Our Board of Directors

The Literacy Center board of directors provides leadership and governance to the organization. The Literacy Center board has up to 15 directors, with a variety of committees that develop strategies for organizational success. Board members serve a three-year term, which can be renewed once.


Jim Bannon, Chair
Jim is a local attorney in private practice. He graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 2002 and from the University of Miami School Of Law (J.D.) in 2006. Jim has been practicing law in South Carolina since 2008 and has tried over twenty jury trials to verdict. After years of service as a lawyer in the prosecutor’s office, he shifted his focus to the private practice of law in the Bluffton, Beaufort, Ridgeland, Hardeeville, and Hilton Head Island areas as a criminal defense attorney. He also practices as a criminal defense lawyer in the Federal District Court of South Carolina.


Jim lives in Bluffton with his wife, Meredith, and their daughter, Emma Grace.



Elaine Cope, Vice Chair
Professor Cope is employed at Technical College of the Lowcountry enhancing the school’s tutoring program and teaching reading on an adjunct basis. Previously she was department chairperson developing programs in Entrepreneurship, Financial Management and Travel and Tourism. As an advocate for women, she created and taught “Women In Management.” A participant in the governance of the college she actively served on numerous committees and was selected by her peers to receive the Unsung Hero Award. Nationally she served as chairperson of an evaluation team for the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs, resulting in ACBSP receiving national accreditation to certify business schools and college.


Elaine and her husband reside in Sun City where reading is her passion.



Karen Edwards, Secretary
Karen has taught computer classes for The Literacy Center and Life Long Learning. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in English. She worked at IBM, in systems programming computers, technical support and as an instructor in new hardware and new manager classes. She served 8 years on the Bargain Box board as chair of the grants committee. Karen is involved with the International Piano Competition serving 2 years as coordinator of host families, and hosting a competitor every year.


Karen and her husband Buck moved to HHI in 1997, where they have both been active in charitable activities.



Penny Walhaus, Treasurer
Penny was formerly the Assistant Director for Research Services and Director of Fiscal Planning for the Illinois Community College Board. She served as the Director of Analytical Studies and Director of Student Information System at Northwestern University. She is affiliated with the Association of Institutional Research (AIR), Illinois Association of Institutional Research (IAIR) and College and University Systems Exchange (CAUSE). She currently serves on the Board of the Bargain Box. She has a MA, Mathematical Systems and BS, Education from the University of Illinois.


She has 3 children and 4 grandchildren.



Don Brashears
Don is the owner of Atlantic Real Estate and Liberty Tax Preparation Service, an active member of the Rotary Club of Hilton Head Island, and an education advocate. He has served as a member of the Together for Beaufort Adult Literacy Alliance and volunteered his south Island business location for an ESOL class. He assisted in students’ recruitment and personally encouraged their participation by providing small incentives. He also served as a table host at one of TLC’s Community Breakfasts. Because of his support of adult literacy, TLC presented him with the 2008 Business Partner Award. Don graduated with a B.S. in Commerce and an M.B.A. in International Economics from Rider University.


Don and his wife Terry, who is a teacher in the Beaufort County School District, are TLC Partners in Literacy and residents of Hilton Head Island.



Dr. William H. Harris
Dr. William H. Harris, president emeritus of Alabama State University, has had a long and distinguished career in higher education. Harris also led Texas Southern University, Paine College as the youngest college president ever appointed, and briefly left retirement to serve as ASU interim president. He holds an MA and PhD, Indiana University. Dr. Harris holds numerous awards and distinctions including recipient of the Trustees Special Service Award from Paine College and recognition by Indiana University with the Distinguished Alumni Service Award, the highest honor an alumnus can receive from the university. Dr. Harris was also designated as one of the Fifty Most Influential Black Georgians.


Dr. Harris is married to Wanda Fillmore Harris and the couple has two children, and two grandchildren.



Betty Irby
Betty recently retired from the U.S. Department of Defense where she served as Senior Staff Analyst and Manager for the Program for Historically Black Colleges and Universities/Minority Institutions. She also held several senior staff positions for the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. Upon moving to Hilton Head she served in a variety of positions with Boys & Girls Club of Hilton Head, Beaufort county Board of Education, healthy Communities Initiative of Southern Beaufort county and Lowcountry Community Development Corporation. She has served as a volunteer tutor for the Literacy Council of Montgomery County. Betty has a BA degree, Social Psychology, Howard University and attended the University of Maryland Graduate School of Journalism.


Betty is married to Robert Irby and has two children.



Bob Jones
Bob Jones is a Broker at Weichert Reality. Jones previously developed primary and secondary home site communities in Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Bob spent 20 years in the chemicals industry selling pigments and dyes all over the world and was transferred to Beaufort to run the Sales Department for Alper Dispersions. Born in North Carolina his family also lived in Kentucky, Maryland, Tennessee, Florida and Ohio. BA, Communications, Miami University, Oxford Ohio.


He is married to Julie, residing in Indigo Run for 16 years.



Luisa Rains
Luisa C. Rains is a Cuban born U.S. citizen. Ms. Rains joined the Inter American Development Bank in Washington D.C. in 1977 as an Economist and held several positions including chief of the first fiscal division and the first modernization of the state and civil society division in the bank. She spent the last years being Deputy Manager of The Regional Operations Department which included Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. She retired in 2009. Ph.D, Business Administration, George Washington University, MA, Business Administration, BA, Economics, Florida Atlantic university. She volunteers at VIM as a translator and promotes adult education for TLC, is a member of the International Women’s Club, and the World Affairs Council.


She has been married to Alan T. Rains for 38 years and has two children.



Allison Rice
Originally from the lower Hudson Valley of New York, Alison and her son Chris relocated to Hilton Head Island in July of 2012 to be closer to family already in the area. With an extensive background in the banking and legal fields, Alison began her real estate career in Goshen, New York, during the winter of 2000. During the course of her career in New York, she worked on land development projects and the custom building side of the business, as well as builder featured homes in the Orange County area. With her relocation to Hilton Head, Alison spent almost 3 years as a top onsite Sales Representative for D.R. Horton, a national builder in the Hilton Head/Bluffton market. She is now in general brokerage and working for Southern Lifestyle Properties of Hilton Head.


When not working at her passion for real estate, Alison can often be found watching her son playing lacrosse or spending time with family or just relaxing with her dogs.



Pam Wall, Executive Director
Pam joined TLC in May, 2015, relocating from the Research Triangle Region, NC. Formerly she was the Executive Director of Kidzu Children’s Museum in Chapel Hill leading a multi-million dollar capital campaign. Pam was Vice President, Product Development, Research Triangle Regional Partnership and Executive Director of Triangle Tomorrow, economic development and quality of life nonprofit organizations respectively. Her professional affiliations include Urban Land Institute, Triangle District Council Member; North Carolina State University Transportation and Environment Council Gold Circle and Governor James Hunt’s Emerging Issues Forum Working Group (2009-2010). For her development of the Triangle Tomorrow and ULI Reality Check Project, she was named “Tarheel of the Week” by the News & Observer and received the Leadership Triangle “Goodmon Leadership Award.” Her work with Harvard to develop the Clusters of Innovation in the Triangle resulted in a nationally known economic development plan.


Pam lives with her husband, Bill and their service dog Harley. She has one daughter, Jessica.