing in students who were non-native English speakers. Michael is serving as a PAACE ESL Division Assistant Chair.
ESL Division Assistant Chair: Chelsea DeLeo
Chelsea DeLeo is the manager for the Professional Learning Opportunities Project, Professional Development System, Division of Adult Education, PA Department of Education. In this role, she leads a team of consultants and subject matter experts to develop standards-aligned professional development opportunities for instructors and staff in various roles in Pennsylvania programs. This work includes identifying, developing, facilitating, and evaluating a range of learning opportunities to meet the needs of programs serving adult learners. During her time on this team, DeLeo helped develop an English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) multi-year institute for instructors serving English learners (ELs), as well as multiple courses and other professional development opportunities. DeLeo formerly taught adult ELs in a community based educational program. DeLeo holds a B.A in English from the Pennsylvania State University and an M.S.Ed in TESOL from Wilkes University. Chelsea is serving as a PAACE ESL Division Assistant Chair.
Member Services Assistant Chair: Nancy Lawrence Hill
Nancy Lawrence Hill is a math instructor with Beyond Literacy, based in Philadelphia. She began teaching Adult Basic Education courses in 2018 with Vita Education Services of Bucks County and Philadelphia Community Schools based at Lutheran Settlement House. Prior to that, she taught developmental math for more than 20 years at community colleges in Maryland and Georgia. Since learning that math was often the obstacle that prevented students from achieving their goals, Nancy has been dedicated to making math more accessible (and hopefully fun!) Nancy is serving as the PAACE Membership Committee Assistant Chair.
Professional Development Assistant Chair: Donna Kirn
Donna Kirn took the leap into higher education when she accepted a position at Bucks County Community College in 2014. Donna currently oversees the entire Community Education and Professional Certification Department, which includes all the elements of program planning, development, design and implementation of non-credit classes as well as implementing marketing and customer service strategies.
Donna started her career in sales and marketing after graduating from LaSalle University. Following her passion for fitness and community, Donna spent the next 15 years working at the YMCA in various leadership roles. The transition into higher education was seamless as she was able to utilize her community involvement, program development and fundraising experience to grow the non-credit programs in the department and engage the Bucks County community. As a true believer in lifelong learning, Donna has completed the BCCC Leading-Edge Leadership program, and most recently became certified as a Program Planner and Digital Marketing Professional. As a member of the Lower Bucks County Chamber of Commerce, Donna graduated from Leadership Bucks County and is involved in various committees and roundtables. She was recently featured in the Outlook magazine as Executive on the Move. In 2020, Donna earned her MBA from Holy Family University, graduating alongside her son.
Donna is a lifelong Philadelphia resident. She spends her weekends in the Poconos enjoying the outdoors. Donna devotes her free time to gardening, fitness, DIY projects and spending time with husband, daughter and three sons.
Donna continually works hard bringing programs to the community to enrich the lives others and to encourage lifelong learning.
Immediate Past President: Michelle Campbell
Michelle Campbell is a member of the leadership team at Union 1199C Training and Education Fund in Philadelphia, PA. In that capacity, she supervises 13 members of the College and Career Readiness Department. Michelle has presented at numerous conferences and collaborated with other agencies related to the use of technology in adult education and curricula development pertaining to WIOA mandates. Her career in education commenced 30 years ago as a 4th grade and high school biology teacher in the Marshall Islands. Michelle is a co-founder of a Spanish Immersion school in Philadelphia and served on the board in various capacities, including being the vice president.
Michelle was born and grew up in London, England. She received her undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania and her Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia. Currently, she is obtaining a master’s degree in Organizational Development from Temple University and expects to graduate in May 2019. Early in her career, she observed the correlation between high-school drop-out rates and increased incarceration rates. Her primary interest relates to policies focusing on the reintegration of returning citizens from incarceration to education and employment.
Michelle has traveled and/or lived in Micronesia, Polynesia, Indonesia, Australia, Asia, South America, Europe, and Northern Africa. She is currently learning Spanish and French to better serve the needs of a growing migrant population. Michelle loves to bike, explore various parts of the world, attend live concerts, and participate in triathlons.
PAACE Organizational Coordinator: Liz Geariety
Liz Geariety joins the field of adult education with a background in K-12 education. Liz earned her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from SUNY Oswego. Liz has spent the majority of her educational career teaching 5th grade in Baltimore City, MD. She has also worked as an instructional coach, teacher leader, lead curriculum writer, facilitator of numerous professional development opportunities, as well as adjuncting for Towson University after earning her Masters degree in Reading and her Admin Certificate at Towson as well.