Blue Ridge Literacy Council welcomed Katrina K McGuire as its new Executive Director January 4.

“Katrina brings an excellent blend of nonprofit marketing and executive director skills together with a strong history of volunteer community leadership,” says Board President Sharon Tirrell. “After a six-month search, we are excited to have found such a good match for the Literacy Council.”

Before moving to Henderson County, McGuire was the marketing manager for a global education foundation providing scholarship funds. Prior to that she was the Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce in Algonquin, Illinois. Other executive director positions include Friends of McHenry County Community College, Russian Leadership Ministries in Wheaton, Illinois and the Community Coalition in Rochester Hills, Michigan. She has a degree in business administration from William Tyndale College.

McGuire just completed an elected position as President of the Algonquin Area Public Library District, a post she held since 2014. She was Vice President of the Avondale School Board, which she served for five years. She is finishing a term as Board President of GiGi’s Playhouse, a Down Syndrome achievement center. She also served six years and as president of the board of a therapeutic riding program.

McGuire and her husband relocated to the Mills River area to be near aging parents on both sides of the family. It is where they hope to retire eventually.  They are parents of three adult children.

“I have a special affinity for the work of the Literacy Council,” McGuire told the staff when she met them for the first time recently. “My family didn’t speak English when I was growing up. There were no ESL programs. We had to learn on our own. I look forward to working with you to expand the variety of literacy opportunities in Henderson and Transylvania Counties that help people have economic and social success.”

Blue Ridge Literacy Council offers tutoring programs for adults who need to improve basic literacy or learn English to secure employment. The Family Literacy Program in partnership with Henderson County Public Schools, helps Latino families prepare preschool children for kindergarten. The Youth Literacy Program helps adjudicated teens succeed in school. Medical and digital literacy programs are designed to help seniors navigate Medicare and access medical information on-line.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, most programs have been adapted to remote learning. There is a need for volunteer tutors who are comfortable using computers and able to do virtual tutoring.  Training is provided. To sign up for the next volunteer orientation session, call (828) 696-3811.

Position Announcement – October 2020

The Blue Ridge Literacy Council Hendersonville, North Carolina

Our Vision

A stronger community because literacy is highly valued.

Our Mission

We cultivate literacy skills that promote economic and social success.

The Organization

The Blue Ridge Literacy Council (BRLC) is seeking an experienced and passionate candidate to lead the organization as executive director (ED) and add to its exceptional 30-year history as an incorporated nonprofit.

The Blue Ridge Literacy Council teaches Adult Basic Education and English Language Acquisition in the context of student goals including familial, professional, HSE, and citizenship through individual and small group instruction provided by trained volunteers. In addition, BRLC offers programming to at-risk youth, families, and Seniors. Students gain self-confidence and develop self-sufficiency to transform their lives as individuals, parents, students, workers, and citizens.

BRLC, an incorporated non-profit organization serving Henderson and Transylvania Counties, provides highly individualized tutoring to fit the needs of over 300 students through the skilled talents of over 120 volunteers annually. It is governed by a 15-member board of directors and is staffed by five, including the ED, highly skilled professionals. Its current annual budget is $250,000.

The Position

The new ED must have proven and successful senior management experience, preferably as a leader in non-profit organizational development and fundraising, with the ability to oversee day- to-day operations, and the skill to work collaboratively with the board to guide the organization. The ED must also be a skilled communicator, with marketing and branding skills, and preferably have established relationships in Henderson and Transylvania Counties including government officials and community leaders.

Organizational Priorities

The highest priorities for the new executive director, the board, and the staff over the next 12 to 18 months are:

  • Continue to expand and diversify funding sources with a focus on maintaining grant revenue, increasing individual, faith-based, business, endowment and foundation giving; and planning and implementing special events.
  • Continue to fulfill BRLC’s goals as identified in its Strategic Plan.
  • Continue to support and strengthen BRLC’s commitment to program quality and to its staff, volunteers, tutors, and students.
  • Continue to grow the strength of the board leadership through strong communication, active recruitment, and integration and training of dedicated board members. Work with individual board members to maximize their involvement and maintain strong working relationships.
  • Continue to develop community connections and build awareness of BRLC and its services and successes.

Ongoing Responsibilities

1. Vision, Mission, and Strategies

Work closely with the board and staff to translate the Literacy Council’s mission and vision into clear strategic directions, goals, and initiatives.

2. Accomplishment of Management and Programmatic Objectives

Oversee operational and program objectives that support the organization’s strategic goals and lead the staff in their successful implementation.

3. Fundraising and Resource Development

In partnership with the board, develop and implement appropriate and diversified fundraising and financial development strategies.

4. Fiscal Management

Create and manage a balanced budget, and various financial and fiscal reports. Ensure that income is managed wisely and that BRLC’s goals serve as the basis for sound financial planning. Ensure that systems and staff are in place to accurately monitor, assess, and manage the financial health of the organization.

5. Human Resources Management

Foster and maintain a strong staff built on teamwork and collaborative decision-making in a positive and empowering environment. Oversee staff development activities that build leadership skills and motivate performance. Ensure adherence to the personnel policies in all hiring and employment practices. Continue the training, support, and recognition of BRLC’s tutors, volunteers, and students.

6. External Liaison and Public Image

Serve as primary spokesperson and public face for BRLC, representing it locally and regionally. Continue BRLC’s marketing and branding efforts. Develop dynamic working relationships with diverse constituencies, including government, education and non-profit groups that support the work of the Literacy Council.

Required Qualifications

  • A history of leadership and management success in the non-profit sector
  • At least three years of experience in senior management
  • Strong fundraising and relationship building skills with proven experience in foundation, government, business, faith-based, endowment and individual giving. Experience with the Benevon Model and Planned Giving preferred.
  • Skilled in financial management of a nonprofit including budgets, reports, Form 990 and daily operations
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills, strong interpersonal and public speaking skills, and experience with diverse populations and multiple constituencies
  • Collaborative leader with an exceptional ability to foster a spirit of cooperation with external partners and among board members and staff
  • Demonstrated ability to work with and facilitate strong board development and leadership
  • An innovative problem solver, flexible and capable of adapting to changing priorities
  • A visionary leader with strong strategic thinking, organizational development, and planning skills
  • Strong organizational and time management skills
  • Staff and volunteer management experience
  • A working knowledge of web research and office technology including Windows, Office 365 applications, Network for Good, Salesforce, social media/Facebook and other technology-based programs and systems
  • A demonstrated commitment to a strong culture of teamwork and staff development
  • Bachelor’s Degree

Preferred Qualifications

  • Background in adult literacy or human services organizational leadership
  • Marketing and PR experience
  • Bilingual skills
  • An advanced degree
  • CFRE


  • The salary range is $56-$60K. The Blue Ridge Literacy Council also offers a flexible work environment, 12 paid annual holidays, a generous PTO plan, health insurance and life insurance.

Application Process

To apply, please send a cover letter and resume via email to the Search Committee at No phone calls please.

Application Deadline: October 19, 2020.  

For more information about The Blue Ridge Literacy Council, please visit

BRLC is an equal opportunity employer. All applicants will be considered for employment without attention to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran or disability status.

Join in the fun, answer the riddle below and enter the contest!

All correct entries will be placed in a drawing to receive a gift basket with an autographed "Miss Julia inherits A Mess"  by Ann B. Ross A New York Times Best Seller, items from Gaia Herbs, and a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card!

*Winner will be notified on 10/3/19.


"Walk to me and look closely

A hidden Epitaph in memory

it's not as hard as you may think

please take a guess,

what do you see?" 

ANSWER:The epitaph can be found on the front of the bear’s coat: TPB for Theodore P Brusick and LHB for Lillian H Brusick.


CLICK HERE to submit your guess!

*One entry per household. Last day to enter is 10/1/19.


Alphabetta Bear was painted by Wendy Brusick in memory of Theodore and Lillian Brusick, lovers of literacy and life-long learning. Alphabetta says, “Never stop learning!”


Help keep Alphabetta Strong! Attend a MISSION MONDAY and learn how you can become a VOLUNTEER TUTOR with Blue Ridge Literacy Council! 

Be sure to come to the Bear Auction on October 19, 2019 at the Historic Courthouse on Main Street.  

Bidder registration and live music begins at 3:00 pm.  Live Auction beginning at 5:00 pm.

CLICK HERE to view us (#16) on the brochure!

EmployED transforms lives through improved literacy and English language acquisition by providing individuals with the skills needed to be independent adults and/or acquire self-sustaining employment. Each student is provided free tutoring by a compassionate volunteer in a one-on-one or small group environment. Here is a student's story in his own words. 

Students' goals could include, but are not limited to:

  • obtaining employment, a raise, or promotion
  • pursuing post-secondary education
  • earning professional certifications
  • gaining independent living
  • receiving a High School Equivalency Certificate

The following technology tools and programs are available through Blue Ridge Literacy Council:

  • Laptops and desktop computers are available in our office and study rooms
  • Laptop available for tutors/students to use at the main branch of the Henderson County Public Library
  • Lexia - a computer based reading program students can use from home or on BRLC laptops
  • Wordly Wise - a computer based reading program students can use from home or on BRLC laptops
  • Math Coach - a computer based math program students can use from home or on BRLC laptops
  • Annual technology training for tutors
  • Technology class for students

The Blue Ridge Literacy Council 2018- 2021 Strategic Plan was approved on July 23, 2018 by its Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is recognized for their hard work during this process.

Melinda Whitmire, Board President
Keith Johnson, Vice President
Vincent Pizzo, Treasurer
Nancy Keswani, Secretary

Octavia Dunbar
Jill Hart
Betsy Kelsey
Peg Price
Donnie Parks
Tim Putnam
Diane Skillman
Sharon Tirrell
Autumn Weil, Ex-Officio

The following past Board members, volunteers, and staff are also recognized for their involvement in this important process:

2017-2018 Board Members:
Connie Backlund
Rickey Parker, Immediate Past-President
Barbara Wilcox

Sheila Grapes
Dawn Keller
Kathryn Rogers

Autumn Weil, Executive Director
Jan Lanier, Lead Program Coordinator
Amber Hollinger, Adult Basic Education Coordinator
Sarah Staggs, Part-time Administrative Assistant
Kyra Kinnaman, AmeriCorps Member

Lastly, we could not have completed this thorough multi-year planning process without the consulting and financial support of WNC Nonprofit Pathways and the Community Foundation of WNC.