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Staff & Board

Durham Literacy Center Staff

The DLC employs ten full-time staff and three part-time staff. 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. 


Opportunities at the DLC

Please check back for job openings.

Lizzie Ellis-Furlong, Executive Director 

(919) 489-8383, ext. 22 

Lizzie has been the executive director since October 2014 after previously working at the DLC from 2001-2006. Supporting adults on their educational journeys is her lifelong passion, starting her career as an English teacher to adults in Eastern Europe. She 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. 

Annette Gibbs, Director of Educational Programs

(919) 489-8383

Annette joined the DLC in September 2023. A Newark, N.J. native, she has acquired over 25 years of experience working in community services and adult education in Orlando, FL. and Atlanta, GA communities. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication from Rutgers University and a masters degree  in Public Administration from the University of Central Florida. Annette loves to travel, learn about different cultures, and spend time with family and friends.

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Sarah Cooley, Adult Literacy Program Coordinator

(919) 489-8383, ext. 27

Sarah grew up in Boone, NC but has called Chapel Hill home for the last 30 years. She has many years of experience in Adult Education, as staff and a volunteer, most notably with Durham Tech as an administrator in Adult Basic Skills and other departments. She holds a bachelor's degree in English from UNC-Chapel Hill and has done graduate studies in Social Work, also at UNC-CH. Sarah loves all kinds of music and enjoys playing flute, Irish pennywhistle, and West-African djembe.

DLC Board of Directors

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

Gwenn Weaver, Chair

Kulwadee Yung, Vice Chair

Isaac Thomas, Jr., Secretary

Michael Ortiz, Treasurer

Jill Madsen, Past Chair
Deborah Bender

Ryan Hampton

Steven Lebowitz

Wendy McCorkle

Marcus Morrow

Candace Rashada

Ellen Reckhow

Sandra K 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.​

Rebecca Schaffer, Adult Literacy Program Associate


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, 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 DCI 


Daniel teaches beginning and intermediate English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes at our partner site with Durham Children's Initative.

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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