About Us

 

Our Mission

Walworth County Literacy Council (WCLC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for residents of Walworth County by raising awareness of literacy needs in the community and by providing adult student-centered volunteer-delivered instruction.

 

Our Story

Walworth County Literacy Council (WCLC) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) volunteer-based organization governed by a board of directors and established in 2003 by Judy Stone, whose goal was to teach those in her community to read. Her inspiration and dedication to education caught on quickly; before she knew it, Judy had started a literacy council.

The Walworth County Job Center was instrumental in instituting this program into the community. WCLC is supported by grants, foundations and individual donations, and is a proud partner provider of United Way of Walworth County. WCLC operates under the guidelines of ProLiteracy America, the national organization of literacy councils and is a member of Wisconsin Literacy, Inc. and Coalition on Basic Adult Education (COABE).

Trained volunteer tutors teach one-on-one and small group classes of adults at libraries or virtually throughout Walworth County. WCLC offers flexibility in services with time, location and tutoring tailored to student needs ranging from beginner to advanced ability. Classes are also offered at the Walworth County Jail.

Adult students who reside in Walworth County and are 18 years of age or older are eligible for services at no charge.

 

Our Partners

WCLC has a long and trusted relationship with the communities it serves. The council is able to provide educational services thanks to our many partners, including:

Lakeshores Library System - WCLC tutors and students meet weekly in the 10 libraries that comprise the system. The library system grants space for tutoring, promotes WCLC via brochures and newsletters, and regularly refers new tutors or students.

Walworth County Jail – The jail supports WCLC tutors who provide weekly Adult Basic Education assistance to incarcerated individuals. Communication between the jail and WCLC is ongoing to ensure program quality and efficiency.

 

Walworth County Job Center - WCLC is housed within the Job Center, which allows for daily contact with staff and participation in the center’s operations. WCLC and Job Center regularly collaborate on adult education needs and referrals.

Gateway Technical College (GTC) – WCLC is located in the Walworth County Job Center office space within the GTC campus. WCLC and GTC staff regularly communicate to best serve student educational needs.

Walworth County Volunteer Services – Ongoing referrals from Walworth County Volunteer Services help WCLC match with volunteers who support our mission.

Awards and Recognition

Outstanding Teacher of the Year 2020

Brigette Kutschma

WCLC Board member and tutor

Awarded by Coalition on Adult Basic Education

Outstanding Volunteer Service 2019

Walworth County Jail Literacy Program

Recognized by

Walworth County Board Supervisors

Guest Presenter 2019

Walworth County Jail Literacy Program 

Wisconsin Technical College System Conference

Guest Presenter 2018

Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program

Literacy Advocate of the Year 2018

Judy Stone
WCLC Founder and Board member 

Awarded by Wisconsin Literacy

Eisenberg Award 2015

Walworth County Jail Literacy Program

Awarded by the State Public Defender Board

for outstanding efforts in empowering the disenfranchised through education

Student Demographics

Walworth County is a rural, diverse community with primary employment in hospitality and manufacturing industries. WCLC educates many unskilled workers who face serious literacy challenges and a significant number of educated individuals in need of professional level English language skills. 

The majority of students are at poverty level. As a result, lack of transportation is a considerable barrier for a large number of students. 

 

The adult student population ranges in age, gender and nationality. Walworth County Literacy Council has served individuals who have lived their entire lives in the county, and many others who have come here from across the world. 

Our Programs

Walworth County Literacy Council's goal is to be a one-stop service. Some students participate in more than one of our programs simultaneously:


Adult Basic Education (ABE) - Provide literacy support to individuals in reading, writing and math. 

English as a Second Language (ESL) - Support adults in their effort to speak, read and write English. 


U.S. Citizenship - Prepare individuals for the naturalization test and interview. 


General Education Degree Support (GED) - Prepare students for the GED examination. 


Walworth County Jail Literacy - Provide literacy opportunities in reading, writing and math. 

 

Our Staff

Lilly Barrett

Executive Director

Lilly volunteered as a tutor for WCLC and enjoyed it so much that she joined the council as a staff member. Lilly was born in Croatia and understands the challenges facing those learning a new language and those who need assistance in growing their literacy skills. She has a Bachelor’s in Psychology from University of Illinois at Chicago, a Master’s in Industrial Relations from Loyola University, and is a Certified Career Development Facilitator. Lilly’s background is in community and nonprofit program development. During her career, she has worked in occupational health, as a substitute teacher and for various human service organizations.

Diane Aschmann

Instructional Support Specialist

Diane has over 40 years of experience in both classroom and as building and district level administrator. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Eastern Michigan University, Master’s Degree in Education with an emphasis in reading at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and Master’s of Science in Educational Leadership from Cardinal Stritch College. English as a Second Language (ESL) was one of many curriculum programs that she managed during her tenure. Diane held the position of Director of Instruction for the East Troy School District for 12 years.

 

Our Board of Directors

Judy Stone

Founder

From Judy’s desire to teach one person to read and write, Walworth County Literacy Council (WCLC) has grown into an organization that has educated over 1,000 people since 2003. It is through Judy’s passion and efforts that Walworth County adults have access to free literacy resources. Judy has a Bachelor’s in Education from Eastern Illinois University and Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University. She taught middle school math throughout her career. A dedicated teacher, she has devoted her retirement years to directing the Walworth County Literacy Council.

Terry Schuerman

Board President, Training Specialist at Walworth County Job Center

Terry was raised on a dairy farm in Walworth County. She received her Bachelor’s in Spanish from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. She works as the Bilingual Employment and Training Specialist for Job Service, a bureau of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. Terry worked for FEMA, the Los Angeles Bar Association, Fair Housing and the Los Angeles School District. She lived in Mexico and traveled throughout Spain. She volunteers at Open Arms Free Clinic and is a member of the Environmental Justice Task Force for SEWRPC (Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission). Terry has been an asset to the Walworth County Literacy Council since its inception. Her Spanish skills, connection with community organizations and dedication to literacy education are invaluable.

Richard Goetsch

Driver’s Education Instructor, Racine County Literacy

Richard is a founding director of the Walworth County Literacy Council. He also volunteers as a Tax-Aide, providing low- and moderate- income taxpayers with assistance in filing their personal income taxes. He is a retired school superintendent, a 30-year member of the Lakeshores Library System Board, a 32-year member of the Town of Dover Planning Committee, a 4-H adult leader for 55 years and an Army veteran.

Brigette Kutschma

Immigration Attorney, Soberalski Immigration Law, West Allis

Brigette Kutschma

Brigette has been actively involved with the Walworth County Literacy Council since 2004.  She has served as a tutor and Program Coordinator, and has been a Board Member since 2010.  Additionally, Brigette taught adult English as a Second Language for five years, and was nationally recognized as the 2020 "Adult Educator of the Year" by Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE).  Literacy is a strong passion for her, and she applauds the tireless efforts of WCLC staff, volunteers and students in the community and jail.  

Deborah Hankel

Instructor, Adult Basic Education/English Language Learner at Gateway Technical College in Elkhorn

Debi has a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in teaching ESL and Bilingual Education. She has 29 years of experience teaching second language learners, including K-12 and adults. In the technical college system, she has taught ELL classes, TOEFL test prep, workplace ELL, and ELL support classes.

Josefina Sanchez 

Owner, Greenscapes Landscaping, Walworth, WI 

In 2012, knowing a little bit of English, Josefina started as a student with WCLC. With her improved English and encouragement by her tutor, Josefina has been tutoring WCLC beginner English students since 2015. She also transitioned from the classroom to the WCLC boardroom. Along with hard work and determination, Josefina and her husband attribute the success of their family business to better communication with customers, as well as learning about business practices which have grown their customer base. Josefina acknowledges that as a result of adult literacy, she has been able to help her three children with their schoolwork and communicate better with her children’s teachers. She serves as Chief of the Election Committee in Walworth.  

Terry M. Simmons

Dean, School of Protective and Human Services

Dean, Campus Affairs, Elkhorn Campus and Burlington Center

Gateway Technical College

Terry has over twenty years of post-secondary education. He has served as Special Assistant to the President, Vice President of Student Success; Dean of Student Support; Associate Dean of General Education and Academic Development; Minority Recruitment and Retention Specialist; Director of a Correctional Education College Program; Career Counselor; and as an instructor.  Terry has amassed years of experience in managing and supervising educational staff and faculty at all levels.  Terry holds a B.A. in Criminal Justice from Northern Michigan University, M.A. in Counselor Education from Northeastern Illinois University, Ed. S in Counselor Education from Northern Illinois University. Terry has been with Gateway Technical College for twenty - one years. Terry has served on several boards and currently serves on the Westosha Central High District School Board.

 
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WCLC Supporters

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With much gratitude to Tara Lovdahl for website design and Aaron Hurwitz (azcast@gmail.com) for website development.

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