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promoting literacy every day

Meet the staff members of the Literacy Council of Alaska. Their jobs deal with the programs, Bookstore, and LCA as a whole!
Mike isn't afraid of slowing down every once in a while to enjoy a good book, including a classic Curious George book!

Mike Kolasa, Executive Director
Mike began as the Executive Director in 2007. As director he is in charge of the overall direction of the literacy council and all LCA salmon BBQs. He came to LCA because literacy is an essential human service and foundation for community development. Prior to the Literacy Council Mike taught in Kijabe, Kenya, worked with Food for the Hungry International in Kenya, and finished an MA in Biblical Exegesis at Wheaton College.

Becky Magowan, Business Manager
"If you want to be happy for life, love what you do." -Mary Higgins Clark
Becky has been at the LCA since 1980 and handles all of the accounting, grants management, and reporting for the agency and bookstore. She also oversees the operation of Forget-Me-Not Books as a volunteer. After so many years, she continues to be impressed by the positive environment at the LCA and says that the focus is always to facilitate success, not just for the students, which is the primary goal, but for the volunteers and staff as well. Working in a used bookstore is like icing on a cake for Becky! Her favorite hobby is reading! She also enjoys papercrafts, gardening, yoga, hiking and dancing.

Paulette Rahm, Administrative Assistant
“Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”
Paulette began working at LCA in 2006 and has been busy answering the phone, directing people, answering questions, working with volunteers, working in the bookstore, scheduling, supporting the staff, and completing various other tasks. Her favorite things at LCA are people, the excellent work environment and being able to participate in changing people’s lives. Paulette came with her husband from the Seattle area in 2003 to work with a local church and world wide ministry. She is an ordained minister, an administrator and teacher. She is creative, with a unique sense of humor, and calls whatever she is involved in, her favorite hobby.

Heather Moritz, Bookstore Assistant
There's nothing like reading a good book that you can't put down!
Heather arrived in Fairbanks in April of 2008 and has volunteered at the Literacy Council of Alaska's secondhand bookstore, Forget-Me-Not Books since July of 2008.  She recently began service as an AmeriCorps Member by becoming a Bookstore Assistant in April 2009. Heather is originally from Texas and decided to venture to the Last Frontier for a change of scenery.  She primarily shelves books and prices the vintage books.  Heather has a wonderful sense of humor and enjoys LCA because she loves books!  Also, she thinks the people here are awesome and funny. In addition, working at the bookstore means Heather does not have to go out of her way to buy books.  They are at her fingertips and they are also low-priced, even better!  Heather loves glaciers, Fairbanks and Alaska in general.  When she is not working, Heather enjoys surfing the Internet, listening to music and reading (duh!).

Jackie Stormer, Book Recycling and Online Sales Coordinator
"I have always loved books and bookstores. Roald Dahl wrote a book called "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and when I get around books I feel a little bit like Charlie -- so many books, so little time. Working at the Literacy Council, surrounded by all these books, well, it's not chocolate, but it's darn close."
Jackie has volunteered at the Literacy Council since 2008, cleaning books and helping out in the bookstore. She stepped in as Book Recycling Coordinator early in 2011 and added online sales later that year. She moved to Fairbanks in 1975, earned her bachelor's degree from UAF and worked for 27 years in the UAF Marketing Department. She lives in Ester with her husband and daughter, along with a dog, two cats, a bunny and a LOT of books. She enjoys traveling, hiking, reading and learning new things, and is very happy to be a part of the dedicated staff at LCA.

Melanie Wells, Director of Adult Literacy
Melanie took over as Adult Programs Director in February, 2013. She had been
a volunteer ESL teacher since 2011 and discovered that, "Teaching makes my
heart sing; it makes me happy." She loves working with students from all
over the world.  She homeschooled her 2 now-grown daughters and also taught
English, very briefly, in Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand. Reading,
running and puttering around in her garden are her passions.  She has a B.A.
in Sociology from UCSB.  She has worked as a journalist and proofreader and
is thrilled to be part of the LCA team; surrounded by books, other cultures
and super-nice people.

Holly De Land, Adult Literacy Specialist
Holly is our Americorp volunteer working in Adult Programs, joined us in January of this year.  Holly is from Anchorage, where her parents own and operate a small window repair and replacement business.  She recently graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with a BA in Linguistics.  She spent over a year in Northern Thailand, attending a Discipleship Training School with the Christian organization YWAM, studying Thai language at a local university,  and serving with Partners Relief and Development, an non-profit working with ethnic groups from Burma.  Her favorite activities include any kind of outdoor recreation, learning Asian languages and cultures, and participating with her church here in Fairbanks.

Shauna Breeze, Birch Park ASP Coordinator
Shauna came to the Literacy Council of Alaska in 2011.  She directs the After School Program at Birch Park.  Shauna has an amazing gift working with children.  She has enjoyed working with dozens of youngsters who are growing and learning everyday at our ASP program.  Shauna has enjoyed field trips around town, gardening at Birch Park, sledding with the children, and attending the concerts some of our children put on at Denali Elementary!

Clara Miller, Birch Park ASP Assistant
Clara started working at LCA in the fall of 2013. Despite being a life-long book lover, her favorite part of the job will always be the amazing kids she gets to work with at Birch Park, by helping with homework, passing out food, building a milk jug igloo, and even teaching some of them how to knit.  She would like to thank the bookstore for forcing her to get creative with her book shelving at home, as she doesn’t have any more room using conventional book storing methods, and there’s no way she’s leaving these books behind.  “I’d rather learn from one bird how to sing, than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance.” -e. e. cummings

J.R. Tuel, Computer Recycling Technician
J.R. has been in the Fairbanks area for the last fifteen years. J.R. started at the Literacy Council  in 2010 as a volunteer in the computer recycling area.  J.R. finished up his Associates Degree in applied science and business at C.T.C.   He enjoys helping others learn new things about computers. J.R. has a gift with patience when it comes to helping his students learn how to use their computer.  JR moved from Milwaukie, Oregon to Fairbanks, Alaska and as he puts it " felt a great weight lifted as soon as I stepped off the plane here in Fairbanks.  It was a welcome home moment."

Denise LaClair, Forget-Me-Not Books
Denise started at the Literacy Council of Alaska as the manager of Forget-Me-Not Books in 2015. She was born and raised in Massachusetts and spent 22 years in the Air Force traveling the world.  After retirement from Eielson Air Force Base she joined the Literacy Council team. Denise spent so much time shopping at the bookstore she decided to volunteer and "make herself useful." After four years of volunteering she is excited to be managing the store!

Literacy Council of Alaska
517 Gaffney RoadFairbanks, Alaska  99701T: 907-456-6212F:
After falling in love with reading, Becky feels right at home in the Forget-Me-Not Books recycled bookstore, keeping everything organized.