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Opening the Door to Education

Board of Directors

Eric Markusen - President

Eric Markusen - President

Born and raised in Racine, Wisconsin, Eric graduated from Marquette University Law School in 2003 and practices in the areas of business law, non-profits, real estate and taxation. In addition to serving as president of the board of RLC, he serves as treasurer of several local organizations, including the Racine County bar Association and the Racine-Kenosha Tax and Accounting Professionals, as well as serving on the board of Legal Action of Wisconsin and providing pro bono services through their Volunteer Lawyers Project. Eric is admitted to practice by the Wisconsin State bar, the Wisconsin State Tax Appeals Commission, the United States Tax Court, and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.


Chad Arents - Vice President

Chad Arents Vice-President

Chad is a 2002 Cum Laude University of Wisconsin Parkside graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He is employeed at Image Management as an account executive for website development. Chad is a movie buff and can be found at American Family Field or Lambeau Field if not at the office.


Mary Biesack - Treasurer

Mary Biesack - Treasurer

Education & Employment – MBA from UW-Parkside and Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
Committees – Finance, Program and Personnel.
Personal – Lifelong Racine resident and my hobby is reading.


Kristin Gibson - Secretary

Kristin Gibson - Secretary

Kristin Gibson is a lifelong member of Racine and probably it’s #1 fan! She is a school counselor and currently works with K-4th grade students at Gilmore Fine Arts K-8. Kristin loves her job and the students & families that work with her. A graduate of Leadership Racine in 2016, she has volunteered with many different boards including Parish Council at St. Joseph Parish and as secretary for the Friends of the Racine Public Library. Joining the Board of Directors for the Racine Literacy Council was a natural fit for Kristin. She sees the importance of literacy skills in the students and families she works with and has a passion for reading. In her spare time, Kristin enjoys spending time with friends and family, cooking, coaching, reading, volunteering, and working out.


 Tom Determan

Tom Determan

My background consists of an Accounting Degree from the University of South Dakota and Master of Management from Cardinal Stritch University. I have also been a licensed Certified Public Accountant since 1975 and been married for 45 years to Sandra, my best friend. Presently a senior lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Hobbies are reading, especially historical books at the present, gardening, and odd jobs around the house.


Victor Frasher

Victor Frasher

Victor Frasher is a financial literacy advocate for advising and educating the community of best financial practices. Starting his financial career as a co-op teller at a local financial some 20 years ago, Victor has been involved in the credit union movement ever since 1999. As a lifelong resident of Racine, Victor dedicates his time to various local organizations in addition Victor is Board Member Junior Achievement Racine/Kenosha Counties, Wisconsin Woman Business Initiative advisory team for southeastern Wisconsin, City of Racine’s Community Development Committee. Victor also serves on the advisory boards for Oak Creek High School, Kenosha Unified School District and Racine Unified School District. Past service includes Hispanic Business Professionals Association, Young Professionals of Racine and LGBT center of Racine.


Patty O’Connell

Patty O’Connell

Patty is a CPA, with a masters degree in business management from Strayer University. She spent 32 years in the military and retired at the rank of Colonel. She is self-employed/ semi-retired. Patty loves quilting, gardening, and, most of all, her grandchildren.

Patty chairs the personnel committee. Contact Patty at RLCpersonnel734@gmail.com


Laura Sumner Coon

Laura Sumner Coon

Laura’s expertise stretches the gamut of skills needed by organizations with education and nonprofit missions. Her experience as a print and radio journalist, consultant to religious organizations, executive director of educational nonprofit organizations, and university instructor, allows Laura to assist organizations in finding the connections that can bolster their operations. She creates effective grants, press packets, web content and marketing materials. Laura holds a BA in Mass Communication-Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, an MA in Pastoral Studies from St. Francis Seminary, an MS in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from UWM and is currently a doctoral candidate in Education Policy and Leadership at Marquette University, as well as an instructor at UW-Parkside.


Atif Taj

Atif Taj

Atif Taj has an undergraduate degree from University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and a graduate degree from University of Wisconsin Madison. He works at Johnson Outdoors as a Senior Analyst. He has been associated with Racine Literacy Council since 2016 and serves in two committees: Finance Committee, Governance and Nomination Committee.  He is new father of a 10 month old boy and his present activities revolve around him. 


Patti Walker

Patti Walker

Patti Walker, a graduate of University of Nebraska at Kearney, has been an educator since 1968 in Racine Unified School District, serving as fifth grade team leader from 1978 until 2003 when she retired. She serves on the administrative board and financial committee for her church, the scholarship committee of Volunteers in Partnership with Ascension-All Saints, and volunteers at the Northside Food Pantry.  She has been an ESL tutor since she retired and has enjoyed working with four students and many staff members throughout the years at the Literacy Council.