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Staff & Board

DLC Staff Bios

The DLC employs twelve full-time staff, five part-time staff, and two part-time contract instructors. We also benefit from the service of AmeriCorps Members placed with us for one-year terms by NC LiteracyCorps. An all-volunteer board of directors oversees our operations. 


Lizzie Ellis-Furlong, Executive Director 

(919) 489-8383, ext. 22

Lizzie holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of NC at Chapel Hill and a bachelor’s degree in sociology and anthropology from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. She is a seasoned leader with knowledge of literacy, having previously served as DLC’s Managing Director and as the Pro Literacy, Southeast USA Regional Representative. Lizzie is also a former president of the NC Literacy Association. Most recently, Lizzie served as Co-Founder and Co-Director of Rebound, an alternative program for youth suspended from school. 

Vacant, Director of Development

Please reach out to Lizzie Ellis-Furlong regarding donations, grants or other resource development offers at this time. 

DLC Board of Directors

​The DLC has an all-volunteer Board of Directors.  We welcome new members.

Gwenn Weaver, Chair

Kulwadee Yung, Vice Chair

Ike Thomas, Secretary

Michael Ortiz, Treasurer

Jill Madsen, Past Chair
Deborah Bender

Ryan Hampton

Steven Lebowitz

Wendy McCorkle

Marcus Morrow

Candace Rashada

Ellen Reckhow

Sandy Roberts

Martha Salinas

Kathy Sikes

Mitch Tuchman

Emeritus board members

Gail Faulkner Hudson

Reginald Hodges

Seymour Mauskopf

Susan Springer    

To learn how to join the Board or for information about our Board Subcommittees (e.g., Finance, Teaching & Learning, Fundraising), please contact us.​

Shondra Brewer, Administrative & Finance Associate

(919) 489-8383, ext. 23


Shondra is a graduate of North Carolina Central University with a degree in Business Administration. Shondra has worked with the Durham Literacy Center for over 10 years. Before working with the DLC, she worked in an administrative role with GlaxoSmithKline, and Coventry Health Care.

Gardy Perard, Adult Literacy Program Coordinator

(919) 489-8383, ext. 26


Gardy joined the DLC as a volunteer tutor in 2006, was hired as the Adult Literacy Tutor Trainer in 2007, and became the Adult Literacy Program Coordinator in 2008. He is a certified Adult Education Resource Specialist and a certified STudent Achievement in Reading (STAR) instructor. After completing the Augustine Project’s Orton-Gillingham training, he became a member of the Augustine Project’s Board of Directors. Gardy has a background in engineering and mathematics.

Rebecca Schaffer, Adult Literacy Program Associate

(919) 489-8383, ext. 27


Rebecca volunteered with the DLC’s Adult Literacy program from 2006 until 2008, and she has been on staff since then. She is a certified Adult Education Resource Specialist and a certified STudent Achievement in Reading (STAR) trainer and technical assistance provider for North Carolina. She has completed the Augustine Project’s Orton-Gillingham training. Prior to joining the DLC, Rebecca spent more than 10 years planning and evaluating education and social service programs.

Joan Zec Nelson, ESOL Program Coordinator

(919) 489-8383, ext. 25


Joan joined the DLC in 2015 after teaching ESL at Alamance Community College. She is a state-level trainer for the community college system and has trained ESL and literacy teachers  to incorporate college and career readiness into their curricula. She holds a B.A. degree from Marymount College in New York, and did graduate work at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. Before teaching ESL, Joan was a television reporter in the U.S. and Europe. She covered northern Mexico and the border while a reporter in El Paso, Texas.

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Chris Hall, ESOL Program Associate

(919) 489-8383, ext. 33

Chris is a North Carolina native with 16 years experience in the financial, diplomatic and non-profit sectors. He has a B.A. in International Studies and Psychology from UNC-Chapel Hill and an M.A. in Political Science from Bath University, UK, as well as certifications in conflict resolution and mediation. His research focused on human trafficking, including work on legislative proposals to the Czech Parliament.

Brice Hudson, Interim Youth Achievement Program Coordinator

(919) 489-8383, ext. 28

Brice has been with the DLC since Fall 2018. She graduated from NC A&T with a BS in Electronics & Computer Technology.  She began working for nonprofits in 2011, with the Daniel Center for Math & Science as Program Coordinator and then with O.A.S.I.S. Outreach, Inc. & O.A.S.I.S. Foundation of NC as the Site Coordinator. When she's not working, Brice enjoys spending time with family and friends.

Brett Coonley, Youth Achievement Program Instructor

(919) 489-8383


Brett received his BA in Mathematics from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. He worked in the MIT Department of Mathematics for 7 years preparing mathematics textbooks for publication. He earned his PhD in Mathematics from NC State University. Brett has been teaching Math and Science to high school equivalency students since 2015.

Carolyn B-G.heic
Carolyn Briggs-Gaul, Youth Achievement Program Instructor

(919) 489-8383


Carolyn, a Chicago native, has been living in the Triangle for 8 years and has been teaching High School English and Theatre for over 20 years.  She is the Artistic Director for The Children's Arts Collaborative, a Raleigh Children's Theatre company and also leads haunted walking tours of downtown Raleigh.  Carolyn, her three teenage sons and husband love to travel and when she's not teaching, writing or acting, you can find them all touring around the country or camping in National Parks.

Carolyn Ferrell, Data Management

Carolyn received her B.A. in English, Russian, and Religious Studies from Rice University. Prior to joining the DLC, she worked in the nonprofit technology field for almost 20 years.

Elizabeth Tietgen, Adult Basic Education Instructor at Threshold Clubhouse


Elizabeth leads an adult basic education class for adult learners at the Threshold Clubhouse, a community-based organization that serves Durham residents who live with severe or persistent mental illness.

Daniel Berenson, ESOL Instructor at EDCI 


Daniel teaches beginning and intermediate English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes at EDCI in east Durham. 

Durham Literacy Center values diversity and does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, age, religion, gender, disability, or sexual orientation when considering employment, board membership, volunteer participation, or client services.

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