Wendy VerHage Falb

As Executive Director, Wendy has led the Literacy Center of West Michigan for the past seven years.  In that time the organization has grown to be the largest community-based adult literacy organization in the state of Michigan.  Instructing over 700 individuals annually, the Literacy Center works with immigrants, refugees, and native speakers of English to provide support tailored to their individual needs and priorities.  A key player in workforce development, the Literacy Center also creates paths to citizenship, supports returning citizens, and partners with multiple school districts to provide a two generational approach to children’s literacy.

Creating more equitable educational opportunities has been a driving purpose in Wendy’s life.   She served on the Grand Rapids Public School board for ten years in the role of president as well as legislative chair where she saw firsthand the negative impact that environmental and infrastructure degradation had on children who already faced severe inequities.  Wendy has served on multiple community and civic boards including:  the Grand Rapids Smart Zone, the Downtown Development Authority, the river restoration project: River for All, the Committee to Honor Cesar Chavez, the Grand Rapids Public School Foundation, the University Preparatory Academy, Heritage Hill Neighborhood Association, and others.

Wendy has a BA from Calvin University, MA Boston College, and Ph.D. from MSU.  She is a passionate Whole Foods Plant Based cook and naturalist who, when not in Grand Rapids, spends most of her time roaming Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park with her husband and two sons.

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