Bloomfield Hills, MI – Oakland Literacy Council announces the appointment of four new members to its board of directors following its annual meeting in January. Joining the board are Mita Bhavsar, Ashelin Currie PhD, Ellen Lipton, and Robert Steeh. Also at the meeting, John Almstadt was elected as the new board chairperson, succeeding Judy Lindstrom, who held the position for 18 years.
“Our new board members bring to the organization a wealth of government, business, and education expertise,“ says Executive Director Lisa Machesky. “I am looking forward to the unique guidance and opportunity that Mita, Ashelin, Ellen, and Bob will each provide as we continue building reading, math, digital literacy, and workforce preparation programs and continue taking steps to reach community members who most need literacy services. I am also excited to see the outcomes of this new leadership. John was instrumental in building a strong transition plan over the last year, and he will lead us into a new stage of growth and community impact.”
Mita Bhavsar is a director at FINNEA Group, a financial services firm in Oakland County. She is an industry expert in data modeling, with over 20 years of experience across multiple industries. Mita is a community advocate with a focus on math literacy. She is “passionate about education and believes that knowledge truly is power.” Mita has served as a volunteer GED Math instructor and worked with multiple nonprofit organizations leading math boot camps, promoting STEM education for young women, and ensuring that teenagers at risk for dropping out of school have a path to higher education and trade programs. She is a certified diversity and inclusion facilitator. Mita graduated from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, with a Bachelor of Mathematics. She lives in Farmington Hills.
Dr. Ashelin Currie is a literacy consultant at Oakland Schools. In her role, she supports school district leaders, literacy coaches, and teachers, with the goal of delivering effective and appropriate literacy instruction to all students. Ashelin is the president of the Detroit Affiliate of the National Black Child Development Institute. She works extensively with children and families and other community organizations to implement systems to improve the academic lives of students beyond the school setting. Ashelin obtained her Doctorate in Reading and Language Arts with a concentration in emergent literacy from Oakland University. She earned her Master of Arts in Reading Education from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte and her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Appalachian State University. Ashelin lives in Pontiac.
Ellen Lipton is a member of the Michigan Board of Education and president of the Michigan Promise Zone Association, which supports free community college tuition, technical training, and certification to students in select communities in Michigan. She previously served six years as a Michigan State Representative. Ellen has been a tireless advocate for education, committed to eliminating educational inequities and ensuring affordable higher education. A patent attorney, Ellen graduated from Harvard Law School and earned her bachelor’s degree from Williams College. She lives in Huntington Woods.
Robert Steeh has spent his career dedicated to community education. He recently retired after 22 years as director of community education for Novi Schools. For the previous 22 years, he served as assistant community education director for Brighton Area Schools. Bob currently serves as past president of the Michigan Association for Community and Adult Education (MACAE) and is a member of the Oakland County Workforce Development Board. “I look forward to serving on the OLC board. With my 44 years working in adult education, it is my hope to help bring greater access to literacy programs for adults,” says Bob. He received his master’s degree in educational leadership from Eastern Michigan University and bachelor’s degree in education from Central Michigan University. Bob lives in Brighton.
John Almstadt, new OLC chairperson and longtime board member, has over 30 years of experience in workforce development. He is the former director of Oakland County Michigan Works!. He lives in Oakland Township. His predecessor, Judy Lindstrom, was appointed chairperson emeritus in honor of her 25 years of service to the organization and advocacy for adult learners in Oakland County. Robert Gaylor, Judy Bryce, and Paula Brown were reelected as vice chairperson, secretary, and treasurer, respectively.