2015 VLF Conference Workshops and Presenters


Amie Whittemore

Tutor Recruitment & Retention Strategies

Since dedicating resources to tutor recruitment, Literacy Volunteers has increased recruitment by 30%. In this workshop, participants will share and evaluate current tutor recruitment and retention strategies and develop plans to implement new strategies to improve tutor/volunteer recruitment and retention. Discover creative, fun, and easy ways you can better reach volunteers and keep them engaged in your program.

Presenter Amie Whittemore, Tutor Recruitment and Communications Coordinator, LV of Charlottesville/Albemarle

Amie Whittemore holds a Master’s of Teaching from Lewis and Clark College and a Master’s of Fine Arts in poetry from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Before entering adult education, she taught and tutored writing at the secondary and post-secondary levels. She currently recruits tutors, supports tutor training, and coordinates communications for Literacy Volunteers of Charlottesville / Albemarle.


Elizabeth Girvan

It’s All About Relationships – A Strategic Approach to Board Development

A good relationship between the ED and the Board is crucial to the effectiveness and viability of every nonprofit. Cultivating those relationships can be a challenging and time-consuming task. This workshop will focus on the importance of taking the time to build board relationships, using communication strategies that build trust and foster board engagement, and creating an ED and Board Chair relationship that will set the tone for communication and involvement with other board members. The importance of strategic board development will be discussed.

Annette Loschert

Annette Loschert

Presenters Elizabeth Girvan and Annette Loschert

Elizabeth Girvan spent over twenty years in the legal field as a court reporter and legal researcher, but after answering an ad for a volunteer literacy tutor, she decided to change careers and pursue something more rewarding. In 2007 she moved from Seattle to Harrisonburg, where she began working as the Tutor Coordinator at Skyline Literacy; in 2011 she became the executive director. She has degrees in communications and organization development and a certificate in nonprofit management. Elizabeth and her husband live in Harrisonburg and have four grown children and one very active grandson.

Annette Loschert‘s professional experience includes corporate marketing and events planning, various positions in academic administration at the graduate business level, and 12 years of experience in adult literacy as tutor, board member, and Executive Director of Literacy Volunteers of Roanoke Valley from 2003-2010. She currently serves as a non-profit consultant, facilitator and trainer. Annette holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and an MBA in management from Pace University. She provides strategic planning workshops to community-based literacy organizations through the Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center and the Virginia Literacy Foundation. Annette serves as a member of the Virginia Board of Education Advisory Committee on Adult Education and Literacy, and has served on the board of the Virginia Literacy Foundation and is a past Vice President of the Virginia Literacy Leadership Council.

Jenny Bolte

Jenny Bolte

Let’s Talk

WIOA, Standards, and State Plans…oh my! And all I really want to do is help people! So how? Well, partnering—and truly partnering so everyone wins—is the answer. During this workshop facilitated by someone with “insider knowledge” about a literacy organization, adult education, and Goodwill, we’ll have a candid discussion about how these entities can best work with and support each other. Where do we start? What do we do? Who’s the convener? Why should I bother? Wondering about this or have other questions, then let’s talk!

Presenter, Jenny Bolte, Director of Program Development, Goodwill Industries of the Valleys

Jenny Bolte served six years as an Adult Education instructor and 14 years as a Manager for a Regional Adult Education Program. She is an active board member for the region’s literacy organization and now serves as the Director of Program Development for Goodwill Industries of the Valleys. In her various roles, Jenny has had the opportunity to come to understand firsthand the power of partnerships in order to help initiate change and progress.

Dr. Don Finn
Dr. Don Finn

Effective Methods for Developing Critical Thinking in Adult Learners

Adult education programs place great emphasis on developing life, workplace, and continuing education skills in their learners. Research on effective learning and adult education theory suggest that the most effective way to connect with adult learners is to draw from their life experiences as a means to help develop self-directed learning and critical thinking skills. This interactive workshop provides hands-on opportunities for participants to reflect on their personal biography as learners and educators as a model to help develop critical thinking in their adult students.

Presenter Don Finn, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Adult Education, Regent University

Dr. Don Finn has been an adult educator for over 21 years. Currently, Don is an Associate Professor and of Adult Education and program chair at Regent University and an independent adult education consultant. He has designed and delivered talks, trainings, and workshops for adult educators across the nation. Don has consulted with organizations to help them better understand the unique traits of adult learners and the programs that serve them. Don has authored and co-authored numerous articles on the topic of effective instruction for adult learners. Don is a past president of the Virginia Association for Adult and Continuing Education (VAACE), a member of the Commission on Adult Basic Education (COABE) board of directors, and co-chair of the 2015 COABE national conference in Denver, Colorado in April.

Dr. Alana Simmons

Dr. Alana Simmons

Soft Skills—The Missing Ingredient

In the workplace, employee skills are typically divided into two categories—hard and soft skills. Hard skills are specific, teachable abilities that can be defined and measured. By contrast, soft skills are less tangible and harder to quantify. Examples of hard skills include job skills like typing, writing, math, reading and the ability to use software programs; soft skills are personality-driven skills like etiquette, teamwork, effective communication, networking, problem solving, critical thinking and professionalism. Soft Skills—The Missing Ingredient, focuses on providing strategies that will assist the adult learner in development and improvement of their soft skills, in return adult learners will increase employability, improve their work performance and build stronger personal and professional relationships.

Latosha Branch

Latosha Branch

Presenters Latosha Branch and Dr. Alana Simmons

Latosha Branch is an Educational Tester & Evaluator with the Virginia Department of Corrections. She has more than 15 years of instructional experience, which includes K-12 and adult education. Presently, she is pursuing a Master’s degree in Administration and Supervision from the University of Virginia.

Dr. Alana Simmons is an Educational Tester & Evaluator with the Virginia Department of Corrections. Additionally, she serves as adjunct faculty in the School of Business & Economics at King University. She holds a Ph.D. in Post-secondary & Adult Education from Capella University.

Click here for more conference information and to register

Don’t forget! Early bird registration ends January 9, 2015!


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