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The History of Lee County LITERACY COALITION

In 1989, first lady Barbara Bush led an initiative for nationwide literacy causing many local community and civic leaders to begin a discourse about what they could do to help. Thomas Brawner was, at that time, the East Central Alabama Adult Education Program Director and became one of several key players in the formation of “Lee County Reading Program” which became Lee County LITERACY COALITION (LCLC). Thomas Brawner with the help of Thomas Worden, director of the Auburn University Reading Service Center, co-founded the organization.

Judith Peterson, the director of United Way of Lee County at that time, was interested in supporting an agency that would provide literacy tutoring for adults. With her encouragement, LCLC was incorporated as a non-profit and made its first allocation request in 1990. LCLC remains a United Way agency to date.


The first Board of Directors was comprised of:

  • President - Thomas Brawner

  • Vice President - Thomas Worden

  • Secretary - Brett Halverson (Auburn University)

  • Treasurer - Bett Callaway

  • Librarian - Margie Huffman (Auburn Public Library)

  • Librarian - Sammie Meadows (Cooper Library, Opelika)

  • Board appointment - Ron Tejeda (City of Auburn)

  • Board appointment - Mary Simon (Auburn Public Library)

  • Board appointment - Robert Shuman (City of Opelika)

  • Other major contributors to the organization and development of LCLC included:

  • Mike Golden, Skip Lanier, and Jerry Swarthout

The organization was initially directed by several AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers including Cathy Pagan, and Tracy Worden (Thomas Worden’s daughter). The first salaried Executive Director, Joyce Harris, was hired in the mid-nineties and served for a few years. The directors from that point are as follows:


  • 1998 – Patti Dake

  • 2001 – Patsy Thomas / Colleen Bastuscheck

  • 2006 – Jessica Nelson

  • 2007 – Patsy Thomas

  • 2008 – Debbie Jahera

  • 2010 – Sue Edge

  • 2017 – Stacie Money (Administrative Director) and Tina Tatum (Program Director)

  • 2018 - Dr. Shantarra H. Sewell, Executive Director

  • 2019 - Patricia Butts, Executive Director 

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