The Philadelphia Adult Literacy Alliance (PALA) supports efforts that advance the cause of adult literacy in Philadelphia. The alliance encourages connectedness and resource sharing among adult education providers and relevant stakeholders.
Currently, the alliance has over 200 members who represent more than 80 agencies that serve adult learners in Philadelphia. Alliance members are administrators, instructors, and volunteers that deliver workforce development and literacy services throughout the Philadelphia region.
Tara Mullen – ChairMs. Mullen is the Executive Director of JEVS hireAbility and Workforce Development at JEVS Human Services. She holds a Master’s Degree in Education from Temple University and has over 15 years of experience working in collaboration with non-profit agencies serving Philadelphia’s most exciting populations of young people and persons with a disability. In her current role, Ms. Mullen oversees all JEVS disability employment programs as well as JEVS out-of-school youth programs breaking down silo’s within JEVS Human Services. Tara believes adult education is the key to providing opportunities for all Philadelphian’s to become self-sufficient and successful.
Amy Ballard – Vice ChairAmy Ballard has worked with adult education programs since 2013. She holds a Master of Education from Eastern University with a focus on adult literacy and TESOL. Amy currently coordinates programming for The Helms Academy, a high school equivalency program situated on Drexel University’s campus in West Philadelphia. Prior to this, Amy taught ESL and English Composition at Mercer County Community College, instructed ESL courses and wrote curriculum for Kings Education at Rider University, and taught English with Kaplan International Philadelphia. Amy actively contributes professionally to the field of adult education through conference presentations and articles. She co-authored the document “Trauma-Informed Practices for Online Learning Spaces” to inspire and support educators and other professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marcus Hall – TreasurerMarcus Hall has worked in the education field since 2009. Starting as the youngest deputy director in the history of the NYC Department of Education, Marcus returned home to Philadelphia in 2012 to serve as a Teach for America Greater Philadelphia Corp member. Marcus entered the adult education space in 2014 and joined the staff of Community Learning Center in 2016. Marcus serves as Workforce Development Manager and Instructor for Community Learning Center, where he is responsible for supporting instructors that contract with partner organizations and works to establish relationships with corporate and industry partners to provide employment and post-secondary transitional options for students. Alongside his full time duties, Marcus currently serves as Secretary of the City of Philadelphia MacArthur Safety and Justice Challenge Community Advisory Committee. Marcus is also a published contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer and formerly Philadelphia Public School Notebook. Marcus earned his B.A. from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, Elementary Education Certificate from the University of Pennsylvania and has an MBA in Data Analytics from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA. In January 2019, Marcus launched Haven Philly, which is the only board game rentals service in Philadelphia.
Jillian Gierke Media and Comms CommitteeSince 2007, Jillian has been teaching students Spanish, English, and Technology in Philadelphia. She started her career teaching high school students at Science Leadership Academy, a project-based, 1:1 laptop school, where she developed her passion for the use of technology in the classroom. Currently, Jillian is the Director of Programs at the Garces Foundation where she is in charge of two programs: English for the Restaurant and Everyday Living, an adult ESL and workforce development program, and the Garces Food Pantry, a weekly distribution of fresh food boxes. She is especially committed to teaching her learners digital literacy skills, especially for the purpose of online learning. In addition, she mentors graduate students from the TESOL program at the University of Pennsylvania, and she is a certified health and wellness coach. Jillian has a BA in Spanish from DePauw University and a MAT in Spanish from Indiana University.
Dawn HannahBio coming soon
Anna LatshawBio coming soon
Jaelen Buxton-PunchBio coming soon
Catalina González Media & Comms CommitteeBio coming soon
Howard PinderBio coming soon
Kai Davis – Fundraising CommitteeKai Davis is the President and Founder of Pathway Forward. In 2012, Pathway Forward was established as a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization with the purpose of providing a comprehensive program that prepares and empowers individuals for leadership. As the founder, Mrs. Davis is committed to ensuring Pathway Forward serves the community with one on one individualized tutoring to grades K-12, Adult Basic Education, GED, Low-Literacy, ESL, Lifeskills, and mentorship workshops.
Mrs. Davis received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Grand Canyon University and her Master of Education from Concordia University with concentrations in Common Core Standards & English Language Learning. She will be graduating with a Doctorate of Education in Leadership from Concordia University in 2021.
Throughout her career in teaching, she has made positive contributions and affected change in the lives of many young people. She is driven to accomplish more on a larger scale, so the community will be positively impacted.
Cameo JonesBio coming soon