Kelly Norton steps down from Literacy Council

May. 16, 2013 @ 05:13 PM

Kelly Norton, executive director of the Literacy Council of Union County, announced her resignation last week. 

“It is with deep emotion that I announce my resignation. I am appreciative of the opportunity to serve as executive director. After the transition to a new director, I will take some time before taking the next step of my career,” she wrote in a letter to the board of directors. 

Norton began as a tutor with the organization in 2000. She served as a tutor, a trainer, a board member and eventually executive director. She has been executive director since Feb. 2011. 

She has enjoyed spending time helping their students and plans to continue to support the organization through volunteering her time and donations. 

“Really getting to know our students better” was her favorite part of the job, she said. “Getting to go out into the community and share their story with people. I think people don’t realize the impact this organization makes and the need. That’s really been the best part.” 

She also loves doing the training and in-service workshops for volunteers. 

“I think that I’m proud of the services that we provide to our students, that we can really give them confidential learning environment that’s safe for them and that’s encouraging and positive,” Norton said. 

She remembered a student whose wife told them he loves his tutor and could not believe that they would take him in and share their time with him. 

“This man reads at about a third-grade level and he doesn’t think he’s smart enough or good enough to be served,” Norton said. “Unfortunately, he’s not the only one who feels that way.”

The organization also serves immigrants who come to the country with limited reading skills. Norton said the students cannot believe that a total stranger in another country wants to help them and their family for free. 

“You really can make a difference and they are so appreciative...We just have to encourage those folks to come in our door and that we can help them” Norton said. “But we have to have community support.”

Norton’s last day is June 30. She said in her resignation letter that she is committed to a smooth transition.

Julie Andreacola, chair of the board of directors, wrote in a letter that they will use this change in leadership as an opportunity to “re-cast” the position to community outreach and fundraising. They hope to provide the Literacy Council with more long-term opportunities to increase funding to transition staff from 30 to 40 hours a week and improving on educational tools, methodologies and materials.

“The board, staff, volunteers and students deeply value and respect the contributions Kelly has made in the areas of both community outreach and educational programming and methodologies,” Andreacola wrote.