administration & staff

Kevin J. McCloskey


Kevin J. McCloskey is president of Direct Learning Systems, Inc. (DLS), a Lehigh Valley, PA, based distance education publishing company, which he founded in 1999. DLS owns Blackstone Career Institute (BCI) licensed by the PA Depart of Education, and MGS Trade School (MGS) approved by the DE Department of Education both providing an Internet-based distance learning curriculum. BCI and MGS are nationally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, Washington, D.C. and regionally accredited by Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools CESS, Philadelphia, PA. In addition, DLS owns and operates The Institute for Children’s Literature, The Institute for Writers and

Kevin’s previous experience includes over 15 years in senior management. He was Vice Chairman and managing partner of NLKK, Inc. the former operator of K12 owned Keystone School, a nationally accredited Internet-based secondary school with an enrollment of over 15,000 students. In 2000, he orchestrated the sale of NLKK, Inc. to KinderCare Learning Centers, Inc., a publicly traded firm. Prior to that time, he held various senior management positions in the medical equipment field. Kevin was primarily responsible for marketing, sales, business development and strategic planning throughout this period. He holds a BA degree from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.

Professionally, Kevin is active within the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), served on the Business Standards Committee (Vice Chairman), and was Chairman of the International Marketing Workshop of the DETC in 2000. Other professional affiliations include membership in the Mid-Atlantic Association of Career Schools and the Coalition for Student Opportunity and Success. He is currently on the finance committee at St. Thomas More Church and spent several years on the school board as fundraising chairman.

Valerie L. McCloskey, B.S. M.Ed.

Director of Education

Valerie joined DLS as the Director of Education in 2001. Prior to joining, she worked as a teacher, tutor, and reading specialist with students in various educational settings. With over 30 years of experience, she has devoted her career to assisting students to increase their skill set through site-based and distance education.  As the Director of Education, she oversees program research, educational policies, and branded marketing strategies related to educational offerings along with the internal and external faculty. Valerie holds a Master’s Degree in Education and a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education.


Philanthropically, Valerie supports Mercy School For Special Learning whose mission is to provide all children and young adults with special needs the best opportunity to reach their utmost potential, both academically and in life, and Cay Galgon Life House whose mission is to provide shelter for homeless pregnant women and their newborns and offer them counseling and education opportunities leading to lives of self-reliance. This charity work reflects some of her core values, which are rooted in supporting community, education, and collaboration to make the world a better place.

Donnita Fisher

Accounting | Finance Manager

Donnita is the Accounting/Finance Manager and joins DLS with over 25 years of experience. A graduate of Franklin University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting and a Minor in Finance, her professional experience and educational background enables her to coordinate the financial needs and human resources development at Direct Learning Systems, Inc. She is a member of the National Association of Certified Accounting Paraprofessionals (NACAP), Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA), and the National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP).  In addition to being certified in desktop QuickBooks and QuickBooks online, she is also a certified public notary. Outside of work, Donnita spends time with her cats.

Jacque Irizarry

Manager of Business Operations and Growth

Jacque earned a B. A. in Graphics and Media Arts from Southern New Hampshire University. Since joining Direct Learning Systems in 2015, she has taken advantage of the opportunity to gain knowledge about most areas of the business from Shipping to Student Services, and IT Project Manager to Graphic and Web Design. She is a proponent of self-growth and the building blocks of learning at work and in life. Jacque seeks opportunities for students, coworkers, and community members to have their unique skills, interests, and histories fostered, understood, and celebrated.

As the leader of business operations, she oversees the culture, community work, day-to-day operations, technology, student data, and compliance, to support our mission. Her passion is rooted in leading a team that is fostering change and helping individuals reach their highest potential.  Jacque loves playing basketball, working with craft breweries, traveling, and volunteering within the Lehigh Valley.  She also enjoys photography, painting, and other forms of creative arts.

Maggie McCloskey

Director of Marketing and Development

Maggie brings several years of experience in Customer Service, Management, Brand Awareness, Marketing, Project Management, Strategic Lead Generation, and Administration to DLS. After earning a BA in Mass Communications from the University of South Florida, Maggie spent two years at a law firm in New York City, working in account management & brand research. For the next three years, Maggie worked for Warby Parker, in their CX headquarters in Nashville, as a Customer Experience Lead. She supervised a team of 15 advisors who engaged with nationwide customers to provide solutions and seamless experiences. In her role at DLS, Maggie directs brand, content, design, advertising, and social media managers on their day-to-day projects. In an effort to achieve company growth goals, she collaborates with department directors to develop and strategize business improvement projects, from ideation to implementation.

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Christine Molnar

Brand Marketing Associate | Student Services Lead

Christine is a graduate from Southern Connecticut State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication. She began with The Institute for Writers in 2005 as a Student Services representative and Admissions Advisor, and then joined DLS in 2020. Christine maintains an expansive customer service background and has assisted innumerable students and prospects with program guidelines to support motivation, independent learning, and goal achievement. She considers herself to be a jack-of-all-trades within the organization; from facilitating daily operational tasks to copy writing, editing, design, and collaborating within IFW brand Marketing and Social Media teams. Outside of business hours Christine enjoys running, photography, hiking, and quality time with her friends and family. 

Kelli Panique

Brand Marketer

Kelli is a proud graduate of the University of Redlands with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and a minor in Economics. Believing you should always say yes when asked if you want to learn something new, she has used her skills and experience in a variety of ways.  Kelli’s diverse resume includes store management at Disneyland, member support for online membership groups, producing podcasts, facilitating online workshops, and project management for online writing conferences.

Kelli has worked with the Institute for Writers since 2016 where she edits weekly newsletters and blogs, assembles the elements for kidlit and adult writing contests, produces the Picture Book Summit podcast and sets up weekly celebrations for our published graduates and contest winners in the IFW Winners’ Circle. In her free time, Kelli likes to read books and watch movies—and then look up trivia for said movies on IMDb, which makes her a great addition to any trivia team. 

Stacy Feifel, B.S. M.Ed.

Director of Academic Programs

Stacy has been with Direct Learning Systems since 2007 in various administrative and educational capacities. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Telecommunications from Kutztown University and a Masters’ Degree in Education with a specialization in Instructional Design and Technology from the American College of Education. Her responsibilities include assisting the Director of Education, leading the educational and development team to construct and revise various educational material for the school, and working with the school’s administration to ensure that educational programs meet accreditation standards. She is also the administrator of the school’s online learning management system. Stacy also provides educational assistance to students with a special concentration on our veteran, military, and military spouse population.  In her free time, Stacy enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with family.

Michele Long

Director of Regulatory and Compliance

Michele joined Direct Learning Systems as Director of Regulatory & Compliance working with the management team maintaining and ensuring compliance with licensure and accreditation standards. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Pennsylvania State University, a Diploma in Network Engineering Technology Administration credentialed as a Certified Network Administrator (C.N.A.) and Certified Network Engineer (C.N.E.), and a Master’s Degree in Higher Education with a concentration in Strategic Leadership from Messiah University. Michele has held various positions in higher education, responsible for national and programmatic accreditation and compliance, online and residential program development, and leadership of several major programs at a regional college. Michele created a student enrichment program that received national recognition by the College Board and was awarded Educator of the Year by the Optimist Club. Outside of work, Michele enjoys spending time with her family, watching the Phils, and traveling to Cape May, New Jersey.

Anthony Germani

Admissions Advisor | Student Services Representative

Anthony is a Penn State graduate where he majored in Education. Professionally, he has worked in both education in sales.  At Direct Learning Systems, Inc., he collaborates with marketing and student service teams to improve prospective student communications. As an Admissions Advisor, he offers guidance and assistance regarding course offerings, career paths, military benefits, payment plan options, and the enrollment process. Anthony also answers questions about the school, accreditation, and certification to help potential students decide whether the school is a good fit for them. Outside of work, Anthony enjoys spending time with his family and enjoys playing/watching sports (especially basketball and golf).

Madeline Erk

Student Service Representative

Madeline graduated from Liberty University with a major in Strategic Communication and minors in Graphic Design and Business. She was a member of PRSSA while in college. Madeline interned full-time at Clear Channel Airports as a Marketing & Creative Intern in the summer of 2022. At Direct Learning Systems, Inc., her role involves writing and editing content as well as assisting students. On the weekends, Madeline enjoys volunteering in children’s ministry, hiking, and spending time with family.

Syd Vincent

Student Service Representative

Syd graduated from Susquehanna University with a dual degree in Creative Writing and Publishing & Editing and a minor in International Studies. Growing up in a rural town, she understands the need for affordable and accessible education for everyone, no matter the circumstances. At Direct Learning Systems Inc., she uses her writing and communication abilities to assist students and their supporters. Outside of work, Syd likes to play ice hockey, do puzzles, and work on her various writing projects.

Shannon Jacobs

Social Media & Advertising Manager | Student Services Representative

Shannon is a 2021 graduate of Kutztown University with a bachelor’s in Social Media Theory & Strategy with a minor in communication studies. She also earned an associates in graphic design from Lehigh Carbon Community College (LCCC). Shannon’s role in her internship at WebFX in Harrisburg was a social media specialist – account manager. There she managed multiple client accounts, created content designs, brand awareness, content calendars, and social media strategies. In Shannon’s free time, she enjoys the gym, listening to music, painting, and spending time with friends.

Yolanda Brooks

Finance Assistant | Student Services Representative

Yolanda has over 15+ years of experience working in several different capacities as an Administrative Assistant including , customer service, bookkeeping, and office manager. Prior to joining Direct Learning Systems., she worked as a Legal Assistant where she was the face of voice for Feingold and Alpert, a Tax Law Firm located in New York.  At DLS, Yolanda’s role includes working in two different departments – Student Service and Finance where she provides student support through emails and phone calls in addition to assisting our Finance Department in various tasks.

In her free time, Yolanda loves to read, specifically books written by Terry Brooks.  She also enjoys cooking, going to museums, writing poetry, (something she’s done since grade school) traveling, and exploring different cultures. 

Tammy Kromer

Mail Room Manager | Student Services Representative

Tammy has over 20 years of experience in customer service and began at Direct Learning Systems in the fall of 2001.  As a seasoned Student Service Representative, Tammy serves as a mentor to the staff.  Her responsibilities include processing student enrollments, exams, payments, assignments, and graduation documents.  She also assures each student has the appropriate course resources. Tammy assists in various duties including finances. Outside of work she enjoys playing games, knitting, and spending time with her family.

Cameron Kilpatrick

Shipping Associate | Student Services Representative

Cameron is a graduate of Lehigh Carbon Community College with an associate degree in Liberal Arts. Currently working on his bachelor’s degree at Bloomsburg University, he is studying to be an Anthropologist. Professionally, he has worked at Staples, Inc. in both sales and customer service. At Direct Learning Systems, Inc., Cam’s administrative role includes processing student exams, assignments, proof of education, and student surveys. He also assists in the mail room, processing student shipments and letters. Outside of work, Cam enjoys camping and exploring nature, specifically geology, minerology, and herpetology.

Richard Scutt

Shipping Associate | Student Services Representative

Richard, a Military & Iraq war veteran, brings Direct Learning Systems his hands-on experience in management, logistics, and customer service. While serving in the Army, he was awarded several service and combat medals. He used the GI Bill to attend Lincoln Technical Institute, where he studied electronic engineering. Richard leveraged his military experience and education to secure a position in international shipping at Access Global Logistics Limited. Remaining in the transportation and warehouse industry, Richard took a manager position at National Acoustics. He has also worked for both UPS and the United States Postal Service. At DLS, Richard’s role includes working in two different departments ‑ Student Services and Shipping. In his spare time, Richard volunteers at nursing homes and supports autism charities. In addition to spending time with family and friends, he enjoys traveling.

Denise Di Benard

Digital Production | Print Specialists

Denise studied Elementary Education at West Chester University and later pursued an Associates degree in Graphic Design at Delaware County Community College. She has many years of experience in print and design. At DLS her duties include printing student learning materials, maintaining warehouse inventory, shipping and receiving. Denise enjoys cooking, craft beer, kayaking, biking, running, and gardening and also volunteers as a trail steward with the National Park Service.

Morgan Laney

Graphic + Web Designer

Morgan is a Marshall University graduate where she majored in Fine Arts with an emphasis in Graphic Design. At BCI, her responsibilities include graphic + web design and assisting our Marketing Department with design assets. Outside of work, Morgan enjoys spending time with her family, including her two Boston Terriers, going to the movies (especially the drive-in) and painting.

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1000 N. West Street #1200, Wilmington, DE 19801

© 2024 Direct Learning Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.

Licensure & Memberships

Recommended for college credits by the Connecticut Board for State Academic Awards

College credits obtained through Charter Oak State College

Approved as a private business and trade school in the state of Delaware

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© 2024 Direct Learning Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.


1000 N. West Street #1200, Wilmington, DE 19801

© 2024 Direct Learning Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. 

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