Augustine Literacy Project of the Upstate

Executive Director

Sandi Smith Sandi Smith, Executive Director of the Augustine Literacy Project of the Upstate (ALP), brings a unique blend of passion, expertise, and leadership to her role. As an Orton-Gillingham tutor and a CERI-certified Structured Literacy Dyslexia Interventionist, Sandi has a proven track record of delivering high-quality literacy instruction and nurturing student achievement.

Sandi's extensive experience in education, technical project management, and non-profit management has equipped her with the skills to manage and lead with strategic guidance, ensuring alignment with the ALP mission and vision. Her experience as a tutor, trainer, board member, and Co-director of ALP has given her a comprehensive understanding of the organization's operations and a strong foundation for driving growth and success.

In her previous role as volunteer Co-director, Sandi advanced the growth of ALP's mission and vision, designing and delivering an innovative volunteer tutor training program that prioritized evidence-based literacy methods aligned with the Science of Reading. With expertise in the Orton-Gillingham approach and a passion for staying current on the latest research, Sandi crafted comprehensive curriculum and training materials, provided coaching support, and presented engaging training sessions. By facilitating innovation and excellence in literacy tutor training, Sandi played a vital role in shaping the future of ALP.

Sandi's personal connection to the mission is rooted in her experience as the mother of a dyslexic child, and she is dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty through literacy. With her combination of strengths in education, technical project management, and non-profit management expertise, Sandi is poised to lead ALP into a new era of growth and success. She is committed to ensuring that every student we serve receives the literacy support they need, and she is excited to lead the organization in its mission to provide high-quality literacy instruction to low-income, struggling readers in the Upstate.

Leadership Team

Shayla LarsenShayla Larsen, Tutor Resource Manager
Shayla is the first point of contact for tutors and trainees. She coordinates with hub schools and community centers to place tutors and works in the community to promote awareness of ALP and recruit new tutor trainees.

Ann CopelandAnn Copeland, Administrative Manager
Ann serves as webmaster, prepares training materials, and assists with training and tutor talks.

Tracie SeguraTracie Segura, Curriculum Director
Tracie creates a variety of resources for ALP tutors as well as training materials and presentations.

Denise RubyDenise Ruby, Chairperson of the Board
Denise coordinates our grant proposals and funding, public relations, and personnel management.

It's true, tutor one child, change two lives.

Board of Directors

Denise Ruby, Chairman

Denise RubyDenise Ruby is the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Augustine Literacy Project of the Upstate. She joined the Board and trained as a tutor in July 2015. She tutored for two years and was elected chair in 2018. Her professional background is in telecommunications working as a technical specialist and facilitator of training programs for AT&T and other client companies. As a working mother of two, she taught Sunday School, and was a leader in Girl Scouts for nine years and Cub Scouts for two years. Retired in 2021, she now has more time to grow the program which has survived the pandemic and is needed more than ever. Denise is focused on developing partnerships reaching further into the community, raising funds through grant applications and private appeals while staying current as a tutor to substitute, observe and coach the tutor base. Mentoring new volunteers continues to motivate her to make a difference, living the ALP motto "Tutor one child, Change two lives."

Susan Cruz, Vice-Chairman

Susan CruzSusan, an Augustine tutor since 2014, joined the Augustine board in late 2016. Her professional background is in large-scale construction management, budgeting, cost monitoring and scheduling execution. Retiring to Greenville from her position as Marriott International Senior Director in 2013, Susan is particularly pleased to have discovered Augustine. As a tutor, she is enthusiastic about the literacy skills growth she witnesses in her students. As a board member, she looks forward to helping Augustine advance and grow in the Upstate.

Kelly Harrison, Secretary

Kelly HarrisonKelly joined the Augustine board in 2017 and trained as a tutor in 2020. She has a BA in Early Childhood and Elementary Education, M.Ed. in Special Education, and Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction. Kelly is a professor of education at Converse College in Spartanburg, SC where she coordinates the Ed.S. program in Literacy and the M.Ed. in Advanced Studies with a literacy concentration. Kelly is the mother of two — Harrison and Maggie. They live in Roebuck, SC.

Bob Coffey, Treasurer

Bob CoffeyBob joined the board in the fall of 2016. He retired in early 2016 from Gordian, a company he co-founded in 1990 that specializes in data, software, and services for the construction industry. He has a bachelor's of landscape architecture, a master's of construction science and management, and a Ph.D. in planning, design and the built environment. He and his wife have four sons in college, one of which is dyslexic. He understands firsthand the challenges that a child can face when struggling with literacy skills and the transformation that occurs when that child receives the proper help.

Kate Franch

Kate FranchStarting with her mother's early admonitions that she really didn't have to stop to read everything that passed before her, Kate has always valued the gifts that literacy bestows. With a Master's in public administration and Bachelor's in special education, Kate has worked in the nonprofit world for most of her professional career, primarily in agencies focused on strengthening families and children. As a program coordinator in Raleigh, she used the power of story, through reading children's picture books in a group setting, to teach parenting and child abuse prevention skills. Kate currently works at Camperdown Academy as the Outreach and Grants Coordinator. She has completed Orton-Gillingham Associate Level coursework and looks forward to the opportunity to train and work as an ALP tutor. Kate joined the board in 2021.

Sara Mansbach *

Sara MansbachDr. Sara Currie Mansbach graduated from Boston University in Reading/Adult Education. Sara has taught in 3 colleges, developed libraries, and directed family literacy programs. For 11 recent consecutive years, she served as Literacy Chair for Haiti for Rotary Charities' Partners in Literacy Haiti developing community libraries and other early reading projects. She has written and received many grants and been honored with numerous civic and organizational awards. She believes strongly in the mission of Augustine Literacy Project of the Upstate and is honored to serve on its board.

Danielle Roland

Danielle RolandDanielle Howell Roland has a Bachelors in English and a Masters in Information and Library Science. She is a veteran teacher and has recently joined the Camperdown Academy staff. Danielle has spent her professional career looking for new and innovative ways to bring reading to life for struggling students. She is married with one son. Her journey to gather more information about how to help him find tools and strategies to meet his dyslexic needs led her to the Augustine Literacy Project. She believes that this method of instruction should be standard in all schools to help all students. Danielle enjoys reading past her bedtime, freezer meal cooking and Friday night movies and board games with her family. She has two dogs, two chickens and one hairless guinea pig.

* non-voting advisory member