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Eileen Chepenik Retires After 19 Years at Trident Literacy

CRBJ Biz Wire //August 11, 2023//

Eileen Chepenik Retires After 19 Years at Trident Literacy

CRBJ Biz Wire //August 11, 2023//

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NORTH CHARLESTON – Trident Literacy Association, a local nonprofit focused on adult literacy and workforce development, has announced the retirement of Executive Director, Eileen Chepenik who has served in the position for more than 19 years.

Under Chepenik’s leadership, Trident Literacy garnered national and international acclaim from the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy and the World Literacy Summit in Oxford, UK. She was awarded the prestigious Spearman Innovation Award from the SC Department of Adult Education in 2022.

“Trident Literacy has thrived for over 50 years, with Eileen Chepenik leading the organization for the past 19 years – and through much growth and many challenges. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I want to express how thankful we are for Eileen’s dedicated unselfish service. We hope to see Trident Literacy thrive in the future, with her continued support and with our continuation of her spirit of excellence,” said Mark Poerio, Trident Literacy’s Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Chepenik is a thought leader in the world of adult education. She and her colleagues established the successful Case Management System as a transformational approach to addressing the needs of adult learners. As a result of implementing this method, the organization consistently exceeds the performance standards required by the state and federal governments.

In addition, Chepenik successfully steered Trident Literacy through numerous challenges, including navigating through COVID and shepherding the transition to virtual instruction. Her frequent letters to the editor and presentations to local governments and civic clubs have informed the public about the importance of adult education and workforce development programs as a means to reverse the cycle of generational poverty and increase the number of qualified workers in the Lowcountry.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to be a part of the life-changing work at Trident Literacy and to work alongside our dedicated staff and volunteers,” Chepenik said. “It is an inspiration to see the transformation in our students’ lives as they look forward to a future they never dreamed possible. What a joy to be a part of making that happen.”

Jennifer Gibson has been named the new Executive Director. Gibson, who has been a member of the association’s Board of Directors for the past four years, brings a wealth of experience to the role. She was selected after a six-month national search led by Kristy Lysik of Find Great People. “We need a leader who has a deep understanding of the clients we serve and who can also create workforce development programs with small business owners and large corporations in the area,” said Poerio.

“We are at a critical moment to provide programs for adults that will improve their literacy skills and result in higher paying jobs for them and will also help meet the demands of the local labor market. Gibson’s background uniquely qualifies her to implement our growth strategy successfully. She knows how to leverage her skills and relationships in the community to create a holistic learning environment for our clients that is fiscally sustainable.”

Gibson expressed her excitement to lead Trident Literacy, saying, “It’s an honor to continue the work of amazing women like our founder, Pat Gibson, and former Executive Director, Eileen Chepenik. They empowered thousands of people to change their lives through literacy while helping our local economy grow.”

For more information, please contact Jennifer Gibson via email at or by phone at 843-870-7757.

More about Trident Literacy Association: Since 1972, Trident Literacy Association has served Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester Counties as an award-winning education facility for adults. Students have access to a broad array of programs designed to improve literacy skills, increase job readiness, and learn English as a second language so students can obtain their GED and work certifications. Trident Literacy uses a holistic approach to address outside barriers to student success, including a college and career navigator for students when they complete their program and a comprehensive family literacy program.