Meet The TLA Team

Ray Oglethorpe

Chairman of the Board and TLA Founder

“The Learning Alliance is committed to improving education for ALL children.  Knowing that literacy is the number one predictor of success and that nationally only 35% of third graders are reading proficiently motivates our work.  We know that third grade is the linchpin to success, because children learn to read until third grade and read to learn thereafter.  We call our goal of 90% literacy by third grade the Moonshot Moment. 

The Moonshot Moment goal has motivated action and started an unparalleled movement, but behind this goal is a PROMISE: A promise to our children, our schools and our community. There is no deadline on a promise – only a call for intensified commitment and action to ensure our children have the chance to succeed. The progress we have made motivates us to continue the work so we can make good on our promise!

I am proud to be part of a community of citizens here in Vero Beach who have joined the journey and who will help pave the way for other communities to do the same.”

Raymond J. Oglethorpe is currently President of Oglethorpe Investments LP, a private investment company, and has served on the Board of Trustees of The George Washington University, the Board of Governors of the Johns Hopkins Heart and Vascular Institute, and the boards of other educational, religious and corporate institutions. Mr. Oglethorpe served as President of America Online, Inc. from 1992 until his retirement in 2002.   Prior to that time, Mr. Oglethorpe held senior executive positions in engineering, sales and marketing at IBM and Harris Corporation. He currently resides in Vero Beach, Florida and Cordillera, Colorado, and holds a B.S.E.E. from the University of Arizona and an M.B.A. from The George Washington University.



CEO and Co-Founder
Barbara Hammond is one of the three original founders of the Learning Alliance. She has a B.A. in Economics from Williams College and a Masters in Public and Private Management from Yale University. Barbara was a former consultant with Bain and Company in Boston and The Director of Strategic Planning for Shawmut Corporation in Boston. She now resides in Vero Beach, and is the mother of two boys. Prior to co-founding The Learning Alliance, she served as Chairman of the Board of the Mental Health Association in Vero Beach where she spent 10 years developing their strategic planning and fundraising activities.


Chief Academic Officer and Co-Founder
Elizabeth Woody-Remington is one of the three original founders of the Learning Alliance. She has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Delaware and a Masters in Special Ed-Learning Disabilities from American University and is a former member of the Board of Directors for the International Dyslexia Association. She lives in Vero Beach, Florida, and is the mother of two boys who have struggled with LD issues.


COO and Director of Program Implementation
Liz Bahl has over 25 years of experience in a broad array of industries including bank marketing, public relations, financial software, and retail management. She joined The Learning Alliance in 2014 and has established leadership in all aspects of the organization, including fundraising, volunteer management, program design and implementation, data and documentation, and is currently the Chief Operating Officer. She holds a BA in Communications from Loyola University, New Orleans.



Director of Moonshot Academy
Debbi Arseneaux is an Educational Consultant and Teaching Artist with The Learning Alliance. She has been a teacher in the Washington DC Public School District and worked as a professional Theatre Director, Stage Manager, Producer and freelance Teaching Artist in the DC area for over 15 years. Specializing in arts integration, she believes in the power of the arts to reach and teach students of all ages.


Finance Administrator
Tricia Boyle joined The Learning Alliance as the Finance Administrator in November of 2015. Tricia has a B.S. in Finance from The University of Central Florida and is a Miami, Florida native who now resides in Vero Beach with her husband and two daughters.


Educational Consultant & SDIRC Liaison
Leslie Connelly is a certified educator in Elementary Education K-6 with a Master's in Educational Leadership. A team member of The Learning Alliance, she serves as an Educational Consultant and Liaison with the Indian River County School District. She is trained in Conscious Discipline, Wilson, Fundations, Backward Design, and many other researched based strategies. She is excited to be a part of the journey to reach our Moonshot Moment Goal of 90% of third graders reading on grade level.


Educational Consultant
Sue Curtis began working with The Learning Alliance during her career with the School District of Indian River County. Sue has a BS in Education from Edinboro University, Pennsylvania and a BS in Administration from Florida Atlantic University. Her career includes 15 years as a classroom teacher, 10 in district support positions and 10 years as Director of Elementary Education. Sue has served TLA as an educational consultant since 2010. She is the mother of two and grandmother of five. Sue has served on the board of directors for United Way, Environmental Learning Center and American Cancer Society.


Director of Development
Megan Kendrick comes to The Learning Alliance with over 10 years of educational experience, and a background in PR and Marketing. She graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a Master's in Educational Leadership. Megan taught for several years before leading the Professional Development Team at the School District. There, she partnered with TLA to deliver meaningful, hands-on, professional development to over 1,300 teachers across the district. As an administrator, Megan saw the impact literacy had in a student's life, and knew she needed to work full-time with The Learning Alliance.


Arts/Literacy Educator and Manager of the Moonshot Reading Rocket
Bridget Lyons has over 30 years of education experience, internationally and in the United States. She continues her teaching as an Arts/Literacy Educator and the Manager of the Moonshot Reading Rocket.


Donor Relations Coordinator
Kristen Matteucci joined The Learning Alliance in August of 2019. She graduated from The University of Kansas with a B.A. in Psychology, and received her Master of Science degree in Learning and Cognition from Florida State University in 2021. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Kristen joined her parents in Vero Beach after graduating college. She now resides with her husband, Andy, and cat, Tuukka (Go Bruins!). On her days off, Kristen can be found writing, attending Panthers (Go Panthers, too!) hockey games, or spending the day at Universal or Disney World.


Educational Consultant & SDIRC Liaison
Fran McDonough received her BS in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University and is a certified K-6 educator, with Clinical Educator training. She has a strong background in foundational literacy skills, and has received certification in many research based programs. Having taught at the elementary level, her passion lies in providing rich integrated learning experiences for children and quality professional development for teachers. Fran resides in Vero Beach with her husband of 21 years, and two children ages 19, and 16.


Director of Marketing and Community Outreach
Marie O'Brien joined The Learning Alliance in 2011, having spent the previous 20 years in internet marketing, advertising, and project management. She has a B.S. in Business Administration from Duquesne University. She moved to Florida in 1991 and joined Redgate/America Online, where she managed large marketing projects such as the creation of the first online presences for Reebok's Olympic store and AAA. A veteran in the internet industry, Marie leads our new digital media projects and manages the Moonshot Moment Community Outreach Team.


Digital Media Specialist
Ericka Reardin is a creative storyteller with a focus in documentary-style filmmaking. She received her B.S. in Communications & Media Ministry from Southeastern University. In her free time, you can find Ericka with her husband Brandon, their dog Leia, and a good cup of coffee in hand!


Moonshot Families Manager
Shanti Sanchez began her education career as an early childhood educator. She then, taught music and led community arts programs in Indian River County before working as the school and community programs manager for the Vero Beach Museum of Art. She returns to her early childhood roots as TLA’s kindergarten readiness manager where she focuses on family engagement and the Moonshot Family program. She holds a Master’s degree in education, and likes to play, talk, sing, read, and create every day.


Operations Support Coordinator
Pat Schlitt joined The Learning Alliance as a performing arts specialist for Moonshot Academy’s Summer programming in June 2021, and then was hired full-time as the Operations Support Coordinator. Pat graduated from the University of Tampa with a BA in Public Relations and Advertising in 2019, and resided in Tampa until early 2021. With a background in theatre education, PR and graphic design, Pat is able to utilize all their skills to the utmost extent, making TLA a literal dream job. Pat currently serves as the Chairman of the Board for VeroPride, and continues to perform throughout the IRC and beyond at special events.


Volunteer Coordinator
Pat Shaw joined The Learning Alliance in 2015. A third-generation native Floridian, born and raised in Miami, she graduated from the University of Florida with a BA in Elementary Education. Pat spent her first nine years teaching in Broward County, and relocated to Indian River County to continue her career in education. Pat's accolades include Teacher of the Year, District Teacher of the Year, and was one of five finalists for Florida Teacher of the Year in 2003. In her current role, she trains, coaches, and supports our wonderful volunteers in any way possible. Pat lives in Vero with her fiance and her cats!


Family Connection Specialist
Theresa Pickett is a native of Indian River County and Vero Beach High School graduate. She returned to Indian River County from Virginia to be closer to family and to raise her two children. Theresa started working in early childhood education in both childcare and elementary schools, as well as becoming a track and field coach at VBHS. She loves sports and spending time with her family, especially her five grandchildren. Theresa, still known in the community as “Coach Pickett”, loves to be out and about getting to know families throughout Indian River County, and can be found at the Gifford Connection Center.


Family Connection Specialist
Yomaira Lagos comes to The Learning Alliance from the Health Department where she spent five years as a counselor for families in Indian River County. During this time, she helped to launch and facilitate many programs including a support initiative in the community. She enjoys counseling, educating, and empowering local families. She has four children and enjoys spending time in nature with her family as well as getting to know the local community and read, talk, play, sing, and create in both English and Spanish with Moonshot, who calls her “Tia Yomi”. Yomaira is based at the Fellsmere Connection Center.