Elizabeth Brands Vereecke
Executive Director TulsaWith experience as a classroom teacher and as a fundraising and education policy professional, Elizabeth is passionate about ensuring every student has access to high-quality education opportunities. Elizabeth arrived in Tulsa as a fifth-grade teacher through the Alliance for Catholic Education Service through Teaching program and later taught middle school language arts and reading. After leaving the classroom, Elizabeth created the first director of development position for under-resourced private schools in the city, where she worked on capital campaigns, annual appeals, and donor cultivation. Prior to joining Reading Partners, Elizabeth served as a program officer at Tulsa Community Foundation, where she managed donor relationships with the foundation’s over 900 donor-advised funds and 300 agency funds, administered education programs to serve surrounding public school districts, and collaborated with a diverse array of funders to build consensus around priority needs in the community. Elizabeth is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a master’s in education and holds an executive doctoral degree in educational administration, curriculum, and supervision from the University of Oklahoma. She is the vice president and founding board member of Collegiate Hall, a Building Excellent Schools charter school, and is a member of the Tulsa Area United Way Community Investment Committee.
Community Engagement AssociateLordly Beard is a proud native of Tulsa, OK! With a passion for education in urban areas, Lordly studied at Missouri Southern State University. After many successful years at KIPP Tulsa, Lordly quickly developed a passion for continuously raising achievement for students. Lordly became part of the onboarding and recruiting team with Tulsa Public Schools to bring excellent teachers to the district.
Development ManagerElizabeth Edwards graduated from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 2012. Upon receiving her Bachelor of Arts in communications, she began working at a nonprofit in Tulsa. In January of 2016, she joined Reading Partners in hopes to work upstream of the many issues impacting the Tulsa community. The shift in reading to learn is crucial to developing lifelong learners through a passion for reading, thus enabling students to reach their full potential.
Program ManagerBorn and raised in the Midwest, Ashley moved to Oklahoma in 2007 where she went to the University of Oklahoma, met her husband, and is here to stay. After volunteering with the United Way in OKC tutoring kindergarteners, Ashley found her passion and joined Reading Partners Tulsa as a site coordinator at Celia Clinton Elementary. Ashley is currently getting her master's degree in public administration at the University of Oklahoma - Tulsa.
Program ManagerBefore joining Reading Partners, Lindsey worked for eight years as a speech pathologist and brings a unique set of experiences to the Reading Partners Tulsa team. Her first loves were language and reading. As a program manager, she will work to instill that love of reading in students. Lindsey also founded Nerdy Girls Tulsa, a women-focused organization whose mission is to create intelligent community in Tulsa and make our city a better place. When she's not working, Lindsey enjoys reading, running, music, and spending time with her husband and two dogs.
Community Engagement AssociateUpon graduating from Oral Roberts University, Rebecka worked for her alma mater for several years in the Alumni Relations office and later the University Relations office. Though she left the world of academia for a brief adventure doing HR in the world of retail, she was overjoyed to join the Reading Partners team in the summer of 2016. Her favorite childhood books were The Berenstain Bears series, and she is currently enjoying a phase favoring classic literature. She and her husband are the proud parents of Titus, a charming and energetic Bull Terrier.
Manager of Literacy InterventionsBrandy Jones graduated from Northeastern State University with a master's degree in reading education and is a certified reading specialist. She has worked in both Tulsa Public Schools and Union Public Schools as a reading specialist. Brandy understands the value of teaching literacy skills to students at a very early age. She believes that when low-income students build strong literacy skills in their early childhood years, they will be better equipped to be successful throughout primary and secondary school, graduate high school, go to college, find a career they truly enjoy, and not live in poverty as adults. Brandy is proud to work with the Reading Partners team to ensure that all students have the literacy skills they need to succeed in school and in life.
Community Engagement CoordinatorMarisa Morgan graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2014 with a degree in communication and a minor in writing. She worked in journalism for two years and is happy to have found herself in the nonprofit world. She considers herself a Tulsa native even though she moved here when she was eight years old. Marisa is happy to share the joy of reading with children in a city she loves.
Program ManagerLauren Murray graduated from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland, with a bachelor’s degree in English. She left her hometown of Centreville, Maryland, for Tulsa, Oklahoma, to pursue her career in the nonprofit sector. She served two years as an AmeriCorps member with Reading Partners and loved the mission of the organization so much that she decided to stay. Lauren is currently pursuing her master’s in public administration at the University of Oklahoma - Tulsa so that she can continue to learn about the nonprofit sector and how to make a difference in the community.
Community Engagement CoordinatorBrenna Peterson graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor's degree in communication sciences and disorders, focusing specifically on deaf education and deaf studies. She has previous experience with volunteer management, ranging from nonprofit work at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in Tulsa to organic farming at Johnson's Backyard Garden in Austin, Texas. Brenna is honored and excited to continue learning and growing in the role of community engagement coordinator. In her free time, you can find Brenna reading, playing in the sun, shopping at the farmer's' market, or two-stepping!
Director of External RelationsJessica Risenhoover joined Reading Partners in 2014 as community engagement manager. Prior to Reading Partners, Jessica worked in public relations with nonprofit clients at Saxum, a regional integrated marketing communications agency. Jessica has a bachelor’s in public relations from Oklahoma State University.
Program ManagerTammy Robbins is a graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana. She worked as a middle school science teacher in south Texas and a missionary teacher in Mexico before coming to Reading Partners. She moved to Tulsa and began working at Reading Partners as a site coordinator in 2015. She believes that literacy is the key for future academic success for children and that it allows students to have better opportunities in life.
Deputy Director of ProgramAndrea Stacy graduated from Northeastern State University with a degree in elementary education. After college she taught sixth-grade math for three years at Gilcrease Middle School and has spent the last six years teaching third through fifth grade at Marshall Elementary in Tulsa Public Schools. She has spent the past few years growing professionally as the internal behavior coach, serving on the child study team, and acting as teacher in charge at Marshall Elementary School. Andrea is very excited to be deputy director of program for Reading Partners Colorado and to have the opportunity to continue her work with Tulsa Public School students. Andrea’s love of reading is credited to her favorite childhood author Peg Kahret.
Program ManagerDana Whittaker graduated from Northeastern State University in 2007 with a degree in elementary education. After college she taught fourth grade at a Title I Tulsa Public School. After teaching Dana moved on to become program manager for Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma. She is very excited to be a program manager for Reading Partners and to make a difference in her community through literacy. Her favorite book growing up was To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
AmeriCorps & VISTA Team
Ben Stewart (Chair), Program Officer, George Kaiser Family Foundation
Dr. Keith Ballard, Director of Professional Development & Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Oklahoma
Dr. Kim Boyd, Associate Professor and Dean of the College of Education, Oral Roberts University
Susan Bynum, University of Tulsa law student
Ann Farrow, Community Volunteer
Errick Greene, Chief of Schools, Tulsa Public Schools
Omare Jimmerson, Tulsa Public Schools
Fred Lawler, Sr. Vice President Service Delivery, Level 3 Communications
April McAnnally, Community Volunteer
Dennis Neill, Senior Program Officer, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation
Connie Pearson, Gateway Mortgage
Susan Pennington, Community Volunteer
Kaci Skidgel, Executive Vice President, Corporate Retirement Plans, Summit Financial Group
Kathy Taylor, City of Tulsa