Staff & Board of Directors
Executive Director - Gabrielle Moore
Gabrielle Moore, Learn's Executive Director, is passionate and dedicated to empowering individuals through language and literacy. With a degree in Cross-Cultural Adult Education, Gabrielle possesses a strong foundation in understanding the diverse needs of adult learners from various backgrounds. During her education, she has traveled to different countries where she has taught TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). This opportunity allowed her to immerse herself in new cultures, connect with students from different walks of life, and foster language acquisition and cultural understanding. Through her innovative teaching methods and empathetic approach, Gabrielle became an influential figure in her students' lives, inspiring them to overcome language barriers and embrace new opportunities.
Board of Directors
Current president Kayla graduated from James Madison University with a Bachelor of Arts in History and has a Masters of Library and Information Science from the University of South Carolina. She lives in Staunton and worked at the Staunton Public Library from 2012-2021. She now works at the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library in Charlottesville as the Collections and Technology Manager. Kayla joined the Board in 2021 and hopes to connect community members with valuable literacy resources.
Jane Steele has been involved with LEARN English since 2012 and is currently serving as vice president. Over seven years, she tutored five students in English as a Second Language and presented on health literacy to participants of the September 2015 tutor training.
Jane has been active with and served on the board of the Therapeutic Riding Association of Virginia for many years.
Licensed by the Virginia State Board of Medicine as a Physical Therapist Assistant with specialty certification in lymphedema management, she has over 30 years experience providing direct patient care for physical therapy and rehabilitation departments in a variety of settings. She was a project management specialist with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in Rockville, MD for 15 years and retired in 2016.
Nathaniel is currently serving as secretary. He joined the board in 2023.
Jessica Chenoweth has been the director of the Staunton/Augusta Adult Learning Center since 2016. The educational environment she has created at the Adult Learning Center provides support and offers positive encouragement and reinforcement to keep students focused and motivated. In 2021, she was named the Virginia Association for Adult and Continuing Education's (VAACE) Outstanding Leader of the year. Jessica received her B.A. in English from Fairmont State University, her M.A.Ed. in Elementary Education with an add-on minor in English as a Second Language from Jones International University, and in 2017 she obtained her Educational Specialist, Educational Leadership degree from Liberty University. Some of her favorite activities include reading, traveling, fishing, camping, and kayaking. Jessica joined the board in 2022 and serves as the Treasurer and chair of the Finance committee for LEARN English.
Sherry is a licensed clinical psychologist who moved to Staunton in 2020 from Richmond where she lived for 20+ years although originally is from Montana. Currently working at JMU on a grant to improve mental health for students transitioning out of high school, she formerly has been a faculty member and counseling psychologist at several Virginia colleges and universities. While living in Richmond she volunteered and worked at The READ Center, an adult literacy organization with a similar mission to LEARN English and Reading Now. She has a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Arizona State University, a master’s degree in educational psychology from the University of Tennessee, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. She enjoys reading, hiking, dancing and considers herself a life-long learner who enjoys being part of others’ educational and well-being journeys. Sherry joined the board in 2023.
An Augusta County native, Samantha attended Mary Baldwin University, majoring in Political Science and minoring in History and Asian Studies. During her time on campus, she worked as a tutor and study partner for MBU’s exchange students, sparking an interest in international education that has carried through to today. During her 15 year career in enrollment and education, Samantha has worked with international students both prior to their arrival on campus and during their time in the United States. In 2022, Samantha completed her MEd in Authentic Learning and Leadership through Mary Baldwin University and is currently the Director of Admissions for the university’s residential programs. Samantha joined the board in 2023.
Anne McGovern retired from Mary Baldwin University after 33 years teaching French language and literature. She directed the Vanderbilt-in-France program in Aix-en-Provence in 1985-1986, and after coming to Staunton directed the Doshisha Women’s College/Mary Baldwin Cultural Immersion program in 1991 and the Beverley Street Studio School Art Trip to Provence in 2000. She has a master’s degree in French from Stony Brook University and a doctorate from Vanderbilt University. Anne joined the board in 2023.
Dr. Roderic Owen was a faculty member at Mary Baldwin University (formerly College) for over forty years -- teaching applied and advanced ethics seminars, interdisciplinary honors courses, and Peace and Justice Studies to a diverse range of students. He served as the Chair of Philosophy and Religious Studies Department and as the Director of programs in both Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution and Leadership Studies. His doctorate is from the College of William and Mary, and his dissertation was focused on Models for Teaching Ethics at the Undergraduate Level.
Dr. Owen’s areas of philosophical research and publication have included: character education; interdisciplinary approaches to the teaching of ethics, debates and discourse on global justice and global citizenship, and the relationship between ethics and conflict resolution. He has been an active member of the APA, the regional Philosophy of Education Society, the Virginia Humanities Association, the Association for Ethics across the Curriculum, and the Peace and Justice Studies Association, and he has presented numerous papers at conferences held by these and other academic organizations. In May, 2021 Owen was honored to give MBU’s Commencement address and receive the Algernon Sydney Sullivan award. A week earlier he was the recipient of the Sankofa Ally Award (for those effectively reaching out in support of African American students, staff and faculty) and he was inducted into the Carpenter Society for his service to the Quest Interfaith program.
As native of Wales, Roderic was a founding Board member for the North American Association for the Study of Welsh History and Culture, and he has served on the City of Staunton School Board and as an elder in the Presbyterian tradition. In this context, he has regularly given talks related to interfaith understanding and focused on faith and current social justice issues. In retirement Dr. Owen continues to teach a course each semester, serve as a tutor with LEARN and joined the Board of Directors in 2023. He sings in two choirs (including a Welsh-American choral group), and he is President-elect of the North America Wales Foundation. He is married to Linda (a retired school counselor and teacher) and they have three adult sons and one beautiful grand-daughter.
Nadina was born in Bosnia & Herzegovina and emigrated to the US as a refugee with her family when she was 11 years old. Since they did not speak English, they had difficulties navigating their new surroundings so she has first hand experience at how important literacy is for our everyday lives. After graduating from Mary Baldwin University, she started working in the nonprofit sector. She currently works for United Way of Harrisonburg & Rockingham Co and People Helping People and lives in Grottoes with her husband and 18 month old son. Prior to having her son in 2020, Nadina was a LEARN English tutor for 2 years and is looking forward to serving the organization in a different capacity as a board member and as the Program committee chair.
Ron was born in Staunton and has always called it home. He graduated from Bridgewater College, double-majoring in Business Administration and Music. He is a member of the Staunton School Board, thoroughly enjoys working towards providing the best educational environment for children, and joined the LEARN English board in 2021. Active with many area organizations, he currently serves on the boards of Oak Grove Theater, Valley Children's Advocacy Center (president), and Building Bridges for the Greater Good ... is an elder at Covenant Presbyterian Church ... sings in his church choir and with Schola Cantorum in Waynesboro ... and volunteers with several other community organizations such as ShenanArts, the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and the Oak Grove Folk Music Festival.
John Gillies is a retired non-profit manager who has lived in August County since 1988. He had a 40+ year career in international development/foreign aid programs, including Peace Corps (Afghanistan), US foreign service (Honduras) and non-profit technical and management positions focused on education programs in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East. He has a Master's degree in Agricultural Economics and speaks Spanish and Dari.
Stephanie joined the Board in 2022 and serves on the Staunton School Board.