The Literacy Cooperative Staff

Robert Paponetti

Robert Paponetti

President & Chief Executive Officer

Robert E. Paponetti currently serves as the President & Chief Executive Officer of The Literacy Cooperative of Greater Cleveland. In this capacity, Mr. Paponetti leads an intermediary agency for literacy initiatives involving Adult Literacy and Career Pathways, Early Literacy, and Parent Engagement. He works to strengthen our community’s ability to increase literacy by engaging stakeholders, promoting promising practices, aligning actions, measuring progress, and advocating for sustained support of effective literacy efforts.

Major initiatives for adult literacy and workforce development include advancing the skills of low-literate adults through effective models of Career Pathway implementation in targeted growth sectors, supporting evidence-based workplace literacy projects, and blending contextualized literacy with vocational training. Early literacy initiatives address barriers to success for children, and support aligned activities for school readiness and parent engagement.  Professional development and technical assistance are provided for early literacy, adult education, and family literacy based on research-based and promising practices.

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Prior to joining The Literacy Cooperative, Mr. Paponetti served as the Vice President of Cuyahoga Community College’s Workforce and Economic Development Division and the Executive Director of the Workforce Solutions Division. In this capacity, he developed, implemented and directed a wide array of workforce preparation initiatives and training programs that supported regional economic growth. Mr. Paponetti incorporated innovative workplace literacy and contextualized learning components into the training curriculum that met the needs of the business community. Mr. Paponetti was the project manager of the Jobs For the Future-Breaking Through Initiative.

As the Director of Cuyahoga County’s Department of Workforce Development, Mr. Paponetti guided workforce preparation systems and skills upgrading activities for County residents. He also managed the County’s “One-Stop” which was recognized as the first certified center in Ohio to have multiple partners housed together providing all needed services for job seekers and employers. During this time, Mr. Paponetti was the Executive Director of the 35-member Cuyahoga County Workforce Investment Board that included many of the County’s business, education, and civic leaders.

Mr. Paponetti also served as a Director of Workforce Development for both CGI Group, Inc. and ORION Consulting where he designed and operated workforce training programs customized to meet the needs of employers combining both technical skills and workplace success skills.

Mr. Paponetti is a member of the Executive Council of the Ohio Workforce Coalition, the Literacy Funders Network Executive Committee, the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education, and the Commission on Adult Continuing Education. He served as a member of the United Way of Greater Cleveland Executive Committee and Board of Directors, Co-Chair of the United Way Self-Sufficiency and Basic Skills Investment Committee as well as the Ohio Skills Bank Healthcare Sub-Committee, and the Talent Team for the Fund For Our Economic Future.

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Laureen Atkins

Laureen Atkins

Director – Career Pathways Engagement

Laureen Atkins serves as the Director of Career Pathways Engagement for The Literacy Cooperative of Greater Cleveland. In her role, Ms. Atkins engages stakeholders to address adult literacy gaps, researches promising literacy practices that articulate seamlessly with workforce initiatives, and advocates for literacy inclusion practices with evidence-based measures for learner outcomes. She oversees our series of Professional Development offerings that focus on Excellent Teaching and Deep Learning among Literacy Practitioners, which bring together literacy experts with area practitioners and administrators.

Major initiatives for adult literacy and workforce development include advancing the skills of low-literate parents and adults through effective models of Career Pathway initiatives in targeted growth sectors, supporting evidence-based workplace literacy projects, and blending contextualized literacy with vocational training.

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Prior to joining The Literacy Cooperative, Laureen was a Social Program Administrator in the Office of Health & Human Services division of Cuyahoga County where she managed a $4.5 million federal grant. While at Cuyahoga County, she was Deputy Director of Workforce Development for six years and oversaw the operation of the Employment Connection One-Stop System with responsibilities including the merger of the Cuyahoga and Cleveland one-stop systems, evaluating and reviewing service delivery; monitoring compliance to federal and state regulations; and providing oversight for regional and multiple partner grant-funded projects. Ms. Atkins also worked for the Center of Career Pathway Development for Cuyahoga Community College’s Workforce and Economic Development Division where she managed the staff of literacy and workplace success skills programs. Her private sector work includes 13 years as a consultant and manager with CGI Information Systems and Management Consultants. In her role as Manager of workforce development programs, she obtained funding to implement and manage occupational training, workplace readiness, and job search programs. In addition, she worked with employers to develop supervisory and leadership programs and to conduct job analysis.

Ms. Atkins graduated Summa cum Laude from Myers University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration-Human Resource Management Specialization. In 2003, she was awarded the title “Adult Educator of the Year” by the Greater Cleveland Adult Education Council.

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Lynn Foran

Lynn Foran

Coordinator, Reach Out & Read Greater Cleveland

Lynn Foran serves as Coordinator of Reach Out & Read – Greater Cleveland. In her role, Lynn builds relationships with literacy stakeholders in Greater Cleveland to forge a holistic regional intervention which embodies the ideals of RORGC and The Literacy Cooperative. Lynn is responsible for maintaining and growing Reach Out & Read operations at clinics and physicians’ offices throughout Greater Cleveland. She ensures all sites have necessary resources and encourages sustainable practices.

Prior to joining The Literacy Cooperative, Lynn worked in several capacities at West Shore Career-Technical District including Career Development, Marketing, Public Relations, and Data Reporting. Lynn began her career with Procter & Gamble as a Systems Analyst implementing data-based selling and systems plan formulation across key customers throughout the Western US. Lynn shares her organizational and leadership skills through civic engagement. She is currently the chairperson of H2O – Help to Others’ Advisory Council, served as campaign chairperson for Lakewood Mayor Mike Summers’ 2015 re-election campaign, past-presidents of the Lakewood Public Library Foundation and the Lakewood Women’s Club. Lynn holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management Information Systems from James Madison University.

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Elizabeth Horrigan

Director, Resource Development

Elizabeth Horrigan serves as the Director of Resource Development for The Literacy Cooperative. In this role, Liz assists in diversifying the sources of contributed revenue and increasing the number of supporters to The Literacy Cooperative. Liz brings more than thirty years of experience in non-profit management and fundraising to this position and has consistently applied an entrepreneurial and creative approach to establishing and achieving fundraising goals throughout her career.

Elizabeth has worked in Cleveland’s non-profit sector in increasingly engaging positions at complex, multi-divisional institutions, as well as small to mid-sized organizations. The majority of her professional career has been in the development arena and has focused on increasing earned and contributed revenue by generating new donors. Liz has served in leadership positions at several well-known institutions around Greater Cleveland such as the Cleveland Play House, Cleveland State University, City Club of Cleveland, Beck Center for the Arts, Western Reserve Historical Society and Cleveland Music Settlement. She holds a BS in Applied Behavioral Science from George Williams College and a certificate in non-profit management from Case Western Reserve University.

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Joan Spoerl

Program Coodinator, Dolly Parton Imagination Library

Joan Spoerl serves as Program Coordinator of the Imagination Library. She works to expand the number of families enrolled in the communities in which the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program is currently available. In high school, she tutored adults at Milwaukee’s Laubach Literacy Center. This experience and her studies in public policy led her to the field of early childhood education. In Chicago, she taught kindergarten for 10 years in a National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accredited hospital-based child care center, Head Start and State Pre-K in the Chicago Public Schools and served as an adjunct faculty member at Oakton Community College. As a kindergarten teacher, she was honored as a finalist for the Kohl-McCormick Early Childhood Teaching Award and was chosen as the featured teacher in Voices for Illinois Children’s Start Early: Learning Begins at Birth prime-time television and radio advertising campaign. Click here to view this brief video.

Since moving to Northeast Ohio from Chicago, she has worked for the Shaker Family Center (now Family Connections), as a part-time naturalist at the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes, as a Community Educator for Beyond Pesticides Ohio and as a substitute teacher at local private and public schools. She has been an active volunteer in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights public schools, with the local affiliate of the NAEYC, with University of Chicago Alumni activities in various capacities including serving as a member of the University’s Alumni Board of Governors, President of the University of Chicago Alumni Club of Ohio and as a Trustee of the Summer on the Cuyahoga internship program.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in Public Policy Studies from the University of Chicago and her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development at Tufts University.

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Elaine Yeip

Elaine Yeip

Program Assistant

Elaine joined The Literacy Cooperative with more than 22 years of experience as a development professional and office manager. Her career began as a Campaign Associate with United Way of Greater Cleveland. She has worked with the Citizens League of Greater Cleveland and more recently with The City Club of Cleveland where she served as the Director of Development and supported the Student and Youth Forum Programs. In her current role, Elaine is involved with office operations, meeting schedules and arrangements, Board support, professional development publicity and maintaining the TLC website. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from John Carroll University.

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Christine Lee

Training & Communications Consultant

Christine has fifteen years of experience in adult education. She has worked as an ESOL instructor at the Jewish Community Center and Parma ABLE, as well as the Davidson County Adult Education Program in Nashville, Tennessee. Her prior work as a refugee resettlement case worker at Catholic Charities and her experience as an exchange student to Brazil strongly shaped her interest and commitment to serving non-English speakers. In addition to ESOL, Christine has worked over six years as an instructor, coordinator and trainer at Seeds of Literacy, a community-based adult education program that utilizes volunteer tutors. She has assisted hundreds of students in their efforts towards their GED and participated in the training and development of countless tutors.

Christine holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Latin American Studies from Kent State University. She is a certified Proliteracy trainer, a certified conflict resolution mediator, and an alumni of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.