IRW Staff


Jan Coates, Executive Director

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As founding Executive Director, Jan provides leadership and oversight to all things IRW. She is currently focusing on organizational planning and design, Board development, constituent engagement, and fund-raising.

Prior to founding IRW in 2006, Jan was a senior administrator/Dean at Albion College in Michigan and Hamilton College in New York, then owner and manager of Port In A Storm Bookstore in Somesville.

Jan holds a Ph.D. from Michigan State University. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Mount Desert Land & Garden Preserve, the Board of Trustees of the MDI Biological Laboratory and is an Aloha Foundation Emeritus Trustee. She resides in Hall Quarry on Mount Desert Island.


Kelsey Buckley, Director of Communications & Engagement

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Kelsey is responsible for capturing and telling the story of IRW’s programming and mission through our print and digital communications. Her work is focused on engaging our community, connecting to new audiences, and building new IRW online experiences.

Kelsey holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Maine Farmington, and a Master of Arts in English: Writing, Rhetoric, and Media Arts from Trinity College. She and her husband live in Ellsworth, where they cook and read adventurously.


Lisa T. Herrington, Program Assistant

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Lisa was born and raised right here in Hancock County. Her school work took her from outdoor recreation to library science with a bit of English Literature on the way. She has worked as a school and public librarian, at a Montessori School, as a clerk at a local shop; she has owned a mail order wreath business and have worked as the coordinator for Friends of Taunton Bay for the last six years as director of their children’s environmental summer camp.

Lisa is a board member of The Franklin Historical Society and president of The Franklin Library board where she has just brought the little town library into the 21st century and are working on becoming part of The Maine State Library system. Lisa has two almost-grown children, an artist husband, a chinchilla and a corgi named Mr. Tilington who live in Franklin.


Alison Johnson, Director of School Programs

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Alison oversees all aspects of IRW’s school programs, including planning author/ illustrator visits, recruiting new au- thors and collaborating with our school partners to determine which of our programs best suit their students’.
She began her nonprofit work as director of the summer arts festival for Schoodic Arts for All and has served on several area nonprofit boards including the Schoodic Community Fund, the Dorcas Library board spent two terms on the RSU 24 school board.

Alison has completed the Visual Thinking Strategies advanced practicum, and the Voluntary Public Librarian Certification Program. She and her family reside in Birch Harbor.


Dawn Severns, Organization Administrator

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Dawn assists all directors and colleagues in optimizing IRW’s mission impact through quality implementations and evaluating IRW virtual, community and school programs and general operations.

Dawn has a Bachelor’s degree in Early Education with honors from the University of South Florida. She taught Kindergarten for seven years in Florida and has been a tutor and substitute teacher in several elementary grade classrooms in Carthage, Illinois. She has also worked in retail setting and in the after-school program Knowledge Universe in Washington. She resides with her family in Lamoine.