Gaston Literacy Council Staff
Linda McConnell, Executive Director, joined GLC in 2017, after a “long” career with the State of NC, including 23 years as Pre-K Director for Gaston County Schools. She is a graduate of NC State, and completed a graduate degree at Univ. of Tennessee – Knoxville.
Linda recognizes the importance of quality education and its role in personal success and the vitality of our community. She is proud to be a part of the legacy of GLC and celebrates the diversity of both students and staff at GLC.
In her “spare time,” rather an oxymoron when describing Linda, she keeps busy running and walking, hiking, kayaking, reading, baking (and eating!), NFL football, and enjoys traveling anywhere, especially the NC mountains! One of her proudest moments is completion of a full marathon in 2014! She is “Mom” to Mollie and Patrick, and grandmother to Lucas, Liam, and Maggie. Linda attends First United Methodist Church and is a member of the Rotary Club of Gastonia.
Kelly Link is Assistant Director of GLC and a long-time instructor. She has over 20 years of experience working in Adult Education and Literacy.
Kelly began as an Adult Education instructor at Gaston College before coming to GLC in 2005. She initially came to GLC to coordinate the English as a Second Language (ESL) program. Later she began overseeing the Adult Basic Education program in addition to the English as a Second Language programs. Kelly continues to oversee all programs and compliance.
Kelly has a BA from East Carolina University and a MA from UNC Charlotte. She is a native of Lincoln County and loves all outdoor activities. She regularly keeps herself busy on her family’s farm tending to a vineyard and a menagerie of animals.
Donna Watson, Lead ESL Instructor, joined GLC in 2012 and has over thirteen (13) years experience in adult education.
Donna graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from UNC Charlotte. She is a former employee of Gaston County Schools where she held several positions. As a Parent Specialist, Donna earned national recognition for planning successful parent involvement events in the community. During this time, she also volunteered with GLC as a reading tutor.
Prior to joining GLC, Donna taught reading in the Adult Basic Education department of Gaston College. Her passion is helping lower leveled students achieve level gains. She loves to see their enjoyment and excitement of learning English, and see their fears of a new language transform into a new self-confidence!
Donna enjoys dancing, history, documentaries, traveling and serving in her church’s missionary department.
Elizabeth is an Adult Education Instructor at Gaston Literacy Council. She began her involvement with GLC while working as a volunteer in 2017, and quickly became a favorite of the students.
Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and a Master of Teaching in Foreign Language Education from the University of Virginia. While pursuing her degrees, she studied abroad in Valencia, Spain. After teaching Spanish for the Clover School District, Elizabeth completed an endorsement to her Master’s Degree in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) through the College of Charleston.
When she is not working to serve her community as a sustainer of the Junior League of Gaston County or as a member of the Next Gen giving circle of Gaston Community Foundation, she enjoys essential oils, reading, tennis, and spending time with her husband and two boys in Gastonia.
Delta Sanders, our Funds Development Coordinator, has a passion for purpose! A veteran non-profit professional, she has worked for several local and nationally-affiliated organizations. She has been equally active as a volunteer who shares her time and skills in numerous capacities. She is co-founder and current Board Chair of Elements of Empowerment, Inc.
Her dedicated community service earned her the 2014 Belmont Citizen of the Year Award and the 2018 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award. She joined Gaston Literacy Council, Inc. in 2017. Delta is delighted to use her non-profit experience and energy at Gaston Literacy Council, Inc.
Her pastimes are movies, reading and learning new things. Delta has the love and support of husband Gene and daughters, Diamond and Tuscany.
Dawn Johnson, Intake/Eligibility Specialist, has been with Gaston Literacy Council since August, 2019. She loves learning and is a graduate of Gaston College with certification in Early Childhood Credentials, The Art Institute of Charlotte with certification in Digital Design, Charlotte Coach Trainer Academy with certification as a Certified Life Coach, and Henderson Christian Ministries with a Bachelor in Christian Ministry.
Dawn has been involved in educational endeavors for over 30 years. She has worked in both Gaston County and Mecklenburg County schools and has experience in elementary, middle, and high school. She has served as the site director for the Youth of Destiny Enrichment Program for 5 years. Dawn has also been involved in our community by serving on the NAACP, Progressive Coalition and other organizations.
With a passion for serving others, Dawn believes that building one’s self-esteem will help them achieve his/her goals. She is very enthusiastic about making a difference in her community while at the Literacy Council.
Annie Anthony, Co-Coordinator of Reading Soul Mates, first started working with Gaston Literacy Council as a Reading Soul Mates volunteer in 2017. She loved the experience, the students, as well as the philosophy and happily joined the GLC staff in 2019.
Annie enjoys recruiting and training volunteers to provide the encouragement and motivation needed to enhance the literacy skills and self-esteem of second grade students here in Gaston County.
Annie graduated with a BA in Psychology from Belmont Abbey College. She is a mother to three wonderful children and has spent over twenty years volunteering in various capacities throughout the community. When not promoting children’s literacy or spending time with family, Annie can be found reading, walking, or cooking.
GLC was fortunate to “find” Merry Deely in 2018 and as Co-Coordinator of the Reading Soul Mates Program, she is an integral part of Gaston Literacy Council.
Merry is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in Early Childhood Education. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education from UNC Charlotte. She has been involved in some form of Education for over 25 years. She was a classroom teacher with Gaston County Schools for 11 years, with her most recent year at Belmont Central Elementary teaching 4th grade.
Merry took several years off to raise her children and during that time she worked as a part time substitute teacher and ran a Horseback Riding Lesson and Camp program on her family farm, combining her two loves of children and horses!!
Merry enjoys yoga, hiking, riding horses with her identical twin sister and spending time with dear friends and her very loving family!
2021-2022 Board of Directors
Kathleen Boyce, Chair
Mary Massey, Vice Chair
Roger Rizk, Secretary
Chris Mills, Treasurer
David Poston, Immediate Past Chair
Donyel Barber, Kintegra
Mary Robin Bell, Retired
Marianna Davis, Retired Educator
Angela Harris, Kelbry Properties
Christa Heilig, Community Volunteer
Caroline Hobson, Community Volunteer
Donna Lockett, Gaston Together
Laurel Morris, Retired Library Professional
Dan Moser, Mann+Hummel
Lucille Rinehart, Community Volunteer
Jason Shoemaker, Mullen, Holland & Cooper, PA
Susan Stacey, Retired Educator
Beth Stanforth, Retired Optician
Andrea Stephens, Gaston County Schools
Pauline Styers, Community Volunteer
Regina Taylor, Attorney