Sarah received her BA in History from Truman State University, her MA in Museum Studies from University of Kansas, and is currently working on her PhD in History at KU. She has a passion for education and making information accessible to everyone, which is why she originally joined Literacy KC as an instructor in May 2015. In December 2015, she became the Digital Inclusion Fellow, part of a national fellowship sponsored by Google Fiber to help bridge the digital divide. As the Digital Inclusion Fellow, Sarah believes digital skills cannot be separated from discussions of literacy in our technology-driven 21st-century society. Outside of work Sarah loves to hike, read, bake, and spend time with friends and family.
Kate BrownVolunteer & Community Outreach Coordinator
Originally from Kansas City, Kate earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Kansas. As the Volunteer and Community Outreach Coordinator, she works with our amazing volunteers and spends time in the community spreading awareness about Literacy KC. Prior to joining Literacy KC, Kate worked in the non-profit sector of Kansas City, spurring her passion for volunteerism in a community. She is excited to continue to build Literacy KC’s environment that welcomes and celebrates volunteers, a vital part of our organization. When Kate’s not at work, you can find her cheering on the Jayhawks, spending time with her friends and family, or at her favorite place in the world—her family’s lake cabin!
Nancy ClayInstructional Specialist
Nancy holds a BA in English from California State University, East Bay and a MEd in Curriculum and Instruction (Linguistics) from the University of Nebraska. After a brief stint as a junior high school English teacher, she moved into various positions in higher education, including English/ESL instructor, International Student Advisor, Director of Intensive English Programs, and Executive Director of Enrollment Services. Partially retired, Nancy moved to Kansas City and found the opportunity to join Literacy KC as an Instructional Specialist. Her position involves training new tutors and working with the curriculum team. She is delighted to work with the wonderful staff and volunteers who make Literacy KC so successful. Outside of work, Nancy spends lots of time with her large family, consisting of six children, four children-in-law, eleven grandchildren, and a nice husband.
Robert DayAdministrative Assistant
Robert was born and raised in Kansas City and attended Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, after which he joined the Navy. As the administrative assistant, Robert is the first face that visitors see when they walk into our office. His lifelong interest in literature was inspired by his mother and he is thrilled to be in such a literacy-centered environment at Literacy KC. When Robert isn’t in the office, you can find him reading a book, playing in his band, and hanging out with friends.
Phil received a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Creative Writing from University of Missouri – Kansas City. He earned his degree in Education from Northwest Missouri State University. He taught in public education for over seven years before joining the Literacy KC staff. During this time, Phil instructed students with autism, dyslexia and other learning differences. He also taught literacy classes to students in the general education population. Phil also has a career as an actor, writer, and life coach. When he isn’t teaching, Phil enjoys reading, writing, movies, theatre, travel and exercise; he also spends time with his two cats, who help to keep him in line.
Kevin DerohanianSocial Media Consultant
Kevin received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a Minor in Political Science from the University of Connecticut. He joined Literacy KC in February 2016 and is responsible for further developing all marketing and communications strategies. Prior to joining our team, Kevin worked in promotions for a media group that managed 6 radio stations in Tampa, FL. He is excited to use his skills to share just how great Literacy KC is with the outside community. Outside of the office, Kevin is a huge sports fan, especially when it comes to his beloved UConn Huskies, and enjoys travelling, spending time with family and friends, and reading his daily Wall Street Journal newspaper.
Alice FlowersPublic Relations Coordinator
Alice joined Literacy KC in August 2016 and is passionate about building strong communities. As the Special Events Coordinator, she is responsible for working to develop Literacy KC related events and outreach efforts. She has devoted many years of her life advocating for low-income people and working to reduce poverty in the Kansas City community, with 30 years of experience in social services and over 20 in outreach management. Alice is excited to share her knowledge in order to continue to help those in need become self-sufficient and expand the reach of Literacy KC. In her personal life, she enjoys spending time with her three children and two grandchildren.
Xavier HankinsExecutive Administrative Assistant
Xavier has a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Sociology and Women Studies and a Minor in French from the University of Kansas. She is responsible for managing day-to-day office operations, organizing and maintaining files and records, and planning meetings and appointments. Prior to joining Literacy KC, she worked in the mental health field, assisting clients with their reading and comprehension skills. Xavier has always enjoyed working with people in the community and is excited to increase awareness about the importance of literacy and how Literacy KC can help! In her free time, you can find her hanging out with her family and friends, reading to her children, traveling, and cheering on the Jayhawks.
Rachel HendersonPrograms Support Coordinator
Rachel joined Literacy KC in February 2016; her duties as the Programs Support Coordinator include working in student affairs and overseeing the AmeriCorps VISTA Program, where Literacy KC serves as an intermediary, to place VISTA members at non-profits in the Greater Kansas City area. Prior to joining as a full-time staff member, Rachel previously served as an AmeriCorps VISTA at both Literacy KC and Kansas Mentors, a mentoring partnership in Topeka, Kansas. Rachel has a passion for public service and the ability to make a lasting impact in the community and on the clients she serves. When she isn’t working, you can find her cheering on the Kansas City Royals and Chiefs, spending time with family and friends, and traveling coast to coast.
Gillian HelmExecutive Director
Gillian received a Bachelor’s in English Literature with a minor in Spanish from Park University. After doing extensive research in Latin America on non-governmental resources available to women in poverty as a graduate student at the University of Kansas, she decided that her focus should remain closer to home in order to address the needs immediately around her, and completed a Master’s degree in Public Administration with an emphasis in Nonprofit Management from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Having always sought out opportunities that combine two of the things she cares most about, education and nonprofit work, Gillian joined the Literacy KC team in September 2011 as a Program Coordinator. Later, her work as Director of Programs allowed her to combine her interests and be inspired daily by the dedication of students and volunteers, while continually looking for new and better ways to provide much-needed services. Gillian then became Literacy KC’s Executive Director in October 2015, and continues to dedicate her time and talent to the improvement of services, the diversification of programming, and to meeting the needs of each adult learner who comes to Literacy KC in the best way possible. Gillian loves reading, running, DIY projects, and would like to own her own restaurant one day. She also does her best to keep up with her busy and brilliant husband, her rambunctiously charming four-year-old, and hilarious little tank of a toddler.
Angela LutzWriters For Readers Program Coordinator
Angela received a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in English and is currently attending the University of Missouri-Kansas City to get a Masters of Fine Arts in fiction writing.
Before joining Literacy KC as a graduate teaching assistant in August 2016, Angela held a wide variety of jobs ranging from nonprofit communications editor to barista to English tutor. She currently works as a freelance writer for several publications. Angela is an avid gardener who loves cats, yoga, and fancy coffee. She is excited to help Literacy KC students tell their stories with Writers for Readers.
Kim RogersOperations Manager
Originally from Albany, MO, Kim earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration & Finance with a Minor in Management Information Systems from Truman State University. As the Operations Manager, she is responsible for anything related to human resources, accounting, and office management. Before joining Literacy KC, she worked as a billing and medical records coordinator for a residential healthcare facility. Kim enjoys working at Literacy KC because it allows her to utilize her expertise to do what she loves while helping an amazing organization at the same time. When Kim isn’t at the office, you can find her watching sports, especially Kansas Jayhawks basketball, spending time with family and friends, and playing with her dog, Zeus.
Gabriell SmithTicket To Read Coordinator
Gabriell is originally from St. Louis, MO, and came to Kansas City to attend UMKC, where she received a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology. As the Ticket to Read Coordinator, she develops strategic program enhancements to ensure the future success of the program. Prior to arriving at Literacy KC, she worked in the non-profit community serving immigrants and refugees. She has always been interested in community outreach and non-profit work and her experience in the field gave her a deep appreciation for non-profits and their goal to improve the quality of life for others, one program at a time. When she isn’t working, you can find her writing or spending time with friends and family.
Lazona received a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Park University. She also received her Masters of Education in Education & Elementary Administration. Recently, she completed her Education Specialist degree in District Level Administration at UMKC. Lazona has taught in the Kansas City Public School system for the past 24 years and came on as a Literacy KC Instructor in 2015. She believes teaching at Literacy KC is a great way to give back to the community and help adults achieve their goals as readers & learners. Lazona is a huge KU Jayhawks basketball fan and enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with her two boys.
John TeasdaleDeputy Director/Chief Development Officer
John holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from the University of Notre Dame, where he was also a football player. He also holds a Masters of Business Administration from Rockhurst University. As Deputy Director, John is responsible for securing funding for our programs through government and foundation grant support, major giving campaigns, and special events. Prior to arriving at Literacy KC, John worked with HappyBottoms, DeLaSalle Education Center, and Rockhurst University, among other for-profit companies. He is excited to use his skills to continue Literacy KC’s growth and ability to serve more families than ever before. Outside of work, you can find John walking his golden retriever Sunny, spoiling his nieces and nephews, or reading history books!
Amy TrautmanInstructional Team Leader
Amy received a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts, and two Masters in Elementary Education and School Supervision. As the Instructional Team Leader, Amy is responsible for leading the instructional team through training, collaboration, and curriculum development to improve student outcomes in adult literacy. Amy has worked in education for over eighteen years in a variety of states, grade levels, and positions, including assistant principal and principal. She also currently enjoys supervising student teachers in their field experience. Amy is thrilled to apply her teaching and administrative skills to support Literacy KC’s continued program development. In addition to her involvement in education, Amy enjoys family time, extensive gardening, and travel.