Staff & Board of Directors
Our Team of Passionate Literacy Advocates
Meet our experienced team of literacy professionals who are passionate about improving literacy in our community. Discover the people behind our mission and learn how they are making a difference in the lives of others.
Grants & Communication Coordinator
Director of Tutoring
Development & Operations Manager
First Generation College Coordinator
LitNet Board of Directors
- Merle Duskin Kailas, President, MK Group Productions
- John Reynolds, Vice President, Retired, Designer/Craftsman, Entrepreneur, Business Consultant
- Camilo Manrique, Treasurer, Bane Care, Executive Director
- Leslie Murray, Clerk, Commercial Property Manager, Community Volunteer
- George R.Ambriz, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs/Director of SUCCESS, Berkshire Community College
- Pamela Breslin, Retired, Miss Hall’s School, Chair of Language Department
- Lynn Campana, Community Activist
- Catheryn Chacon, Smith, Watson & Company , Tax Accountant
- Lorena Dus, Berkshire Immigrant Center, Director of Client and Community Services
- Eric Federer, APRN, Retired
- Matthew Freitag, Lee Bank ,Vice President Financial Wellness
- Carole Hyatt, Retired
- Leslie Kozupsky, Retired,Development Officer
- Donna Morelli, Assistant Judicial Case Manager, Berkshire Probate and Family Court
- Lenore Sundberg, Editor, Museum Professional, Community Volunteer
- John Toole, CEO, Toole Insurance Agency
- Janice Toran, Retired, VP and Compliance Lawyer, Astellas Pharma, Inc.
Leigh DohertyExecutive Director
Previously a LitNet board member, Leigh has been at the helm as LitNet’s Executive Director since June 2020. An experienced school administrator, Leigh has served as the Associate Head of School at Berkshire Country Day School, as the Lower School Director at the International School of Boston, and as the Lower School Head at Community Day Charter Public School in Lawrence, MA. Prior to that Leigh served as a Curriculum Coordinator at an two international schools, one in Belgium and the other in Namibia. She has also been a preschool, elementary and middle school teacher mainly in multilingual settings.
Leigh was named as an honoree by Berkshire Magazine in their 2021’s “Berkshire 25”. This recognition is bestowed on community members who have made “extraordinary contributions to our way of life” in the Berkshires. In 2023, Leigh was awarded the Executive Leadeship Award by the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires.
A Boston native, Leigh and her family moved to the Berkshires permanently when Leigh was in high school. As an adult, Leigh has spent many years living and working in Boston, in the Bay Area, as well as internationally (Namibia and Belgium) where she served as a teacher, curriculum coordinator, and teacher trainer on the international school circuit. Additionally, Leigh is a certified Executive Coach and has worked as a career, leadership, and team coach.
Leigh holds a Master of Arts in International School Leadership from Oxford Brookes University (UK), a Graduate Certificate in Executive Coaching, is a certified K-8 teacher, and has a Bachelor of Science in Human Services from Lesley University.
Amanda GiraccaExecutive Director
As LitNet’s Grants & Communications Coordinator, Amanda manages all aspects of LitNet’s grant writing, prospect research, and reporting. She keeps the community apprised of LitNet’s work by producing the organization’s monthly e-newsletter, writing press releases, and sharing LitNet stories and news in a variety of other ways. She is also a volunteer tutor.
Before joining LitNet in 2020, Amanda taught college writing as a professor in University at Albany’s Writing and Critical Inquiry Program. She has an MFA in nonfiction writing from the University of Pittsburgh. Her writing has been published in various magazines and literary journals, such as Virginia Quarterly Review, North American Review, Orion Magazine, and Sierra online, among others, and has three times been selected as “notable” in the Best American series.
Miguel SilvaDirector of Tutoring
In February 2021, Miguel came on board as our newly appointed Learner Liaison. In 2023, Miguel was promoted to be our Director of Tutoring.
Miguel possesses a professional certification in TOEFL (Teaching of English as a Foreign Language), training in TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Story Telling), and a certification in Medical Interpretation
Originally from Bogota, Colombia, Miguel loves languages and appreciates being able to share the gift of language and communication with people. Fluent in Spanish and English, Miguel is also proficient in Portuguese. His previous experience includes teaching Spanish at Berkshire Country Day School, at St. Joseph’s in Pittsfield, and as a long-term substitute teacher at Lee High School. Miguel also served as an interpreter of Individual Educational Plans (IEP) at the Muddy Brook Regional Elementary School in Great Barrington, MA.
Miguel came with his family to the US from Colombia at age 10 and has been here since. He is a graduate of Monument Mountain High School. A talented soccer player who was inducted into the Berkshire County Soccer Hall of Fame in 2014, he has coached for over 7 years. Miguel has been coaching the Monument Mountain Girls’ Varsity Soccer Team since the 2021 season.
Amy ChinDevelopment & Operations Manager
Amy has 30 years’ experience in database design and data analysis, creating database applications to store and manage essential information, setting up document filing systems on hard drives or in the Cloud, and offering personalized training on database systems. In addition, she has been a professional instructor at both corporate offices and college campuses in software from the Microsoft Office Suite to Social Media optimization for businesses.
Amy has an MBA from Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst, a BA in Music, and a BA in English, and is a certified facilitator. Prior to owning her own business, she has been on the cutting edge of an internet startup, facilitated a major corporate identity restructuring at a multi-national corporation, and worked in development at several nonprofits in the Berkshire region.
Originally from the New York metro area, Amy and her family currently live in Pittsfield, MA for the past 32 years and enjoy all the beauty and culture the Berkshires have to offer. Amy is heavily involved in community service and serves on the boards of directors of several local nonprofit organizations.
Deisy EscobarFirst Generation College Coordinator
Originally from Great Barrington, Deisy Escobar is LitNet’s First Generation Coordinator, August 2023. Previously a tutor at Litnet, Deisy has experience with community advocacy through her work with Railroad Street Youth Project as their Health Coalition Co-chair and Intern. She is also a Spanish Community Advisory Network (SCAN) advisor with the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center. While in high school, she was one of the Samya Rose Stumo Youth Leadership Category nominees from the Berkshire Nonprofit Awards. Deisy founded the New Day Club, a support group for immigrant and first-generation students with her school’s ESOL department. A first generation college student herself, Deisy is currently working toward obtaining her B.A. in Psychology, Deisy has also been co-hosting the award-winning bilingual radio show Mundo Latino on WTBR 89.7FM with her mom Martha Escobar for over four years.