Best wishes, Susan and Mary!

Jun 7, 2024Articles

Literacy Pittsburgh’s Beaver County site has been fortunate to have Program Manager Mary Leitao and Instructor Susan Mansuetti as champions for our students. Both will be retiring at the end of June after longtime, dedicated careers in adult education. 
“Susan and Mary fostered a sense of community at the Beaver County site and helped students to recognize that they CAN succeed,” explains CEO Carey Harris. “Their enthusiasm, warmth, and expertise will be greatly missed and we wish them all the best in their well-deserved retirement.”  
Mary Leitao began her career in adult education in 2011 as a Volunteer Classroom Aide for Adult Literacy Action Beaver before becoming an instructor the following year.  From 2013-2015 she worked as the In-House Professional Development Specialist for the organization, coordinating and facilitating agency program improvement and professional development activities. In 2015, she became the Director of Adult Literacy Action Penn State Beaver. Three years later she was named the Program Manager for Beaver County when Literacy Pittsburgh took over adult literacy programming in the county. 
“Mary has always demonstrated a genuine passion for literacy education and a heart for helping anyone in need. Her contributions have positively impacted the lives of countless Beaver County youth, adults, dislocated workers, and reentrants,” shares Rich Strother, Executive Director, Job Training for Beaver County, Inc. 
Leading adult literacy programming in Beaver County involved recruiting students and volunteers, cultivating relationships with partner organizations, and hiring, managing, and supervising staff. She worked to ensure an excellent student experience and goal achievement while overseeing overall program operations. She worked with both students and volunteers to help them create success. Mary also teaches a GED preparation class at the Beaver County Jail that not only prepares students to earn their high school equivalency credential but gives them the opportunity to learn about career options. 
“Mary consistently did her job with humor, a smile, and great competence, no matter the challenges,” said Henry Wilde, a volunteer math tutor in Beaver County. “There are many GED graduates in Beaver County who owe their success, at least in part, to Mary’s involvement and support. I wish her the best.” 
Susan Mansuetti has held positions at both the local and state levels. She served as a Family Literacy Advisor and Professional Development Advisor at the Pennsylvania Department of Education, influencing programs throughout the Commonwealth. In 2015, she became Program Administrator for Adult Literacy Action at Penn State Beaver, transitioning to the role of Instructor in 2017. Since 2018, Susan has worked as a teacher of adult learners through Literacy Pittsburgh, a position she describes as her favorite. 
“Whether you met Susan at the beginning of her career, or at the end, you would most certainly walk away with the impression that YOU are the most interesting and important person that she has ever had the chance to meet and work with,” explains volunteer Heidi Stark. “She has an uncanny knack for making every person feel special and unique.  We were fortunate to have Susan's energy, passion, and thoughtfulness.  She will be missed by volunteers, colleagues, and students both past and present."  
As an instructor, Susan meets students where they are. She reaches out to each one with skill, thoughtfulness, and passion. She models the enthusiasm of a lifelong learner by seeking out resources to find answers and share new understanding. She is quick to say, "I don't know, let's find out!" Through her example, students are willing to be vulnerable and ask for help, helping them to grow and recognize that everyone can learn.  
“When I first became a student at Literacy Pittsburgh, I felt that I was trapped in a hallway with nowhere to go,” says 2021 GED graduate Remmy Dallies. “Thanks to Miss Susan she has helped me open doors of opportunity which has led me to my career as a commercial truck driver. I love my job.” 
Remmy continues, “I would like to congratulate Miss Susan and Miss Mary on a well-earned and well-deserved retirement. Without these two ladies dedicating their time and hard work, not only me but many other students would not have the success that they have today. So, Miss Susan and Miss Mary, this does not only come from me but from the hundreds of people you have helped through the years of your hard work and service. We would all like to say thank you.” 

Literacy Pittsburgh (formerly Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council) helps create better lives through learning. Recognized as a national leader in adult and family literacy, Literacy Pittsburgh is the largest provider of adult basic education in Allegheny and Beaver Counties. Last year, Literacy Pittsburgh helped more than 4,000 individuals acquire the skills needed to reach their fullest potential in life and participate productively in their communities. Literacy Pittsburgh provides free, personalized instruction in workforce readiness, high school diploma test preparation, digital literacy, English language learning, math, reading, and family literacy through one-to-one and small class instruction. Founded in 1982, it serves local adults through numerous neighborhood locations and its Downtown Pittsburgh Learning Center.       

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