Adult Learner Takes the Helm of National Coalition for Literacy
The staff and board of directors of ProLiteracy, the oldest and largest nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the cause of adult literacy, congratulate Marty Finsterbusch, executive director of VALUEUSA (Voice of Adult Learners United to Educate), on his appointment as the new president of the National Coalition for Literacy (NCL). ProLiteracy Vice President of Programs and Professional Services Jane Hugo has also been appointed to the NCL Board.
“For many years, staff at ProLiteracy have worked closely with Marty Finsterbusch, and we welcome him to the leadership of the NCL Board. His background and experience as an adult learner and in the adult literacy field will be extremely effective for raising awareness around this important issue and will highlight the importance of giving voice to adult learners,” says Peter Waite, executive vice president at ProLiteracy.
At an early age, Finsterbusch was diagnosed with severe learning disabilities, and as he grew older, he became actively engaged in educating people with special needs. He entered a local literacy program as an adult learner in 1984, became the student coordinator of the program in 1986, and subsequently served on its board for ten years. He went on to earn a degree in hotel-restaurant management, and for 17 years, he worked in food service at Villanova University, supervising a staff of 80 employees.
In 2001, Finsterbusch was appointed VALUEUSA's first executive director. VALUEUSA is the only national nonprofit adult literacy organization in the U.S. governed and operated by current and former literacy students. Under his leadership, the organization has developed and delivered leadership training throughout the U.S., conducted five biennial National Adult Learner Leadership Institutes, and achieved national prominence as the authority on learner involvement in adult literacy. In 2008, VALUEUSA launched its Social Change Initiative, which calls for the modernization and expansion of adult basic education in the U.S. to better serve our nation's 90 million low-literate adults.
Since 2000, he has served on Pennsylvania's Adult Basic and Literacy Education Interagency Coordinating Council, having been appointed by three governors. During his National Institute for Literacy Fellowship in 2000, he studied adult learner involvement in all 50 states. He has served on the governing boards of several national and state organizations, including the Student Coalition for Action in Literacy Education (SCALE), Laubach Literacy Action, and Pennsylvania's State Coalition for Literacy.