About Literacy Delaware

Why Are We Needed in Delaware?

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We Reach Adults in Need throughout Delaware.

We assist adult learners to realize their potential as confident, self-sufficient, and productive employees, supportive parents, and engaged community members.

 

Mission: Advancing literacy through training, tutoring, English language acquisition and advocacy for all Delawareans.

 

Vision: Empowering all Delawareans through Literacy.

 

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Our volunteer tutors donated over 7000 hours of instruction in the last program year.

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We trained 55 new volunteer tutors in the last program year.

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We reach adults who speak 27 different languages, including English.

We Serve Learners Throughout the State

Our learners live in all three counties in Delaware: New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County.

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We Partner with Community Organizations and Libraries to Advocate for all Delawareans

We cannot do our work alone.  Our community partnerships are essential to increase our reach in the community and build a strong continuum of services to serve adults in need in Delaware.  Partner organizations help with learner and tutor recruitment and provide meeting space. We leverage partnerships to deliver innovative programming initiatives. 

 

We are partners with the Delaware Division of Libraries and work with libraries throughout the state. Our main offices are in the Wilmington Public Library.

 

 

We respect the diversity of our learners and embrace their diverse backgrounds, countries and languages.

We reaffirm our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion for all people, no matter their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, socio-economic status, language and culture.  We believe literacy is the great equalizer to pave the path for social justice.  We will continue to leverage our resources to impact and empower those we serve through literacy instruction.

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Meet Our Staff

Cynthia Shermeyer
Executive Director
Susan Trzonkowski
Director of Data and Financial Management
Barbara Ruane
Administrative Assistant
Dale Ashera-Davis
Training Coordinator
Jackie Filak
Marketing and Communications Consultant
Leslie McGowan
Director of Operations
Luz Darys Vidal
Learner Coordinator

Meet our Board of Directors

Diane Frentzel
Board Chair
Diane Frentzel
Diane Frentzel

Program Manager, Delaware Readiness Team

Diane is the Program Manager of the Delaware Readiness Teams. In her role, Diane provides leadership and management to the Delaware Readiness Teams statewide. Prior to joining the Delaware Readiness Teams, Diane worked as a director at Bright Horizons. Diane has coordinated the Making a Difference Conference: A Conference for Early Childhood Professionals since 2016. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Development and Education from the University of Delaware.

Greg O'Neill
Vice Chair
Greg O'Neill
Greg O'Neill

MSN, APRN, AGCNS-BC, RN-BC Nursing Patient & Family Health Education Manager, Christiana Care Health System

As manager in Nursing Professional Development and Education, Greg O’Neill is responsible for strategic direction and oversight of Patient & Family Health Education at ChristianaCare. His team works to improve quality of life through health literate education strategies that prepares our neighbors to care for themselves and make informed choices.  In his ten years of service at ChristianaCare he has had the great pleasure caring for patients and families in the roles of Student Nurse, Surgical Critical Care RN, nurse educator and now as a nurse leader. Greg earned his bachelor’s in nursing and an Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist degree from the University of Delaware. Prior to ChristianaCare, Greg spent 10 years caring for reptiles and amphibians at the Philadelphia Zoo. He has also volunteered on the Board of Directors at AIDS Delaware in Wilmington and as many capacities at Faithful Friends Animal Society.

Mouli Ravilla
Treasurer
Mouli Ravilla
Mouli Ravilla

Vice President, Software Architecture at JP Morgan Chase

Mouli is a senior technology leader with over 16 years of experience in financial services industry. He is passionate about education and highly motivated to bring a positive impact on the community. His expertise includes Strategic architecture & planning, Enterprise architecture, Application architecture & design and implementing large scale software projects. Mouli holds a Bachelors of Technology degree in Electronics and Communications engineering. He currently lives in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania and is blessed two beautiful kids. He enjoys playing cricket, table tennis and watching football

Colin Murphy
Secretary
Colin Murphy
Colin Murphy

Executive Director JP Morgan Chase

Colin Murphy is originally from Rockville, Maryland, but has been an unofficial Delaware native since attending the University of Delaware and graduating with an English Education degree in 1993. He lives near Hockessin and is married with three children. Mr. Murphy is an Executive Director at JPMorgan Chase and is currently serving as the Area Product Owner for the firmwide Digital Communications platform and has worked in digital product development and marketing roles for over 25 years. While attending UD, Mr. Murphy volunteered as a tutor at the Latin American Community Center in Wilmington where he saw firsthand the challenges facing adults with low English proficiency. Mr. Murphy has always believed in the power of language to increase understanding and open opportunities for economic advancement. He is thrilled to join the board of Literacy Delaware, and excited to support the organization's mission to empower personal success through literacy.

Dan Cruce
Dan Cruce
Dan Cruce

Chief Operating Officer United Way

Dan is an experienced senior executive with demonstrated success in the public policy and P-20 education sectors. His honed skills with nonprofits, grassroots organizing, government, media relations, and administration drive his work and leadership. He is committed to public service, community impact, and systems change as the United Way of Delaware’s Chief Operating Officer.

Before joining the United Way of Delaware, Dan worked across the country with the national public policy non-profit, Hope Street Group, as its Education Vice President. Prior to that role, he was Deputy Secretary/Chief of Staff at the Delaware Department of Education. Previously, he was Assistant Superintendent/Chief of Staff at the Christina School District in Delaware. Dan also worked for the Honorable Kent A. Jordan, United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and former United States Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s Delaware Senate Office. He was also Associate General Counsel for Corporation Service Company.

Dr. Annie Norman
Dr. Annie Norman
Dr. Annie Norman

State Librarian

Under her leadership, the Delaware Library Catalog, delaware libraries dot org, was established; currently 74 participating libraries are sharing 2.5 million items for the benefit of Delawareans.  Annie is the first librarian to be inducted into the Hall of Fame of Delaware Women.  Watch her talk on curiosity for TEDxWilmington, Libraries and the American Dream.

Annie was appointed by President Biden to the National Museum and Library Services Board, both an honor for her and a win for Delaware Libraries

 

Jaki Ortiz
Jaki Ortiz
Jaki Ortiz

Vice President, Health Equity and Cultural Competency

As vice president of health equity, Jacqueline Ortiz, M.Phil. is responsible for leading the system’s healthcare equity initiatives to identify, understand, measure, and reduce disparities in health and health care affecting the community served by ChristianaCare. Jacqueline joined ChristianaCare in February 2012 with over fifteen years of experience researching, teaching, and working in cultural competence, health equity, social networks, and economic sociology.

Prior to joining ChristianaCare, she led a firm specializing in the application of social network analysis to resolve organizational challenges, working in Latin America and the United States, in both public and private sectors. Jacqueline has consulted for Fortune 500 companies, the government of Argentina and multi‐lateral organizations like the World Bank and Transparency International. 

Jacqueline obtained a B.A. in Sociology from Occidental College, an M.A. in Sociology from Boston College, and is currently a doctoral candidate at Yale University.

Rollo Robertson
Rollo Robertson
Rollo Robertson
BIO
Daniel Harris
Daniel Harris
Daniel Harris

Walmart Store Manager and Field Director for the Eastern United States for Community Engagement

Daniel is the Store Manager for the New Castle Walmart at the Wilton Boulevard complex, and Field Director for the Eastern United States for community engagement. Overcoming adverse life circumstances to earn his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Leadership and Management, Daniel has had the ability to lead vast, diverse, and complex teams throughout the country. Through his work over a decade of his career, Daniel has established community partners to include local and state governments, the Armed Forces, local/state/federal First Responders, Boys and Girls Clubs, and the YMCA. Speaking with elected officials, community leaders, organizations, and all individuals and showing by our "actions" Walmart, as a global leader; is truly a "store of the community" explains Daniel. Passionate about individual and community sustainability, growth, and development, Daniel has been humbled and honored to represent the Delaware State Police as a Centennial Honorary Commander, and ensure the highest standards are upheld for our community.

Kathleen Seeman
Kathleen Seeman
Kathleen Seeman

Award Winning Reading and Dyslexia Specialist

Kathleen Seeman, MEd has spent her career working with non-readers in classroom settings and private practice creating successful programming and having a 100% success rate with teaching children to read. Kathleen was early to apply Positive Psychology in classrooms, spawning a local movement and speaks globally and the effects of Reading Trauma.

Seeman is an advocate, lobbyist and community organizer who is passionate about reducing Delaware’s illiteracy rate as well as the nations. She founded the Delaware Reading Summit and brought together the state’s stakeholders to build consensus around the Science of Reading. As a lobbyist, Ms. Seeman testified in front of the Senate and House Education Committees to help ensure several pieces of key reading legislation were passed and currently works with other states to create successful Science of Reading legislative campaigns.

Ms. Seeman is currently working on recreating the state of Mississippi’s successful implementation of their Science of Reading bills by creating a Proof of Concept working model in partnership with a city of Wilmington school.

James Spadola
James Spadola
James Spadola

Executive Director, Read Aloud Delaware

Executive Director of Read Aloud Delaware, a statewide nonprofit fighting childhood illiteracy, Mr. Spadola brings more than 14 years of experience in relationship cultivation, public relations, marketing, and community outreach across the private, public, and nonprofit sectors in Delaware. Elected to the Wilmington City Council to the At-Large seat in 2020, Mr. Spadola is a member of the advisory committee of the Delaware Communities of Excellence Collaborative which focuses on developing a comprehensive literacy ecosystem that promotes equity and impacts Delawareans for the purpose of enhancing the quality of life in Delaware. An Iraq war combat veteran and former police officer, Mr. Spadola has also served as board chair of the Wilmington Housing Authority and was a former board member of REACH Riverside. ..

Thank You to Our Partners and Supporters

 

Learn More About How to Help Today

We rely on trained volunteer tutors to reach adults in need in Delaware.

 

We  need sponsors to support program delivery, particularly unique programs such as digital literacy, health literacy, family literacy, etc. 

 

The majority of our funds are spent on program delivery. The majority of our funding comes from foundations and small donors. Help us increase our reach to adults in need in Delaware. Help us increase our impact.