Board & Staff

Literacy Action Staff

Dana Venhaus

Dana Venhaus

Executive Director

Dana grew up in Arkansas and attended public schools, graduating from Little Rock Central High School. She did her undergraduate and graduate work at UA Little Rock in Psychology and Public Administration, respectively. Dana has been involved with program development, special events planning, and volunteer management throughout her career in both the public and private arenas.  She has held positions at UA-Little Rock, UAMS, and with the Arkansas Extended Learning Center (AELC), a private community enrichment and special events management company she founded in 1999.  She has a daughter, Tyler,  who lives in San Francisco, CA and four-legged kids that live with her in Little Rock. Dana loves spending time with family and friends, reading, cooking, boating, walks in the woods, and supporting local causes.
Laura Latch

Laura Latch

Program Director - ESL

Laura was born and raised in central Arkansas, and now lives in Conway. She began working as a volunteer ESL tutor with Literacy Action in 2018 when she led our St. Joe’s ESL class, and tutored individual students. She has a degree from the University of Central Arkansas in English & TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages).  

Laura divides her time as Program Director between the Little Rock and Conway offices, and can assist students and tutors in both areas. She is very passionate about helping students with their literacy needs.

In her free time, Laura loves spending time with her husband Adam, their daughter Allie, and the family dog, Pinky. 

Sarah Standridge

Sarah Standridge

Program Director - ABL

Sarah grew up in northwest Arkansas and received a B.A. degree in English from the University of Arkansas. After working in the corporate world, she began tutoring at the Ozark Literacy Council in Fayetteville and went on to work there as an ESL teacher. Following her family’s move to Little Rock, Sarah spent years working and volunteering with children. She received her M.A. degree in teaching from the University of Central Arkansas, with special training in ESL, in 2013. Before joining Literacy Action, Sarah worked as an instructor in the Intensive English Language Program at UA Little Rock. In her free time, Sarah loves to read, hike, plant things, and spend time birdwatching and cloudwatching on her deck.

Tonya McNair

Tonya McNair

Administrative Assistant

Tonya was raised in Arkansas and loves this state. After a Catholic education, she attended the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, graduating with a degree in Business Administration. She began working as a claims adjuster before being hired by Merrill Lynch as their first female securities broker in the southeast United States. She trained on Wall Street in New York City with the only two other women, plus 84 men from around the world. 

Tonya has always loved helping people. She worked for many years as a volunteer coordinator for the American Red Cross. Now, she enjoys assisting Literacy Action’s tutors and students, both citizens and immigrants, who are eager to learn or enhance their English language skills. Some true-life miracles happen at “Literacy” because of the awesome, skilled, and kind people and tutors with whom Tonya is honored to work.
Tonya has two grown sons and lives in the leafy village of Hillcrest in Little Rock, where she works as a professional abstract artist.

 

Irma Jaime

Irma Jaime

AmeriCorps Member - Arkansas Reads Tutor

Irma has been an AmeriCorps member volunteering at Literacy Action in Little Rock for three years. She tutors both ESL and ABL students. She says it is amazing to see learners increase their literacy level, learn to read, or learn English.

Irma spent most of her life in San Diego, California. After she retired, she moved to Little Rock to be near her daughter. She loves the small city atmosphere and doesn’t miss the hustle and bustle of the big city.  

Roger Hawkins

Roger Hawkins

AmeriCorps Member - Arkansas Reads Tutor

Roger is excited to be part of Americorps with LACA in Little Rock.  He is also presently a coach and educator for retirement-aged adults.  He has a Masters in Education from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA.  Roger says that his commitment to empower children and adults to be the best persons that they already are has manifested in lots of different ways over the years. He has taught children in the classroom and tutored English for many years.  He has coached marginalized adults to access community workforce and wellness services. A professional stage actor and director, he also ran school drama program. Eight years ago, Roger and his wife moved to Little Rock from Delaware. He is very happy to be here where he gardens and gets to just hang out with Hope, his wife, and love life.

Neely Caudle

Neely Caudle

AmeriCorps Member - Arkansas Reads Tutor

Neely is serving with Americorps in Conway for the first time this year, and is loving her time so far! She enjoys getting to know her students on a deeper level and is thrilled to see them progress in their reading and writing skills. She tutors ABL and ESL students in classes and one-on-one tutoring sessions. After graduating with a BFA in 2021, Neely has returned to her hometown of Conway, Arkansas to be with family and is so happy to be a part of Literacy Action’s mission to teach literacy skills to adults!

Hawke Davidson

Hawke Davidson

AmeriCorps Member - Arkansas Reads Tutor

Hawke is an AmeriCorps member service at Literacy Action beginning in 2021. Hawke graduated from UCA in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in linguistics. They tutor ESL students through the Conway location of Literacy Action. They love connecting with students and watching them grow in their confidence as they learn English. 

Hawke is a lifetime resident of Arkansas, originally from Greers Ferry. Hawke enjoys birdwatching, being outdoors, reading, and spending afternoons sipping coffee at local coffee shops.

Board of Directors 2021-2022

Daveante Jones | President

David Monteith | Vice President

Rose Merry Kirkpatrick | Secretary

Bill Foster | Treasurer

Zachary Riley

Caley Hawkins

Tish DePriest

April Phillips-Perry

Sherry Owen

Elisabeth Owen

Karin Bara

Mary Waldo – Past President