Skyline Literacy Staff


Executive Director: Nelly Moreno Shenk

Nelly was born in El Salvador, came to the United States in 2002, and naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 2006. She is married and has two grown children, Daniel and Sara. She has a degree in economics and an MBA from El Salvador. Nelly has been working for Skyline Literacy since 2008. She has 28+ years of non-profit experience in her country as well as the United States. Nelly learned English when she came to the USA as an adult, so she knows that learning another language in adulthood is difficult, but achievable if you have the motivation! Her family has been her biggest motivation. Nelly is a member and co-founder of several community efforts to improve services for the immigrant community, including the Welcoming Harrisonburg Council and the Salvadoran Committee (COSPU). Nelly is passionate about leadership, organization and teamwork.


Literacy Programs Coordinator & Tutor Manager: Virginia Showalter

A native of the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia appreciates the ways that the Harrisonburg community continues to become more diverse each year. She graduated from Eastern Mennonite University with a degree in Elementary Education and minors in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and Spanish. Her professional experience has been varied, from teaching English to adult learners in numerous settings to working as an immigration paralegal to being a case manager with migrant farm workers. She is married and is the mother of three daughters. Growing a garden and cooking/preserving food are priorities for Virginia and her family, as well as learning about foods and traditions from other cultures. They also love reading good books and are frequent visitors of the library.

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Program Manager: Jyar Abdulla

Jyar Abdulla moved from Northern Iraq (Kurdistan) to the United States in 2010 with her family. She graduated from James Madison University in 2018 and received a BA in International Affairs. She speaks Kurdish, Arabic, as well as beginner Spanish and Turkish. She has volunteered and worked in Harrisonburg since 2011 in different positions helping refugees and immigrants in the community. She enjoys teaching, traveling, reading, and listening to classical music.


Skyline Literacy Board

Board Officers


Bill Fisher: President

Bill Fisher has been on the Board of Skyline Literacy since 2015 and currently serves as President. Bill received his B.S. in Business Management from the University of Delaware. He worked as a carpenter, foreman, superintendent and project manager in the construction industry before becoming an administrator for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Bill spent the final 25 years of his career with Nielsen Builders where he was the Chief Operating Officer and a member of the Board of Directors. He and his wife Bly Brown raised 3 children: Corinna and her husband Keith and their son Miles, Austin and his wife Colleen and Eleanor and her husband William.


Vice President: Bryn McIntyre

Bryn McIntyre joined the Board of Skyline Literacy in June of 2018 and currently serves as the Vice President. Bryn received her BA at James Madison University in both Media, Arts, & Design (SMAD) and Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication (WRTC). She is the Creative Producer at Appeal Production, a video production company located in Harrisonburg. Additionally, Bryn serves on the steering committee for the the 2019 – 2020 Leadership Program through the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce. Recently, Bryn was accepted into the Masters of Arts program in Digital Media Strategy at Bridgewater College. She will be starting her Masters program this Fall.


Treasurer: Amanda Hughes

Amanda Hughes has lived in the Shenandoah Valley for almost her entire life. She graduated from William & Mary with a degree in Accounting and later got her MBA from JMU. She works for Rockingham County Public Schools as the Supervisor of Finance. She enjoys being active (running, swimming, hiking, lifting) and spending time with her husband and two girls. She is also active in her church where she teaches Sunday School and has served on the Church Council in the past.

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Secretary: Chris Lonas

Chris Lonas is a Staffing Recruiter for a mechanical contractor, Riddleberger Brothers, Inc., corporately located in the Shenandoah Valley. He has a diverse background in administration, management, and human resources, and has held several certifications in different fields throughout his professional life. As a lover of education and personal development, he is an alumnus of James Madison University, where he obtained a degree in Health Sciences with a Pre-Professional Concentration. He is married and he and his wife, Brittany, have two children and a rambunctious dog named Lucky. In his free time, he enjoys working with nonprofits, being involved in his church and community, and spending time with his family and friends.


Board Members

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Donna Barber

Donna Barber is a retired elementary school teacher. She taught children for 25 years, preschool through 2nd grade. Upon retirement, she taught several classes for JMU and is currently supervising student teacher for JMU. She is the mother of two children and the grandmother of four, who live in Roanoke, VA. She lives in Bridgewater with her husband, Larry. They enjoy babysitting their grandchildren, working with Open Doors Homeless Shelter and participating with the North River Library Friends Group.


Ben Erickson

Ben Erickson is an Instructor of Communication Studies and Coordinator of the Master of Arts program in Digital Media Strategy at Bridgewater College. He was first introduced to Skyline Literacy through a collaboration with a class he taught in 2013. He was struck by the powerful stories he heard from the learners at Skyline. He Joined the board in 2016 because he wanted to help extend the reach of those stories.

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Stan Farthing

Rev. Stan Farthing is the pastor of the Zetta Presbyterian Church in rural Augusta County. He is also the co-owner, with his wife Candace, of LDA Creations / Silver Lake Workshops, which operates in the historic, restored Silver Lake Mill in Dayton, VA. The company decorates ceramics, glass, wood and other materials for customers such as Mount Vernon and Monticello, as well as businesses, nonprofits and congregations. He and Candace live in Dayton with their two Scotties.


Guillermo Fernandez

Guillermo Fernandez came to the U.S. in 1981 at the age of 11 from Nicaragua. He arrived in Miami and lived there for a couple of years before moving to L.A. for high school. Post graduate he joined the Navy and was assigned to V.A, and later served in the National Guard. After serving he attended JMU for a degree in Communication studies. He is now a GED teacher at MTC for four years and also enjoys teaching conversation Spanish at JMU’s Life Long Learning Institute as well as at Rockingham County Parks and Rec Department.


Joy Loving

Joy Loving has been volunteering with Skyline Literacy since the mid to late 1990s. She has participated in all literacy areas tutoring, developing curricula, and training tutors. In addition, she is a Steering Committee member of Climate Action Alliance of the Valley and a member of Renew Rocktown, with a focus on renewable energy. She resides in Rockingham County.

Patrick C. Linn

Patrick C. Linn has lived much of his life right here in the Shenandoah Valley. He is a graduate of James Madison University, with a degree in political science. He works for Bank of the James as their Branch Manager and Consumer Lender for their Harrisonburg location. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Sarah, and three young daughters, Harper, Hannah, and Ruby. In addition, Patrick enjoys hiking, walking his dogs, Huck and Sawyer, archery and attending concerts. He loves reading to his children and believes that literacy is the foundation of common knowledge. Patrick currently serves on the steering committee for the Leadership Program through the Harrisonburg - Rockingham Chamber of Commerce.


Dr. Charlette McQuilkin

Dr. Charlette McQuilkin has been on the Skyline Board for at least 10 years and is passionate about adult literacy skills. In addition, Dr. McQuilkin is serving on the Rockingham County School Board and is active in the Bridgewater Rotary Club. She is married to Dr. David McQuilkin a retired history/political science professor from Bridgewater College. They are the parents of two adult children and have two grandchildren.


Elizabeth Nathanson

Elizabeth Nathanson holds an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey and a Project Management Certification from the Project Management Institute. After spending many years in the corporate world, she went on to serve the Prince William Symphony Orchestra as Executive Director and 6 years later Executive Director of Reach Out and Read in Washington DC.


Steven Smith

Steven Smith is an immigration lawyer at John Elledge & Assoc PC, Harrisonburg, Virginia. His focus is removal defense. He holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from the University of New Mexico and a J.D. from Western New England College School of Law.  He has lived, worked, and studied in Chile and Nicaragua and currently serves on the board of directors of Gould Farm, a therapeutic residential community in western Massachusetts.

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Dr. Laura Zarrugh

Dr. Laura Zarrugh received her doctoral degree in cultural anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley. She has taught at JMU, Bridgewater College and BRCC, and conducted research on immigrants and refugees in Mexico, California, and Virginia. She has been a volunteer tutor and grant writer for Skyline Literacy for ten years. She is currently the president of the Harrisonburg branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW).