Our executive team
Reading Partners is headquartered in Oakland, CA, with program offices in each of the cities we serve throughout the US. To learn more about our program and leadership in the cities we serve, see our regional pages.
Interim CEO & Chief People OfficerJessica grew up in the rural foothills of Northern California, where only a third of her high school peers graduated college-ready. Jessica attended Sonoma State University as a first generation college student and earned her bachelor's degree in gender studies and sociology in 1999. This experience made her acutely aware and determined to make an impact on the pervasive lack of opportunities and education available to many children. After college, Jessica ran the education and community outreach department at Verity of Sonoma County, where she developed a comprehensive sexual violence prevention education curriculum for youth that is still widely used in Sonoma County schools. In 2002, Jessica joined Summer Search North Bay as a program associate and rapidly advanced to become the executive director and then national COO. Under Jessica’s leadership, Summer Search was named one of the 50 best nonprofits to work for by the Nonprofit Times for three years running. In 2007, Jessica participated in strategic perspectives on nonprofit management at Harvard Business School, and was named a Gap Inc. Leadership Fellow for three years in a row. Jessica is excited to bring her passion for growing people and her experience in entrepreneurial, high-growth nonprofits to Reading Partners.
Chief Financial OfficerMike has been serving the educational non-profit sector for over 10 years. After working in the tech sector for a number of years, Mike joined Aspire Public Schools as their CFO in 2004. Over the next 7 years, he oversaw Aspire’s growth from 10 schools serving 3,000 children to 30 schools serving 10,000 children. Since leaving Aspire in 2011, Mike has served as interim CFO for a variety of educational non-profits at various stages of their life cycle, including StudentsFirst, Oakland Schools Foundation (now the Oakland Public Education Fund), Envision Education, and College Track. Mike has also done consulting for a number of other organizations over the past few years. Mike lives in Oakland with his wife and two children, both of whom proudly attend public schools in Oakland.
Vice President, DevelopmentHagar Berlin serves as Reading Partners' national vice president of development. In that role, she leads fundraising efforts for the organization, including raising $3 million for national strategic projects and supporting 14 regions to raise an additional $27 million through a diverse pool of sources. Hagar's first joy in life was getting lost in the pages of a book as a young child in Queens, New York. That love of reading drove Hagar to earn her bachelor's in English at Wesleyan University and, later, a masters in Education from Stanford University.ReadHagar’s career has focused on fundraising and leadership of high quality literacy and education programs for low-income students. Before joining Reading Partners, Hagar was the executive director of Summer Search San Francisco. Before that, Hagar was a development director at Jumpstart. Hagar lives in Brookline, Massachusetts, with her husband, Jon, and two young daughters, Hana and Eden (who already love books).
Chief Marketing & Mobilization OfficerChristy Dobbs has over fourteen years of experience growing brands and creating new businesses at leading consumer packaged goods companies and retailers. Prior to joining Reading Partners, Christy held various marketing positions at Safeway, The Campbell Soup Company, and The Clorox Company leading innovation, strategy and brand management for various leading and emerging brands.Read
She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley and her master of business administration degree from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. She is an avid traveler, outdoor enthusiast, and strong believer in the importance of great public education.
Chief Knowledge OfficerSince 2011, Dean has guided Reading Partners’ curriculum, program development, and evidence-based practices, including the design and oversight of internal and third-party research and evaluation studies. He is committed to improving the lives of children in under-resourced neighborhoods, and for the past 20 years has held various roles in nonprofit leadership, program development and evaluation, and K-12 data analysis and policy. Dean also has experience in advisory roles for nonprofit and city-wide data and evaluation boards. Dean has a joint master’s degree from Tufts University in child development and urban & environmental policy and a bachelor's degree in political science from Duke University.
Susan Werly Slater
Senior Vice President of Regional OperationsSusan brings 15 years of experience in direct service, program management, executive leadership, and organizational strategy. For ten years prior to joining Reading Partners, Susan worked for Jumpstart, a national early education nonprofit organization, where she most recently served as the chief program officer. Susan’s other roles at Jumpstart included executive director of the northeast region as well as program director and site manager. Throughout her tenure, Susan built Jumpstart’s profile in Massachusetts as one of the top organizations serving young children. Susan is a graduate of McDaniel College and has a master's in child development from Tufts University. Susan was a member of the 2007 Schott Fellowship in Early Care and Education, a one-year public policy leadership program. She is also a graduate of LeadBoston and in 2011, Susan received Boston Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Award.
Our board of directors
ChairDan Carroll retired as a partner of TPG Capital in January 2011, after a 15 year career at the firm. He joined TPG’s San Francisco office in 1995 and was a founder of the firm’s Asian operations (formerly Newbridge Capital) where as Managing Partner he was responsible for raising and investing five investment funds with over $7 billion in committed capital, as well as building the firm’s Asia-based investment teams. Dan moved with his family to Hong Kong between 2005 and 2008 following the merger of Newbridge and TPG, where he ran the firm’s Asian operations.Read
Prior to 1995, he spent nine years with Hambrecht & Quist Group, where he was involved in the development of the firm’s private equity investment operations in Asia. In that role he was based in Bangkok in 1990/91 and Hong Kong between 1993 and 1995. Dan holds a BA in Economics magna cum laude from Harvard University and an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Dan and his wife Stasia Obremskey have three children: Will, Peter and Grace. Dan currently serves on a number of nonprofit boards, including Teach For America – Bay Area, the Blum Center for Developing Economies at Berkeley, Be The Change, and University High School.
Vice ChairWalter Elcock retired in April of 2013 from Bank of America after 39 years in management, ranging across Human Resources, Operations, and Retail Banking. Most recently, he managed the 5,000 Retail Branches across the country as well as the Market President network. He also served as President, Bank of America Texas. Walter has been a member of the Board of Trustees for the Dallas Museum of Art over the last 10 years, serving in the capacities of Chair and President as well as leading Development and Audit Committees. He is also a Board Member of the State Fair of Texas. His wife Laura has served as a member of the Reading Partners Dallas board for the past two years.Read
Walter and Laura are both graduates of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and have two daughters, Hilah in Mill Valley, CA and Catherine in Brooklyn, NY. They have four grandchildren: Jasper, Elsa, and Luke in Mill Valley and Holden in Brooklyn.
SecretaryStephanie is Managing Director at Goldman Sachs and a senior member of the Industrial Department and the Merger Leadership Group in the Investment Banking Division (IBD). In 2008, she managed Conflicts and Business Selection for IBD in the Americas. Prior to that, she was a vice president from 2004 to 2007 in the Industrial Department and Merger Leadership Group in San Francisco. Earlier in her career, Stephanie worked in New York in the Mergers and Acquisitions Department. Stephanie was named to Fortune Magazine's 2015 40 Under 40 list, the publication's annual ranking of the most influential young people in business.
TreasurerBrad Creswell is partner and co-founder-NCA Partners, LLC, a leading Pacific Northwest based private equity firm with over 20 years of experience successfully partnering with entrepreneurs, business owners, and management teams. NCA Partners specializes in buying and building industrial services businesses in northwest North America and currently manages $150 million of equity invested in four portfolio companies. He is currently on the boards of two privately held portfolio companies, NC Services Group and PTW Energy Services, Ltd. and on the board of Northern Frontier Corporation, a publicly listed company on the TSX Venture exchange (Toronto Stock Exchange).Read
Brad also serves on the Northwest regional board of Thrivent Financial, a Fortune 500 financial services firm. Prior to joining NCA, he worked at Bankers Trust (subsequently acquired by Deutsche Bank) in the corporate finance department in New York City. Creswell started his career in the audit department of Arthur Young, where he earned his CPA. Brad holds a bachelor of arts from the University of Puget Sound and an MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. He lives in Seattle with his wife of 32 years and they have two grown boys.
Kristyn Klei BorreroCommitted to transforming urban education, Dr. Kristyn Klei Borrero has 20 years of experience in urban education. Kristyn is the CEO and co-founder of the Center for Transformative Teacher Training (CTTT). CTTT’s work focuses on transforming the practices of teachers, coaches and school administrators to become more culturally relevant and positively impact school achievement through the use of real-time coaching technologies. Prior to co-founding CTTT, Kristyn was a classroom teacher in Ohio and California, where she became the principal of an independent, urban charter school at age 27.Read
She was the turn-around principal of East Palo Alto Charter School and the founding principal of Berkeley Maynard Academy in Oakland. Both schools were recognized for exceeding state academic benchmarks. As director of innovation at Aspire Public Schools she was responsible for securing a $60 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In her role as interim area superintendent at Aspire, she also provided direct support and coaching for in-service principals. She has a doctorate from University of California, Berkeley in Educational Leadership.
Susan HayesSince 1996, Susan has served as president and CEO of ReSurge. As president, she ushered ReSurge through a strategic evolution from a direct service organization to one that also educates overseas medical professionals and builds the permanent surgical capacity in developing countries. Susan came to ReSurge with 15 years of management, fundraising and media experience in public broadcasting, including serving as vice president for development and publicity for the Western New York Public Broadcasting Association. Previously, Susan was a political science instructor at Syracuse University and the University of South Carolina, and a project manager for public policy think tank, Syracuse Research Corporation.Read
Since 2009, Susan has served on the board of directors of InterAction, the largest alliance of US-based international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) focused on the world’s poor and most vulnerable people. She also is a member of the steering committee for the NGO Leadership Institute at the Moynihan Institute for Global Affairs at the Maxwell School, Syracuse University. In addition, Susan serves on the board of Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Gatos.
Harris LarneyHarris is committed to improving the educational experience of schools and students nationwide. He currently serves as the CEO of E-Therapy, a market leading tele-therapy company, providing speech tele-therapy services to schools and students across America. He has an extensive history of working with, and building, new businesses across several markets, including education technology, mobile applications, and interactive media. He is an active investor in the early stage technology market. He previously worked as the CFO/CDO of a $100M mobile media company; Motorola, where he launched mobile solutions worldwide; and IllinoisVentures, a seed technology venture capital fund. He holds an MBA from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business and a MA & BA in history from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Andrea RiceAndrea Rice is the President and Co-Founder of CareerCore, an early stage technology company that drives better career outcomes for individuals at every stage of their career. Prior to CareerCore, Andrea spent several years as a senior Wall Street executive. She was a Managing Director in equity research at Deutsche Bank, E*Offering, and Volpe Brown Whelan (acquired by Prudential) and was one of the first Wall Street analysts to cover the consumer Internet companies including Yahoo, Excite, Lycos, Infoseek, CNET, and AOL. Andrea was a frequent contributor on CNBC, CNN and in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Businessweek, and Fortune.Read
Andrea also advised technology-focused hedge fund Camelot Capital on their Internet investments, and drove key elements of Stanford University’s MediaX initiative that fosters collaborative research between multinational corporations and Stanford professors. Early in her career, she worked as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company and Theodore Barry & Associates in Los Angeles. Andrea received her MBA from Stanford Business School and her bachelor’s degree with honors from Yale University, where she was an All-Ivy tennis player. She serves on the Leadership Council of NewSchools Venture Fund, a leader in the transformation of public schools, and on the board of Reading Partners, a national nonprofit focused on improving literacy among low income K-5 students. A native of Los Angeles, she currently lives in Bethesda, Maryland with her husband and two children.
Mark S. SextonMark Sexton is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Inflection Energy LLC, a privately-funded natural gas production company he founded in 2008. Inflection’s principal assets are in Pennsylvania and New York, focusing on shale gas development from the Marcellus formation. Inflection strives to be an environmentally responsible developer in the communities in which it operates. From 1995 to 2004, Mark served as the Chairman, CEO and President of Evergreen Resources Inc., an NYSE publicly-traded independent energy company, which specialized in developing coal bed methane in southern Colorado.Read
During Mark’s tenure as CEO, Evergreen’s market valuation grew from $30 million to $2.2 billion at the time of merger with Pioneer Natural Resources in 2004. Subsequent to the merger, Mark continued as a director of Pioneer until 2009. Mark joined Evergreen Resources in 1989 through a merger of companies. Prior to Evergreen, Mark was employed in various technical, financial and management positions with Amoco Production Company, Norwest Bank and energy companies specifically targeting coal bed methane development. Mark is a past president of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association, and past director of several industry trade organizations. Mark has been a registered professional engineer in Colorado.
He graduated from Stanford University in 1978 with a BS degree in mechanical engineering. Mark remains engaged with several nonprofit organizations throughout Colorado. Currently, he is the regional chairman for Reading Partners Colorado, board chair for Energy Outreach Colorado, a trustee for the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, director on the Evergreen Country Day School Board, board of trustees for ACE (Alliance for Choice in Education) and board director for the Mountain States Legal Foundation. Additionally, he serves as a current mentor for the Denver Petroleum Club Mentoring Program. Mr. Sexton takes advantage of the Colorado lifestyle and enjoys skiing, hiking, climbing and kayaking, and once in a while gets away for scuba diving and adventure travel.
Jamie SlaughterJamie Slaughter is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School and a partner at Keker & Van Nest LLP, a San Francisco-based law firm. His practice focuses on intellectual property, professional negligence and general commercial litigation. Jamie served for three years as a Mayoral appointee on the San Francisco Police Commission. In addition to Reading Partners, he currently serves on the boards of directors of Legal Services for Children, the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco, and The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation.
Jeremy SmithJeremy Smith currently serves as vice president of Rainwater Inc. and executive director of charitable services where he directs the foundation’s giving in education and medical research. Prior to joining Rainwater, Smith worked in management consulting at McKinsey & Company and DenuoSource, LLC. Smith serves as a board member at Lumin Education, Dallas Zero to Five Funders Collaborative, TFA DFW Board of Advisors, First 3 Years, the FW Education Foundation, and the Texas Christian University Board of Visitors. Smith is a graduate of the Harvard Business School and the Harvard Divinity School. He received his bachelor's of science in engineering from the University of Arkansas.
Our curriculum advisors
In February 2013, Reading Partners launched its curriculum advisory committee to ensure reading and literacy experts share their knowledge and experience with evidence-based practices to guide regular revisions to its curriculum and instructional practices. The committee is led by Chief Knowledge Officer Dean Elson.
David Chard, Ph.D.
Southern Methodist UniversityDr. Chard is dean of the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development at Southern Methodist University. He has held faculty positions at Boston University and the University of Texas at Austin, and served as associate dean in the College of Education at the University of Oregon. At Oregon, he oversaw curriculum and academic programs in the College of Education. He also was a California public school teacher and a Peace Corps educator in Lesotho, Africa. Dr. Chard’s work as a co-principal investigator on reading aloud curricula in first-grade classrooms has been awarded $3.8 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Education. A principal investigator for several federal research projects in reading and math curricula, Dr. Chard is also an advisor on the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ). He holds a Ph.D. in special education from the University of Oregon.
Nell Duke, Ed.D.
University of MichiganDr. Duke is a professor of literacy, language, and culture, and a member of the International Reading Association’s (IRA) Literacy Research Panel. Dr. Duke’s work focuses on early literacy development, particularly among children living in poverty. Her specific areas of expertise include development of informational reading and writing in young children, comprehension development and instruction in early schooling, and issues of equity in literacy education. Dr. Duke received her doctoral degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. She is the recipient of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Early Career Award as well as awards from the Literacy Research Association, the National Council of Teachers of English, and the International Reading Association. She currently serves as co-principal investigator on projects funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, the National Science Foundation, and the Spencer Foundation.
Jeannette Mancilla-Martinez, Ed.D.
University of California-Irvine
Dr. Mancilla-Martinez is an assistant professor at the University of California-Irvine where her research focuses on the connection between students’ language and literacy development. Her work focuses on students with low language and literacy skills, students from low-income homes, immigrant children, and language minority learners. Dr. Mancilla-Martinez has presented her work widely at professional conferences, domestically and internationally, including the American Educational Research Association, the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, the Society for Research in Child Development, and the National Dual Language Institute. In addition, she is the co-author of Teaching Vocabulary to English Language Learners. She holds degrees in language and literacy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and began her career as an elementary school teacher in Los Angeles.
Donna Scanlon, Ph.D.
University at Albany, State University of New YorkDr. Scanlon is a professor at the University at Albany, where her research has focused on the characteristics of children who experience substantial difficulty in learning to read and on how to prevent and remediate reading difficulties. She has been a member of the Reading Department faculty since 2000, and affiliated with the University’s Child Research and Study Center (CRSC) for many years. The CRSC is an organized research center that focuses primarily on reading development and reading difficulties. She and her colleagues have developed an approach to early literacy instruction and intervention, the Interactive Strategies Approach (ISA), which has been found to be effective in reducing the incidence of reading difficulties in the early primary grades. Most of Dr. Scanlon’s research has been supported by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the United States Department of Education. Dr. Scanlon has presented both locally and nationally on Response to Intervention (RtI), is the author of several recent publications on the topic, and is a member of the International Reading Association’s RtI Task Force.