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Gabriel martinez cabrera

Executive Director

Gabe joined LCMC in August 2017. He has worked in under-served communities in New York, Boston, and San Francisco. Over the years, his work evolved into workforce development, where he was in charge of a federally funded program that helped young returning citizens find family sustaining employment. He brings to his work a belief that education is more than teaching; it is an act of building community.

More recently, he worked for a research firm called Digital Promise, where he continued his communications and advocacy work to create a coalition of forward thinking adult education programs called The Beacon Project. Through the Beacon Project, he was able to bring to light the work of over 500 adult education sites across the country raising the profile of low-skilled adult learners with a culminating advocacy event that brought together the Joyce Foundation, the Barbara Bush foundation, and the X-Prize Foundation and that convened over 300 participants in 5 cities across the US. Since Digital Promise, he returned to grassroots community work as Deputy Chief Program Officer at the Academy of Hope where he oversaw recruitment, workforce development and non-academic programming.

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Denise hill

Director of Community Impact

Denise Hill has been an educator for over 20 years. She believes in the power of education to empower the individuals she serves. Denise is also a highly sought-after motivational speaker and resource in media, education, and activist circles for creative, engaging, and effective presentations. Her work addresses individual, cultural, and national triumphs and tragedies and is designed to provoke thought, compel dialogue, and most importantly, foster change.

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Alexandra Villamizar

Assistant Director, Training and Curriculum Design

Alexandra joined the LCMC in November 2016 as the Programs Manager.  Her journey in the ESL field dates back to when she came to the United States for the first time to learn English. She, herself, was an adult ESL student.  After studying English for two years, she went back to her home country Colombia, where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.  Alexandra decided to return to the United States to pursue a Master’s degree in TESOL. Alexandra has over six  years of experience teaching adult ESL classes in Maryland and Virginia.  She has also taught Spanish at the college level.

Alexandra loves to work in the adult ESL field because she believes there is no career more rewarding than helping adult ESL students improve their language skills in order to reach their goals and have better lives.

In her free time, she enjoys visiting new places, listening to music, and reading.

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Ahu Moser

Assistant Director of Programs, Classroom

Born and raised in  Turkey, Ahu has been calling Maryland home since 2004. She was an English Instructor for many years at a private university in Istanbul, Turkey before moving to the States to pursue her master’s degree. Ahu has a B.A in English as a Foreign Language and Education. She holds a M.Ed in Adult Education from Strayer University. She is currently pursuing her Ed.D degree in Adult Education. Ahu has worked in Adult Ed programs in various roles since 2007. She became the Intake Assessment Specialist at LCMC in 2015; later changing to a different role as an Instructional Specialist. In addition to her responsibilities at work, she participates in different committees, and professional development groups throughout the State and locally.

Her areas of expertise are: Curriculum and Instruction, ESL/EFL Instruction, Assessments, and GED, Mentoring and Coaching. If you ask her why she loves working at LCMC, the first thing she will tell is that she feels that she is helping the community by working with teachers closely for better instruction so that students could reach their potential, and be a part of the community without language barriers.

When Ahu is not busy with work responsibilities, she loves to spend time with her family.

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Geneva Brooks

Assistant Director, Development and Communications

Geneva, who goes by “Nevie,” earned her BA in English literature and theatre from the University of Maryland, College Park, and holds an MA in Communications from Johns Hopkins University. Prior to joining the Literacy Council, Nevie spent several years at the Humane Society of the United States, where she worked on the direct marketing team at its headquarters and even spent a year in rural Texas doing outreach and education for a wildlife sanctuary. She has also interned in Development for Active Minds, Inc., in Washington, DC. Having grown up in Montgomery County, she cares deeply about her home community. One of her very first jobs out of college was working for the Montgomery County Animal Shelter, and today she’s proud to be part of the network of Emerging Leaders with Leadership Montgomery.

In her spare time, Nevie volunteers for a variety of causes and enjoys exploring the world outside her comfort zone, especially if nature and wildlife are involved. She also considers herself a lifelong student and seizes any opportunity to learn something new.

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Nina Pashkina

Data Analyst

Nina Pashkina is a Data Analyst, who worked for non-profit organizations and marketing agencies. She has an analytical background that helped her to successfully accomplish developing of databases for Coca-Cola, Unilever and Audubon Naturalist Society.

She is motivated in her work by the opportunity to make our students’ data flow smoother, and be more accessible, through designing and implementing our databases. She develops and maintains our data system with the priority goal of making tracking and analyzing student progress and determining student needs as clear as possible.

Nina holds a Bachelor of Science in social psychology, and is a cat-lover and a passion mushroom hunter from Russia.

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Rishan Habte

Intake and Assessment Manager

Rishan has been with the Literacy Council since March 2017.  She has worked in both the tutoring program and classroom program.  Rishan has taught in the Adult Ed Program at Prince George’s Community College, Montgomery College, and The Suburban Maryland Welcome Back Center.

Rishan understands the need for organization like LCMC as she and her family came to America as refugees.  It is organizations like this helped her family and many others achieve the American dream. Rishan has been published in The Guardian for her writing about her experience as a refugee.

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Darrell Farley

GED Site Manager/Master Teacher

Darrel comes to LCMC with a true sense of service. He was an educator with PGPS before coming to LCMC to lead our GED program. Darrell’s expertise is with students with learning differences.

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Ashley France-Howell

HR/Operations Project Manager

Serving and giving back has been an integral part of Ashley’s life for as long as she could remember.  After receiving her B.A. in Strategic Communications from Elon University, Ashley’s first look into adult education began at a small literacy council in North Carolina where she served as an AmeriCorps member for two years.  While there, she worked with the workplace literacy program, where she helped students with GED prep. She taught ESL classes. Seeing the positive impact that she had on the students fueled her desire to keep giving back.  After Ashley’s AmeriCorps service terms were up, she moved back to Maryland in search of the next opportunity. She found LCMC, and has been here since February of 2017.

Ashley is currently taking a Project Management course in hopes to hone her project management skills for the betterment of the organization and so that LCMC can serve its students as effectively as possible.

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Ruth Seidenspinner

Tutoring Program Manager

Ruth began teaching ESL classes for the Literacy Council in the fall of 2015. She spent 2 concurrent years teaching at the International Language Institute of MD. In September of 2018, Ruth joined the LCMC staff full-time as the Tutoring Program Manager. Since she can’t seem to get enough of the experience, she also continues to teach evening ESL classes as well as LCMC’s pilot workplace ESL classes at a local McDonald’s restaurant.

Helping both English and Basic Literacy learners to share their stories, strengthen their communities and increase their opportunities in life has been one of the most personally rewarding experiences imaginable for Ruth. She loves meeting all the interesting new people every day and hearing about their cultures, their lives and their goals and dreams for the future.

Ruth obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, a Master’s degree in Human Resources, and a Graduate TESOL Certificate. She is fascinated by human behavior, learning, cultures, language and communication.

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Fidel Velez

Community Resources Manager

Fidel Velez graduated with a Bachelors in English Literature from the University of Puerto Rico. He then proceeded to complete his Masters in TESOL at the Inter-American University, graduating in a year and a half. He has dedicated his adult life to help improve the lives of people who have been less privileged than himself, particularly through education.

Fidel firmly believes that education is the foundation for excellence and wishes to use his experience and expertise as a way to help people achieve their full potential, particularly those who have been disadvantaged by circumstance. Fidel has experience teaching ESL to college-aged Latino and Latina students whose first language is Spanish. He spent several years teaching ESL in China to the locals. In addition, he was also part of the administration for Burke Languages School in Puerto Rico.