Meet the Literacy Source staff:
Alicia Brill, ESOL InstructoR
Originally from Washington State, Alicia recently returned to her home state after spending the last 14 years traveling, studying, and experiencing the world. She graduated from Carroll College in Helena, Montana with a BA in Political Science and International Relations. She holds her MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California. Alicia was most recently teaching English in West Sumatra, Indonesia as a part of the English Language Fellows program.
Allie Azersky, Parent ESOL Instructor
Allie’s first experience teaching was in 2006 when she taught financial literacy classes for newly resettled refugees. She knew then that she was hooked on teaching English language learners and has been in the field of education ever since. Allie holds a TESOL certification from S-TESL and a Master’s in Teaching from Seattle University. She’s taught ESOL to adults and children in the United States and for two years in Chile. In her free time Allie enjoys her daughter, husband, and dogs in their West Seattle home.
Anshika Kumar, Bookkeeper/Development Associate
Anshika works in two different capacities at Literacy Source, helping to bring money in (fundraising) and record and disburse it (bookkeeping). She loves working for an organization that works towards equity in the community, while building on new skills of accounting and development. In her free time she can be found playing music, throwing a frisbee, and scheming to open a cooperative cafe in Seattle. She studied Environmental Studies and Economics at the University of Washington, and is a Seattle native.
Belle Peñaranda, Communications and Data Manager
Belle joined Literacy Source in 2014, bringing 10 years of professional experience in the field of adult literacy and volunteer management. Belle is responsible for data quality assurance and analysis, oversight of student assessment, and organizational outreach and communications. She's a first generation immigrant from the Philippines, and before moving to Seattle in 2011, called the Washington, DC suburbs home for 20 years. Belle holds a BA from the College of William and Mary, and enjoys making her own clothes in her free time.
Caroline Socha, Volunteer Coordinator
Starting as an ESOL volunteer at Literacy Source in 2010, Caroline joined Literacy Source staff as an ESOL/Online Learning instructor two years later. She now manages and oversees the 200+ committed volunteers in the Literacy Source volunteer program. Born and educated in the UK, Caroline has many years of experience in management and training, working in London, Switzerland, New Zealand, US and Canada. Caroline moved to Seattle in 1989 and has worked in environmental non-profits managing computer mapping projects, volunteer programs, and as a Development Manager/performer for a local Seattle puppet theater.
Cat Howell, Instructional Director
Cat is the Instructional Director responsible for supporting teachers and tutors with a focus on helping students achieve their educational goals. She recently returned from a year living in Spain and Argentina. She has been teaching ESOL and ABE in the United States and abroad for over 20 years and lives in Wallingford with her family.
Denika Seet, Office Coordinator
Denika started at Literacy Source as an intern in September of 2012 and was later hired as a receptionist and office assistant. She is excited to be working for a non-profit organization. “What we do here changes people’s lives and it is a great experience to be a part of the team!”
Ekhtear (EK) Alzwaini, Work Study Administrative Assistant
EK graduated from a technical institute as an engineer assistant in engines and tools from Baghdad, Iraq, and he got his CNC certificate in Manufacturing from Shoreline Community College. EK's current goal is to get an AA degree in Robots and Manufacturing at Shoreline. EK arrived in the US 9 years ago as a refugee from Iraq with his family. He worked as an interpreter with the US Army and USIS in Iraq for more than 6 years, and as a security guard in Seattle for 5 years. EK speaks Arabic and English, and is the father of two kids, Maria and Elia.
Hiwet Hambir, Employment Case Manager
Hiwet joined Literacy Source in March 2017. She immigrated from Eritrea 5 years ago, and is the mother of two boys. Possessing a post-graduate diploma in Development Management, she has more than 15 years of experience in social services in the areas of resettling and rehabilitating people affected due to humanitarian crises. Hiwet speaks and writes English, Tigrinya, and Amharic and can communicate in Arabic. She is excited to join Literacy Source and share her knowledge and experience to achieve the organization's goals.
Isabel Childs, Citizenship Program Manager
Isabel has been with Literacy Source since 2007 when she taught a short-term ESOL course for workplace English. In 2008 she took on the full time role of Instructional Advisor for the next 7 years. Following a year as an English Language Fellow in Laos in 2015, Isabel was drawn back once more to Literacy Source, this time in the role of Citizenship Program Manager. When not enjoying her inspiring and fulfilling work, she can usually be found somewhere in the great outdoors.
Janet Arbogast, Workforce Coordinator
Janet helps to coordinate and teach ESOL programs on site, as well as working with partners in our community programs. She has a Master’s degree from Seattle University in adult education and basic skills and enjoys continually learning alongside her fellow staff and students.
Jennifer Muñoz, ESOL Instructor
Jennifer Muñoz joined Literacy Source in September 2016, bringing with her several years of teaching experience stateside and abroad. Prior to this opportunity, she lived in Medellín, Colombia for two years, and worked as a Business English professor at a private university. During her time in South America, she traveled throughout most of the continent, and developed her Spanish language skills. Jennifer is a native of Akron, Ohio, but has a mountain loving soul. When outside of the classroom, she enjoys learning to garden, and spending as much time as possible hiking in the mountains.
Kody Janney, ESOL Instructor
Originally from the DC suburbs, Kody has lived in many regions of the US, but in Seattle for the longest time. She got her BA from Grinnell College in Iowa and her Master's in Library & Information Studies from UC Berkeley. She has spent a fair amount of time in India and China as well as visiting other countries. She has tried (with great difficulty) to learn both Mandarin and Hindi. She has taught ESOL at Literacy Source for many years as a volunteer and is currently also leading Talk Time at the Fremont Library.
Lauren Plitkins, English and Work Instructor and Instructional Advisor
Lauren began volunteer teaching at Literacy Source in fall 2013. She also served as an AmeriCorps member in 2014-15. In 2010 Lauren graduated with a BA in English from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, and she received a Masters of Fine Arts degree from Pacific Lutheran University. Lauren taught ESOL students in South Korea and Santiago, Chile as well as teaching composition and creative writing to high school and community college students in Seattle.
Liz Wurster, KCCF and Central Library Tutor Coordinator
Liz joined the team in January 2016, after serving as a volunteer in our ESOL & Digital Literacy Classes at El Centro and Asian Counseling and Referral Services. Originally a small town girl from the South, she moved West as soon as she could to enjoy the great outdoors! A relative newbie to Seattle, she has spent many years abroad working, volunteering, and studying in South and Central America, Europe, and the Middle East, but has quickly fallen in love with the Pacific Northwest. An elementary and high school teacher throughout her twenties, Liz moved into the non-profit realm after completing a Masters Degree in Public Policy.
Lynn Livesley, Executive Director
Lynn joined Literacy Source in 2013 after a long career managing people and programs in the non-profit world and teaching in Seattle Public Schools. She administers and monitors all programs, personnel and resources, and works with the amazing staff and dedicated Board to provide strategic direction for the Center. Lynn has a Master’s degree in education and is thrilled to be working with an organization with a deep commitment to lifelong learning and self-empowerment.
Marisa Parshotam, Americorps vista student success coordinator
Marisa is thrilled to be part of the Literacy Source team this year. Originally from the Seattle area, she graduated from Western Washington University in 2013 with a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies, and spent the following years working in customer service as a Department Lead at a bookstore. In college, she participated in two service-learning programs in Kenya and Rwanda, where she collaborated with schools and NGOs to learn about community-based solutions to local issues. In her spare time, Marisa enjoys drawing, painting, writing, and reading.
Monique McFadden, Parent ESOL Coordinator
Monique McFadden started working at Literacy Source in September of 2016 as the Parent ESOL Coordinator and Instructor at Kimball and Northgate Elementary Schools. After going to high school and college in Seattle and Bellingham, Monique moved to Yakima with her family and got her Master of Education in ESOL/Bilingual Education from Heritage University. She spent 15 years teaching ESOL and ABE to adults at Yakima Valley Community College. After 19 years in Yakima, she is back in Seattle and happy to be close to family, friends, amazing ethnic food, and new adventures. Monique is a watercolor artist and avid yogi. She is married with two teenage daughters.
Natalia Zarazo, ESOL Instructor
Natalia was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. She holds a Master’s degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from Seattle University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Modern Languages from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (located in Bogotá). She has teaching experience in Colombia, France, and the U.S. She truly believes that learning a new language goes hand in hand with learning about a new culture. Her personal background as a second language learner contributes to her understanding of students’ needs and challenges.
Odessa Denson, Americorps Adult Literacy Program Assistant
Odessa graduated from Washington State University with a BA in Social Sciences. Originally from Virginia, she has traveled the southern coast throughout her life to understand the differences that make states independent while still showing pride to be part of the United States.
Rahel Gaguro, Work Study Administrative Assistant
Rahel Gaguro is originally from Ethiopia and is working to get her BA in Global Development Studies at Seattle Pacific University. Her hobbies include sketching, volleyball, and reading. In her free time, she tutors high school and middle school students. She’s excited to be a part of the Literacy Source team.
Taiko Aoki-Marcial, Ready to Work Instructor
Taiko was born and raised in Seattle. She graduated with a BA in communications from the UW and completed a Masters in Social Communication overseas at the University of Madrid in Spain. She has lived and taught English in Spain, Thailand, and Japan and volunteered with immigrants, refugees, and vulnerable communities throughout her teaching career. She’s passionate about language education and its ability to empower learners.
Tee Earls, CTO (Technology Lead)
Tee serves as our CTO and is Literacy Source’s “point of contact” for all technology needs. He works with the Board of Directors and Executive Director to craft a technology vision for the future, and ensures the daily operation and stability of our IT systems. He graduated from the College of William and Mary with a BBA in Operations and Information Technology and is completing his MBA from Washington State University. He has held various leadership roles at Microsoft for over 13 years in both the US and Europe and currently runs a technology consulting company in Seattle focused on the nonprofit and small business sectors. Tee has also been a volunteer tutor at Literacy Source.
Tess Griswold, ABE Coordinator
Tess joined the Literacy Source team in March of 2016, after graduating from Loyola University Chicago with a Master’s in Secondary Education. Prior to her work with Literacy Source, Tess taught Developmental Education courses for Tacoma Community College, where she began working with and developing curriculum for adult learners. Tess holds a B.A. in English from Western Washington University, where she also worked as a Coordinator for the Writing Center. In her free time, Tess loves to run, racing in half-marathons and marathons.