Alison S. Houser joined the Augustine Literacy Project as a tutor in 2012 and worked with a struggling reader at Sedgefield Elementary.  She hoped to change the trajectory of her student’s life but had no idea her own life would be changed in the process.  Alison was named Executive Director in August 2013 and is working with the ALP staff, tutors and board to accelerate growth of the organization.  Prior to Augustine, Alison was an active community volunteer, leading the Park Road Montessori (PRM) SchoolMates program, serving on the PRM School Leadership Team and participating in the CMS Higher Education Partnership Task Force, among other projects.  Alison’s prior professional experience was in higher education student affairs, working at the University of Virginia, the University of Maryland, and the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.  Alison earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English with a Minor in Sociology and a Master’s Degree in Social Foundations of Education from the University of Virginia. She lives in the Southpark area  with her husband and their two power-readers, Jack and Molly.  Bailey, the puppy, enjoys chewing books but does not read them.  Email: ahouser@alpcharlotte.org.


Paul Bernish joined ALP in March 2018 as Director of Development and Communications. A long-time communications professional, Paul started out as a journalist with The Wall Street Journal in Dallas, The Louisville Times, and the Charlotte Observer, where he covered state politics for five years. After a stint in Washington, D.C., Paul became Director of Public Relations for The Kroger Co. in Cincinnati from 1982-1998, after which he formed his own consulting firm. He has raised funds for a museum dedicated to the pre-Civil War Underground Railroad, a chamber orchestra and a public school for the arts in Cincinnati. holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from UNC-Chapel Hill and a Master’s in journalism-political science from the University of Wisconsin. He is a prolific writer and blogger with a keen interest in politics and the relationship between journalism and public relations.Paul is married, with four adult children and two grandchildren. His passion is reading non-fiction. Email: pbernish@alpcharlotte.org


JHJess Heath joined ALP in May 2012 as the administrative assistant. She left her career with Coca-Cola to stay at home with her growing family. Jess is the glue that holds ALP together! She spends her time managing ALP’s office, accounting and preparing for special projects and events. Jess loves working for ALP; she says, “Everyone at ALP, the staff, board and tutors, are such an inspiration. It is amazing to see the amount of dedication they selflessly devote to the students they work with.”  With two little readers at home, Jess knows the importance of reading and is honored to be a part of ALP’s mission to assist struggling readers that might otherwise not receive the help they need. Email: jheath@alpcharlotte.org.


EleanorEM Moore registered for tutor training after hearing Candace Armstrong’s presentation about ALP at her church in the summer of 2013.  A tutor at Montclaire Elementary, Eleanor has enjoyed working with the ESL students there, and has studied Spanish in an effort to better communicate with the students’ parents. Eleanor joined the ALP staff in August 2015 as a behind-the-scenes person, managing the database, website and social media, and helping with communications and events planning. Her corporate background in marketing, combined with her passion for ALP, made her a natural for this work, and she loves the shared commitment of the entire staff for its cause. Email: emoore@alpcharlotte.org.



Ellen Babb joined ALP as a tutor in the winter class of 2015.   After more than 25 years working in financial institutions she was ready for a change.  She was interested in literacy tutoring because she knows how critical literacy is as a tool to escape poverty.  The research-based approach to teaching tutors how to make the biggest impact made her an ALP cheerleader which led to her accepting the role of Site Coordinator in January 2017. Ellen graduated University of Phoenix with a BS in Accounting.  She has lived in Charlotte for 13 years with her husband, daughter, two dogs and a cat. Email: ebabb@alpcharlotte.org.



Anne Bayliss joined ALP as a tutor in September 2016.  After a career in public accounting and financial services, she was seeking volunteer opportunities when she heard about Augustine. Helping struggling readers master the essential life skill of Reading with the training, support, and people of Augustine, was the perfect fit.  Helping instill a love of reading is added reward.  “I have now experienced a struggling reader having the light come on as they sound or read a word for the first time. To see how excited they get and how good they feel about themselves is a wonderful thing.” Anne joined the ALP staff as a site coordinator in August 2018.  She is a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Email: abayliss@alpcharlotte.org.



Eleanor Hahn joined ALP as a tutor in 2011 and right away knew that Augustine was what she needed to make a bigger impact on the low income children she tutored in reading.  She joined the ALP staff as a Tutor Support Assistant in 2012, and is now a Site Coordinator. Eleanor graduated from Vanderbilt University with a BS in English and Elementary Education and has engaged in private tutoring, both volunteer and professional, for many years.  She also was a teacher assistant at Providence Day School for eleven years.  Eleanor’s passion lies in giving every child the opportunity to succeed in school, thereby creating hope for that child’s future. Email: ehahn@alpcharlotte.org.


Kelly Halmrast joined the ALP staff as a Site Coordinator in January of 2018.  “I have tutored students on a volunteer level for overtwenty years, but the ALP method is truly special.  It is my belief that the comprehensive training and support that tutors receive, along with the unique relationship that ALP tutors develop with their students, is the best recipe for success for struggling readers.”  Kelly took the training in the winter of 2015 and is currently tutoring at Bruns Academy.  She graduated from the University of South Carolina with an MA in Teaching with an English concentration. Kelly has lived in Charlotte for 25 years with her husband, three sons and two rescue pups. Email: khalmrast@alpcharlotte.org.


CKAfter experiencing the frustrations of parenting a struggling reader, Colleen Kopchick knew she wanted to help those who couldn’t afford to pay for private tutoring. She took the Augustine tutor training in the Fall of 2012 and has been working with Augustine students since. Colleen joined the ALP staff as a Site Coordinator in September 2015 and became Training Manager in Fall 2017. She completed Orton-Gillingham training through the Rankin Institute at The Fletcher School and is currently working on her practicum. She is a member of The Academy of Orton Gillingham Practitioners and Educators (AOGPE) and The International Dyslexia Association (IDA). Her favorite part of being a Site Coordinator is observing tutors and witnessing the incredible work they do with their students. Email: ckopchick@alpcharlotte.org.



Answering an outreach request at her church, Pam Ross enrolled in ALP training in 2013.  Since then, she has tutored students at Blythe and Winding Springs Elementary schools and served as a coach during new tutor training. She joined the ALP staff in August 2016 as a Site Coordinator.  “I just love this program.  The ALP training, support and materials give tutors the necessary tools to really help struggling readers.”  Pam’s commitment to literacy and outreach extends to her neighborhood as the steward of a Little Free Library located in her yard.  Pam lives with her husband in Davidson with their dog and two cats. Email: pross@alpcharlotte.org.


Melissa Vullo is thrilled to join the staff at ALP as the Operation Manager/Site Coordinator after having personally experienced the truth behind the motto, “Tutor one child.  Change two lives.”  Melissa began her education career as an elementary school teacher in West Springfield, MA.  After moving to Charlotte in 2007, she left teaching to stay home with her two daughters, Cece and Josie.  She took the ALP training in 2013.  Since then, she has been a tutor at Sedgefield and Huntingtowne Farms Elementary Schools.  She received her Master of Arts in Education in 2015 from Western Carolina University. Email: mvullo@alpcharlotte.org.


Alyssa Wood joined ALP as a tutor at Winding Springs Elementary in fall 2016. She is currently working on her Classroom Educator certification by the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators. She has a BFA and MFA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and taught at CPCC when she and her husband first moved to the area. She has served as a Board member for Clayworks and J.M. Alexander Middle School’s PTSA. She loves incorporating her passion for travel, nature, and visual art into her tutoring and was thrilled to join the ALP staff as a Site Coordinator in August 2018. Email: awood@alpcharlotte.org.

The ALP-Charlotte Board

Kelly Keeling – Chair

Valerie Roberts – Secretary

Koren Cranford – Treasurer

Jenny Beaumont

Sally Davis

Bonnie S. Fleming

Fannie Flono

Ivy Gill

Harris Holt

Des Keller

Kristin LaPrise

Anjali Markey

Michele Melchoir

Ambika Spinazzola

Tom Temple