Learning Illumination Center Staff
Karen Parker – Executive Director
Karen is an award-winning former teacher and school counselor whose breadth of knowledge in college/career readiness and professional development programming brings the essential skill sets necessary to lead the Learning Illumination Center. With over 25 years’ experience in the education field, Karen has provided guidance to countless domestic and international students at the middle, high school, and community college levels as they prepared for higher education or career training. Karen has also developed and delivered training workshops to help student-athletes prepare for a successful future.
Karen holds an MEd in Curriculum and Instruction from Lesley University, an MA in School Counseling from the University of Northern Colorado, and a BA in Speech Communication from the University of Denver. She is a certified facilitator of the Everything DiSC® personality assessment and a consultant for Athlete Assessments’ DISC Profiles. She volunteers to work with youth through Wake Co. Schools’ Xtreme Beginnings program, the Girls Scouts, and Junior Achievement.
Nicholas Vassil – Director of Finance
Nick is a successful entrepreneur and business management expert who brings over 30 years of professional experience to his dual roles at APLS Group and Learning Illumination Center. Nick has experience in a diverse range of business areas, including project management, team development, resource allocation, and quality assurance. He is also an accomplished trainer and professional coach with a knack for helping others reach their performance goals and objectives.
Early in his career, Nick ran lucrative businesses in the competitive hospitality and vending markets. His subsequent corporate success was formed through his work in the telecommunications, finance, and information technology industries. Nicholas is a former volunteer with Meals on Wheels of Wake Co., NC.
Joy Drew - Program Coordinator
Joy brings to Learning Illumination Center several years’ worth of program coordination experience which includes partnership development, meeting planning, and social media management. Her professional experience includes working with both for-profit and nonprofit organizations in a range of areas including software development, higher education, and state government. She has written and edited a variety of marketing and educational materials over the years, and has also been a community college instructor. As the program coordinator for Learning Illumination Center, Joy is involved in researching/developing funding opportunities, developing written/visual materials, and building partnerships with other nonprofits.
Joy has an MA in Education and a BA in English, both from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Joy volunteers with the Girl Scouts and in Wake County public schools.