Our Staff

Jen Gibson

Executive Director

843-747-2223 ext. 102


With over two decades of entrepreneurial success, Jennifer brings a unique blend of strategic insight, project management expertise, and a passion for business model innovation to her role at Trident Literacy. Her entrepreneurial spirit and knack for identifying opportunities uniquely qualify her to help Trident Literacy transition into its next phase as a leading literacy and job skills training provider for adults in the Lowcountry. Beyond her professional endeavors, Jennifer is deeply rooted in her community. Her commitment to fostering positive change has led her to actively engage in various community initiatives to enhance educational opportunities for all. Jennifer's dedication to public service extended into the realm of political office, driven by her desire to effect meaningful change on a broader scale. Her background in politics equips her with the ability to navigate governmental affairs adeptly, ensuring our organization's voice is heard, and our objectives are met effectively. 

As our new Executive Director, Jennifer Gibson embodies the perfect fusion of entrepreneurial acumen, community advocacy, political insight, and governmental affairs navigation. With her at the helm, we are poised to embark on an exciting new chapter, charting a course toward greater innovation, inclusivity, and impact.

Holland Clayton

Data Director

843-747-2223 ext. 103


Rachel Knights

Administrative Director

843-747-2223 ext. 106


Rachel grew up in Seattle, graduating from the University of Washington with a B.A. in Education, Communities, and Organizations in 2020. She spent two years working as a bilingual paraeducator for her local school district in Bremerton, WA, before moving to Charleston at the end of 2021. She started at Trident Literacy Association as the Early Childhood Program Manager, but her love for teaching adults was quickly reawakened as she became involved with other programs. As our Administrative Director, she now handles building-wide administrative duties such as staff onboarding and registration. When she does not have her nose in a spreadsheet, Rachel can still be found teaching ESL classes to learners of all levels.  

Dr. Christen Warrington-Broxton

Adult Basic Education Director


Chris is a certified educator and college/career navigator with a Ph.D. in Adult Learning, originally from Bamberg, SC. After completing her B.S. in Chemistry Education at SC State University, she began teaching public high school math and chemistry in 2007. She moved to the Charleston metro in 2009 to join with her husband and begin pursuing graduate studies. Chris started working at TLA in 2015 as an AmeriCorps VISTA conducting outreach and program evaluation and development. Following her service year, she was promoted to the downtown Charleston site manager, the main site GED night class manager, and the organization’s College/Career Navigator. She is now thrilled to serve in her current role, directing the GED® Preparation and Literacy for Life programs. In her spare time, Chris loves doing yard work and home repairs, listening to audiobooks, and hanging out with her husband and five pets! 

Caroline McKinney

Senior ESL Manager & 

Family Literacy Coordinator


Caroline is currently serving in her eighth year of teaching English as a Second Language classes at Trident Literacy. With a master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of South Carolina and certification as a TEFL instructor, Caroline has experience teaching every English proficiency level. She specializes in pronunciation training for non-native English speakers. During her time at Trident Literacy, Caroline has taught in both the traditional classroom and online platforms. Finally, she is a self-professed grammar nerd, and her love of language and ESL instruction have led her to become fluent in French and Spanish. 

Nell Stone

ESL Senior Instructor


Jake Jones

ESL Instructor


Jake Jones is originally from the UK and has lived in South Carolina since 2004. He holds an undergraduate degree in English and American Literature from the University of East Anglia (UK) and an International MBA from the University of South Carolina. He has previously taught ESL to children in Taiwan, and worked as a business communication consultant in the business school at USC. He has a full-time job in Compliance for a large debt buyer. Jake began volunteering as a classroom assistant in Trident's ESL program in 2023, and began as an ESL instructor in March 2024. 

Emel Ibryam

ESL Instructor


Emel hails from Bulgaria, where she lived and taught for several years before immigrating to the United States. After earning a master's degree in English Philology at Shuman University in Bulgaria, she taught English as a Second Language to middle school students for a period of 11 years. Following her relocation to the United States in 2010, she pursued a degree in paralegal studies at Trident Technical College. Emel works as a paralegal on weekdays and dedicates her weeknights and Saturday mornings to online and in-person ESL instruction at Trident Literacy. 

Spencer Harvey  

ESL Instructor


Following a 25-year career as an executive in the high tech industry, Spencer pursued his longtime interest in teaching. He earned a master's degree in education from Fitchburg State University (Massachusetts) and proceeded to teach middle school for nearly 15 years. During his time as a middle school instructor, Spencer earned certification in Sheltered English Instruction and led his school's effort to develop curriculum for non-English speaking students. Spencer moved to Charleston in 2022 to indulge his passion for year-round outdoor activities, including golf, tennis, and cycling. He enjoys teaching ESL classes in basic- and intermediate-level instruction at Trident Literacy. 

Stephanie Valdez  

ESL Instructor


Chris Hairfield  

ESL Instructor


Chris Hairfield, Ph.D., is a registered nurse and dedicated educator with a passion for serving his community. Currently on faculty at MUSC’s College of Nursing, Chris’ journey in healthcare began in 2006 as part of the MUSC Clinical Associate Apprenticeship Program. He earned an associate's degree in Nursing (ADN) from Trident Technical College. While working as a frontline nurse, he went on to earn his BSN and MSN from Western Governor’s University and a Ph.D. in Nursing Education from Walden University. Chris also holds a post-master’s Certificate in Adult Online Education. During the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, Chris assumed a leadership role at the MUSC Health COVID-19 Specimen Collection Site, where his responsibilities included education and overseeing daily operations. Chris is committed to supporting the mission of Trident Literacy Association as a volunteer instructor. 

Tessa Ortiz  

ESL Instructor


Allison Park

ESL Instructor


In 2019, Allison graduated from the University of South Dakota with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and a minor in French. In 2021, she earned a master’s degree in Second Language Instruction from Troy University. Allison undertook Korean studies at Hongik University in Korea for two semesters to expand her language expertise. Allison then undertook ESL tutoring in higher education for four years, in which capacity she provided instruction for individuals with unique and varied language learning needs. Allison loves meeting her students and learning about each one's home country, culture, and language as they grow together in the classroom. 

Ella Townsend

Communications Manager


Ella Townsend is the Communications Manager for Trident Literacy and loves connecting with, writing for, and learning about all kinds of people! She graduated from Appalachian State University in 2021 with a BA in English Creative Writing and a minor in Communications. She is a copywriter by day and a book nerd by night.