ROBERT CONNOLLY, Math/Numeracy Coordinator
Rob, a PhD in mathematics, is a dedicated teacher with a true appreciation of the importance of understanding mathematics. He is committed to changing students’ common negative perceptions of their ability to learn math by helping them identify and recover missing foundations. Rob taught at Oakland University for more than a decade, focusing on the foundational courses of precalculus and algebra. He received his PhD, MS, and BS from Oakland University. In Rob’s current role, he trains math tutors, orients adult learners to establish productive learning routines with their tutors, and provides mathematics curriculum support.
SUE KLUNK, Development and Communications Associate
Experience as a system analyst, recruiting coordinator, and staffing manager for large corporations has allowed Sue to hone strong organizational, planning, and people skills which are critical to the work she does for Oakland Literacy Council telling our stories and securing financial support for the organization. Sue holds a Master of Education in Instructional Technology from Wayne State University and a BS in Business Administration from Miami University. She is also a business writer for a boutique investment banking firm.
LISA MACHESKY, Executive Director
Lisa has over two decades of experience leading nonprofits in Oakland County and has been involved in many nonprofit organizations as a board member and volunteer. She previously served as executive director of The Baldwin Center in Pontiac and executive director of the Birmingham Bloomfield Community Coalition. Lisa is passionate about growing nonprofit organizations and establishing connections between them and the communities they serve. Currently, she is focused on expanding Oakland Literacy Council’s capacity to meet the demand for literacy instruction in Oakland County, where an estimated 105,000 adults are considered functionally illiterate, and even more residents lack basic math skills. Lisa holds an MBA from Oakland University and a bachelor’s degree from Albion College.
AMANDA POWE, Student Coordinator
Ms. Powe has honed her student support and problem resolution skills at several local university financial aid offices. She also brings a significant and relevant academic background, with a MS in Postsecondary Education and a Master of Public Administration with a nonprofit concentration from Troy University in Montgomery, Alabama. She also holds a BA in Political Science from Tuskegee University. At OLC, Amanda is responsible for recruiting and supporting the over 300 adult learners who enroll in the program annually.
PATRICIA SHAYNE, Digital Literacy Coordinator
The intersection of education and technology has been a core part of Patti’s career for over two decades. She has served as the director of technology for the Frankel Academy and Edison Schools. Currently, Patti is also an adult educator for the Troy School District, supporting adult students as they seek to obtain their GED. She holds a master’s degree in Adult and Continuing Education and a BS in Kinesiology and Biology and from Michigan State University. She has a State of Michigan Teaching Certification, a Library Media Specialist Endorsement from Wayne State University, and a G-Suite for Education Certification from Google. In her present role with OLC, Patti provides computer and Internet instruction for our learners and coordinates the laptop program.
SOUAD SARAKBI, Data and Assessment Coordinator
Souad, a new U.S. citizen, came to the United States as a refugee from Syria. She speaks both Arabic and English. In Syria, Souad was a practicing attorney. She is a certified CASAS e-test coordinator and proctor and has served as an administrative assistant for the Troy Adult Education TRAC program. Souad recently completed Comprehensive Overview of Immigration Law, a course taught by the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. In addition to her legal background, Souad holds an MA in Social Justice from Marygrove. At OLC, she is responsible for intake, student testing, and managing data, including monthly instructional hour reporting.
LAURIE WEEKS, Tutor Coordinator
Laurie first came to Oakland Literacy Council in 2015 as a volunteer tutor. Prior to that time, she was a journalist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Dow Jones News Service. Laurie also taught composition at Oakland Community College and served as a writing and ESL tutor in the OCC Academic Support Center. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Spalding University and a BA in English from the University of Michigan. She also has a Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)/ Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). In her present role, Laurie is responsible for recruiting, training, and supporting over 250 volunteer tutors who serve our adult learners. She also continues to volunteer her time as an ESL tutor.
DINAH RAMIREZ, Tutor Trainer
Dinah was motivated to become a volunteer tutor at the Oakland Literacy Council based on her experience as a child of immigrants. Dinah is an experienced instructional designer and consultant with 17 years of combined work experience in product training, implementation, sales, account management, and customer success. She holds an MBA from Wayne State University and a BA in Sociology (specializing in Economy, Business and Society) with a minor in Applied Statistics from the University of Michigan. At OLC, Dinah leads training for ESL tutors.
RADHA VALSADIA, Tutor Trainer
Radha brings a wealth of personal and professional experience to her role as a tutor trainer. She is a certified teacher in the state of Michigan who has had classroom experience with learners from diverse communities at both the high school and adult level in the United States and India. Radha was inspired to become a teacher after witnessing the challenges her immigrant relatives experienced learning English. She has served as a volunteer tutor for OLC and helped revamp the Council’s tutor training in 2021 to incorporate greater sensitivity to the needs of our diverse learners. Rahda holds a master’s degree in instructional technology and a bachelor’s degree in secondary education, both from Wayne State University. She currently works full time as an instructional designer with Credit Acceptance Corp and teaches adult English language learners part time for Utica Community Schools. At OLC, Radha leads the tutor foundational training, Working with a Diverse Community of Adult Learners.
TIFFANY VOJNOVSKI, Tutor Trainer
Tiffany draws upon her personal passion for learning new languages and her professional experience as a teacher and instructional designer in her role as tutor trainer. Tiffany began her career as an instructor for English language learners, has had classroom teaching experience at the middle-school level, and tutors English language learners privately. A former volunteer tutor for OLC, Tiffany has worked as an instructional designer for corporate training entities including GP Strategies and SweetRush, creating web-based and instructor-led training programs for corporations throughout the country. Tiffany leads OLC training for ESL tutors.