Turning Pages SC, a local nonprofit dedicated to adult literacy, has named Lisa Cole as its Executive Director. Serving as the Interim Executive Director since August 2022, Cole has played a pivotal role in revitalizing the organization and expanding its reach in the Midlands.
Cole’s journey with Turning Pages began as a board member in Spring 2021 when she sought new ways to contribute to her community. The nonprofit’s mission of improving literacy resonated with her, aligning with her passion for education and community development. While her academic background lies in business management and marketing (MBA), Cole’s hands-on experience spans education, nonprofits, indie publishing, and grassroots development.
Joining Turning Pages during the pandemic presented unique challenges. As Interim Executive Director, Cole led the organization through a comprehensive overhaul, rebuilding its internal systems, website, curriculum, and training programs, while establishing crucial policies. This transformative period allowed for a fresh start, unburdened by past constraints, turning a 55-year-old dying nonprofit into a dynamic, forward-looking entity.
Under Cole’s leadership, the organization achieved significant milestones, including the development of a new strategic plan, an expansion of the board from 5 to 15 members, acquisition of numerous grants, establishment of workshops, and forging of new partnerships with local agencies. A notable accomplishment is the recruitment and training of over 50 volunteer tutors across Richland and Lexington Counties.
Through technology and AI integration, Turning Pages SC has also become a more mobile, cloud-based organization for its volunteers. Automated processes have increased efficiency, allowing staff to focus on providing personalized support to tutors and learners.
Cole’s appointment as Executive Director reflects the board’s strategic goal set in October 2022 and a thorough subcommittee hiring process throughout 2023, culminating in the official offer in November 2023. “We are thrilled to have Lisa Cole continue with us as the official Executive Director of Turning Pages SC,” said Kara Cieri, Board Chair. “She brings a wealth of experience and passion to the organization. Under her leadership, we are optimistic about realizing our vision: A world where anyone can move up and ahead through the power of reading.”
Looking ahead, Cole envisions Turning Pages SC becoming a statewide model for adult literacy. The organization’s streamlined, metric-driven approach emphasizes efficiency, replicability, and sustainability. She aims to develop a support network for literacy councils across South Carolina and has already received interest from numerous groups wanting to replicate Turning Pages’ successful model.
Cole’s pride lies in the positive impact Turning Pages SC has had on the community, providing free tutoring and curriculum to adults with low literacy skills for over 55 years. The organization’s commitment to literacy is evident in the success stories of learners, with one individual improving their reading score by nearly two grade levels in just 24 weeks.
In her role as Executive Director, Lisa now aims to expand the organization’s capabilities, increase the number of learners served, and foster collaborations to further elevate literacy rates. She encourages community members to spread the word about Turning Pages SC, emphasizing the importance of referrals to reach those who may benefit from the organization’s services.
For more information about Turning Pages SC and its initiatives, visit turningpagessc.org.
Founded in 1968, Turning Pages SC has trained over 1,700 tutors and helped over 6,000 adults read better. Any adult who reads below a 9th grade level can receive over 50 hours of free, one-on-one tutoring annually plus curriculum.