Karen A. Gardner
Senior Executive Director, Washington, DCKaren joined Reading Partners in 2015. She brings 12 years of experience leading high-performing teams in the nonprofit sector, driven by the desire to close the opportunity gap for low-income students. Early in her career, she taught pre-K and served as an AmeriCorps member in Washington, DC with Higher Achievement, an academic enrichment program for middle school students. She stayed with Higher Achievement for five years after her AmeriCorps term as the organization prepared for national expansion. Most notably, she created Higher Achievement's volunteer management department from the ground up and co-authored the organization's signature culture policy. Before joining Reading Partners, Karen served as a program manager at Family Services of Western PA, where she was responsible for leading her teams to exceed statewide service-delivery goals and secured major, multi-year funding for the organization. Additionally, she managed a consulting practice for nonprofit and government entities, working primarily to develop systems for volunteer management, training, and HR management. Karen has a bachelor's degree in education from Ball State University and a master’s in business administration from The George Washington University with concentrations in organizational development and nonprofit management. She is a volunteer reading partner and a former advisory board member for Higher Achievement.
Community Engagement AssociateErika grew up in Woodbridge, Virginia and attended George Mason University where she majored in conflict analysis and resolution. She discovered her passion for service and education while volunteering in Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. This fueled her desire to give back to her own community in the United States and successfully complete four years of AmeriCorps service, two years with City Year and two years with Reading Partners as a site coordinator. Erika joined staff as the community engagement associate this year. She is also pursuing a master's in conflict analysis and resolution. Her favorite children's book is the Sky of Afghanistan.
Development DirectorCielo Contreras is a nonprofit fundraising professional with expertise and experience with youth-serving and education organizations. Prior to joining Reading Partners, Cielo was the director of development for the Spanish Education Development (SED) Center and worked as the development manager for local after-school programs including 826DC and DC SCORES. She also served as the special events chair of the board of directors of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network DC Chapter. Cielo has a master’s in public administration with a concentration in nonprofit management from The George Washington University and a bachelor’s in sociology from Rice University.
Program ManagerAbby’s passion for reading and literacy began at a young age as an only child who realized the world could open up through books and stories. Throughout college, Abby worked as a camp counselor and her desire to work with children began there. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Texas A&M University, she worked in both secondary and elementary schools as a reading and writing teacher. While teaching, she obtained a master’s degree in library and information sciences from the University of North Texas. After five years in the classroom, Abby worked as a school librarian. She is excited to have a larger impact on education and students with Reading Partners DC!
Program ManagerAnna Greenstone is happy to join Reading Partners DC as a program manager. Anna has worked with children and youth in settings ranging from the classroom to experiential learning programs in rural villages of Tanzania. Anna has spent the last three years as an elementary school teacher in DC. Before moving into the education field, Anna worked in refugee resettlement in Pittsburgh, PA, her hometown. Anna holds a Master of Science in Education in international educational development from the University of Pennsylvania and her bachelor’s in anthropology and Africana studies from the University of Pittsburgh.
Development AssociateDaniela is a nonprofit professional with experience in development, communications, project management and event planning. After she graduated from Masaryk University with degrees in environmental and gender studies, she managed an individual giving program at a grassroots nonprofit addressing environmental and social justice issues, coordinated a job training project serving an immigrant population, and organized International Women's Day events. Her extensive volunteer experience includes tutoring and participating in story time programs. Daniela is excited to join Reading Partners in advancing educational opportunities for kids from underserved communities.
Special Projects AssociateRoopa Kosuri is excited to join Reading Partners DC. She has worked in development and operations with acclaimed dance companies such as RIOULT in New York City and more recently, 277 Dance Project. She has her Bachelor in Fine Art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her Master in Fine Art from Parsons School of Design and has worked in several creative mediums including fashion, film, painting, installation, and printmaking. She continues to make and exhibit art. Roopa believes that learning to read is a major tool in a child’s creativity and is eager to bring her experience and creative perspective to help Reading Partners DC’s students.
Individual Giving ManagerA native of Los Angeles, California, Aurora first moved to Washington, DC to attend Howard University where she studied business. After graduating with a Bachelor of Business Adminstration in Management, she realized working with very young children was truly where her passion lies, so she moved back to Los Angeles and began a 20-year career as an early childhood and elementary school teacher. After moving back to Washington, DC, Aurora returned to the early childhood level, where in less than two years, she was promoted to Director of Development for an early childhood education center. She is thrilled to join Reading Partners and continue supporting children and education through the organization's fundraising efforts.
Program and Data AssociateAfter serving as an AmeriCorps site coordinator with Reading Partners DC for two years, Katie joins our team as our data and evaluation associate. Katie received her bachelor’s from Dickinson College where she studied international relations concentrating in national security. She also represented The Garden State as Miss New Jersey 2011 where she worked closely with children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Starting in 2008, she championed a project called Reading for the Right Reasons. The project’s goals were to build the personal libraries of students attending Title I schools in New Jersey and to get students excited about reading.
Programming DirectorRebecca Schmidt came to Reading Partners after eight years of teaching in DC Public Schools. She received a bachelor's from Grinnell College, Iowa, and a master's in education from George Washington University, and taught in traditional public, bilingual, and charter schools in DC. In each context, Rebecca helped guide students to become successful advocates for themselves and their communities, beginning with a strong foundation in literacy. Rebecca has worked as a program manager and senior program manager with Reading Parters since 2014, and is excited to serve even more students and schools in DC this year.
Community Engagement DirectorNaomi is thrilled to work with Reading Partners after serving two years as an AmeriCorps site and volunteer coordinator. She graduated with distinction from Stanford University with a major in comparative studies in race and ethnicity and a focus in public service. Her community-based honors thesis research explored how ethnicity, race, class, and neighborhood context shape students’ understandings of service and civic engagement. Naomi’s passion for service and education have led her to work with youth of all ages in Madrid, Cape Town, California, and northeast Washington, DC.
Program ManagerJoshua Vallejos graduated from Monmouth University in West Long Branch, New Jersey, with a bachelor’s in political science. After graduating, he did three years of service with AmeriCorps—one with City Year Denver and two with Reading Partners DC. Josh’s experience as a site coordinator increased his passion for education and the positive impact nonprofits can have on a community. During 2015-16, Josh worked as a program associate with Reading Partners North Texas and managed a portfolio of schools and AmeriCorps members. In July 2016, Joshua rejoined the DC team as a program manager and is excited to continue helping students become lifelong readers.
Program ManagerMegan Waters graduated from the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in political science and history. After working as a kindergarten aide, she realized the importance of early literacy intervention and joined Reading Partners Los Angeles as an AmeriCorps member. Born and raised in Maryland, she returned to the east coast to serve a second term with Reading Partners in Washington, DC. Megan is excited to continue her work with the incredible students and dedicated tutors of the thriving community of our nation’s capital.
Makia Green, Senior Volunteer Coordinator
Shawn Wilds, Senior Volunteer Coordinator
Rosa Bangura, Volunteer Coordinator
Maria McLean, Development and Communications Coordinator
Lisa Abualy, Site Coordinator
Kevin Walker, Site Coordinator
Jake Thomas, Site Coordinator
Alima Shaw, Site Coordinator
Erin Weber, Site Coordinator
Emily Clark, Site Coordinator
Christina Ruffin, Senior Site Coordinator
Billy Cerullo, Senior Site Coordinator
Kassia Massey, Site Coordinator
Ashley Williams, Site Coordinator
Patrick Lukulay, Site Coordinator
Alonna Rankin, Senior Site Coordinator
Krystal Gilmore, Site Coordinator
Shani Campbell, Site Coordinator
Amber Cilitti, Site Coordinator
Jordan Kelly, Senior Site Coordinator
Erika Brosnihan, Senior Site Coordinator
Anna Rabideau, Site Coordinator
Taylor Hicks, Senior Site Coordinator
Rebecca Ackerman, Site Coordinator
Kim Cassada, Senior Regional Site Coordinator
Kat Riley, Regional Site Coordinator
Alexi Stewart, Regional Site Coordinator
Jessi Courier, Regional Site Coordinator
Samantha Kendall, Regional Site Coordinator
Goutham Reddy, Literacy Lead
Donna Aguilar, Literacy Lead
Sara Reyes, Senior Literacy Lead
Justin Johnson, Literacy Lead
Amalia Mendoza, Literacy Lead
Helene Pinto, Literacy Lead
Esthella Kamara, Literacy Lead
Jade Jackson, Literacy Lead
Cindy Amuzie, Literacy Lead
Kortney Hall, Literacy Lead
Johnesha Warren, Literacy Lead
Sade Oseni, Literacy Lead
Cindy Saavedra, Literacy Lead
Brae Blackley, founder and president of Premier Sports Productions, LLC, left a promising career in corporate law to follow her dream for a national women’s half marathon event series. Brae founded ZOOMA in July 2007, working at a makeshift desk in a coffee shop. Now, ZOOMA is a growing national series of women’s running events with a booming following among active women and an exciting line up of events in cities across the US. In 2005, Brae and her husband, Seth, founded a nonprofit humanitarian organization dedicated to improving the lives of the people in a village in The Gambia, West Africa. Since its founding, Friends of Penyem, the organization founded by Brae and Seth, has funded over 25 scholarships, built a village library, and funded a solar-powered water system to bring clean water to the village.
Brae earned her juris doctorate from The George Washington Law School in Washington, DC and her Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to founding Premier Sports, Brae worked as a corporate transactional attorney at Ropes & Gray LLC in Boston. She lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband, Seth, and two daughters, Davis and Drew, and son, Jack.
Robert (Rob) Clayman has been a partner in the DC law firm of Guerrieri, Clayman, Bartos, Parcelli & Roma since 1988, primarily representing unions in the airline and railroad industries. He began his legal career as an attorney with the migrant and seasonal farm workers office of Georgia Legal Services and has continued to work on behalf of labor unions and the employees they represent. Rob has also served as in-house counsel for the Association of Flight Attendants. He is a graduate of Tufts University, and earned his juris doctorate from Emory University School of Law.
Rob has been a tutor with Reading Partners since 2011, primarily at Seaton Elementary School (and prior to 2013 at Community Academy Public Charter School, Butler Campus). His son is a principal at a KIPP school here in DC and his daughter-in-law is an award-winning teacher at DCPS.
Lois has been a dedicated supporter of Reading Partners since 2014 as a volunteer and donor. She joined the board in 2016 and currently chairs the sustainability committee and is a member of the program and partnerships committee. Prior to her retirement in 2009, Lois was an injury epidemiologist with the National Center for Health Statistics for 32 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree from The George Washington University and a master’s degree from Georgetown University. She is a past member of the Georgetown Day School board of trustees, having served during the years her two sons attended the school. In addition to her commitments to Reading Partners, Lois serves on the Adas Israel social action committee currently as chair of the gun violence prevention team, is a Theater J council member, and records books for the visually impaired through Learning Ally. Lois and her husband Michael are both Reading Partners volunteers, Nationals season ticket holders, and theater enthusiasts. They have two sons, David and Josh, who live in Colorado and California, respectively.
Tina L. Fletcher holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and African American studies from the University of Arkansas and a master’s degree in secondary teacher education from Harvard University. She served as a social studies teacher at Anacostia Senior High School in Washington, D.C. where she was named the 2010 Teacher of the Year. She then served as a fundraiser raising over $20 million for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign in addition to raising over $300 thousand for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital on behalf of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies. Tina has interned with the Southern Education Foundation, the Congressional Black Caucus and in the Office of the First Lady Michelle Obama. Her work experience also includes serving as a community engagement manager and director for the city of Washington, D.C. and its school system. Tina has also served as an elected official for Washington, D.C.’s Anacostia neighborhood where she helped move forward several economic development projects that are now revitalizing the entire community. She was most recently named a rising political leader by EmPower Magazine. Tina is entering her third year as a Reading Partners DC volunteer at Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School in Ward 8 where she resides.
Simone Frederick is the First Lady of Howard University. Born in Trinidad and Tobago, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science and management from the University of West Indies. Professionally, she has worked in the healthcare information technology industry. Simone is passionate about education, community service, and the arts. Mrs. Frederick is a member of The Metropolitan DC Chapter of The Links Inc., which is a women’s volunteer service organization committed to enriching, sustaining, and ensuring the cultural and economic survival of the African American community. Simone is married to Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick, a surgeon, scholar, and Howard University’s 17th President,. They reside in Cabin John, Maryland.
Faith Gibson Hubbard
In May 2015, Faith Gibson Hubbard was appointed as the chief student advocate for the Office of the Student Advocate, an independent office in the DC State Board of Education. As a former public school teacher, Faith is a passionate education advocate who has served in many capacities including: as the former president of the Ward Five Council on Education and as a member of the advisory committee for the student assignment and school boundaries review process for the District of Columbia Public Schools. Currently, Faith serves as a board member of the DC Public Library board of library trustees and as a member of the Mayor’s DC Cross-Sector Collaboration Taskforce. Faith is currently pursuing her doctorate in public policy from the Center for Public Administration & Policy at Virginia Tech where her dissertation focuses on community engagement and shared decision-making processes in public education planning. Faith holds a Masters of Public Administration from Old Dominion University (Norfolk, VA) and a Bachelor of Arts in communications/public relations from Georgia State University (Atlanta, GA). Faith is a proud DC resident who lives in the Woodridge neighborhood in Ward 5 with her husband and son.
Harry Jaffe has been a reporter for over five decades, covering the local Washington region, honing in on politics, true crime, and media. As Washingtonian’s national editor from 1990 on, he won many awards for investigative feature writing. Harry’s exposé of toxic waste pits from World War I in DC’s Spring Valley triggered a $300-million ongoing cleanup. With WRC-TV reporter Tom Sherwood, Harry co-authored Dream City: Race, Power and the Decline of Washington, DC, the definitive account of Washington’s emergence as a world-class city, with Marion Barry as the main character. Harry also collaborated with school reformer Michelle Rhee on Radical, her memoir and take on education in America. He followed that by collaborating with former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Michael Kelly, her astronaut husband, in their book ENOUGH; Our Fight to Keep America Safe from Gun Violence. Harry’s work has been published in Playboy, Yahoo News, Men’s Health, Harper’s, Esquire, and newspapers from the San Francisco Examiner to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
As an educator, Harry started lecturing at Georgetown University in 1984 and became an assistant professor of media studies at American University. In 1986, he taught journalism and media at the American University in Rome.
Mary Stuart McCamy
Mary Stuart grew up in Atlanta where an early mentor taught her about educational inequality through a high school learning exchange program. Since then, she has sought volunteer opportunities at home and abroad as a literacy tutor for children, adults, and second language learners. Mary Stuart has tutored at several Reading Partners sites over the years and is currently a volunteer at Patterson Elementary in Ward 8. Mary Stuart moved to Washington, DC after completing a post-graduate teaching fellowship in France. She received a bachelor’s in French from Davidson College and has since pursued additional graduate studies in language, linguistics and nonprofit management at Georgetown and George Washington Universities.
Before raising her four children full-time, Mary Stuart served as legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Wyche Fowler, Jr. (D-GA) for energy, environment, appropriations, and historic preservation issues. She also worked as Washington coordinator for a number of nonprofit organizations, including the Greater Yellowstone Coalition and Keepers of the Treasures, a national Native American cultural heritage association. In addition to her experience working with nonprofit boards, Mary Stuart served two terms as Village Council vice-chair in Chevy Chase, Maryland and was an active community service volunteer in her children’s schools.
Diane Mooney is serving her eighth year on the board of trustees of the independent Maret School, Washington, D.C. and has held numerous other volunteer positions at the school. Diane is also in her seventh year as an English as a second language instructor at the nonprofit Washington English Center in Washington, D.C., where she also serves on the board of directors. She previously served for a number of years on the board of directors for the Chevy Chase Recreation Association. Diane is an avid supporter of and has served as a volunteer tutor with Reading Partners in three Washington, D.C. elementary schools since 2013.
Diane grew up in Princeton, New Jersey and received her Bachelor of Arts cum laude in communications/journalism from the University of Washington in Seattle. She also holds a certificate in French language and civilization from the University of Paris, Sorbonne. Diane continued her education at the George Washington University National Law Center where she received her juris doctorate and is licensed to practice law in Washington D.C. and New Jersey. Diane went on to work in telecommunications law for 14 years, including private practice in Washington, D.C. Prior to her law career; she worked as a journalist for the Associated Press in Seattle. Diane and her husband, Frank Pietrantonio, live in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and are the parents of three adult children.
Jeannie Musslewhite is currently an assistant director in the Office of Career Strategy at Georgetown University Law Center. Her primary responsibilities include advising students and alumni on their judicial clerkship and career goals. Previously, Jeannie practiced corporate law for King & Spalding in Atlanta, Georgia and Vinson & Elkins in Dallas, Texas where she was active in both firms’ lateral and summer associate recruiting programs. She has been a Reading Partners tutor and currently serves as chair of the governance committee. Jeannie has also been an active volunteer at her children’s schools, serving on the governing board of the National Cathedral School, as co-chair of the Financial Aid Auction at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School and co-chair of the St. Albans Christmas House Tour. Jeannie received a juris doctorate from Harvard Law School, a master’s in educational sciences from the University of Amsterdam, and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Ann Rakestraw is assistant general counsel at Verizon where she practices litigation. Before joining Verizon, she worked as a litigation attorney at Williams & Connolly. Ann received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia, graduating with distinction with a double major in English and religious studies. Ann received both her bachelor’s and juris doctorate degrees from the University of Virginia Many of Ann’s volunteer efforts have focused on education and literacy.
In addition to her work with Reading Partners, Ann volunteers at her children’s school, St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School, where she has served in various roles, including on auction committees, as a room parent, and serving on the executive committee of the parents association. She created and runs an annual book drive at St. Patrick’s, distributing books to local schools and literacy organizations. Ann and her husband, Steven Farina, have three children and live in Washington, DC.
For more than 15 years, the Emmy nominated producer has played a role in some of the District of Columbia’s most groundbreaking media moments. He served as executive director of the District of Columbia Office of Cable Television (OCT) for over eight years and spearheaded the acquisition and renovation of OCT’s permanent home in the former BET studios. Proficient in managing large-scale projects, media productions, budgets, and contracts, he has had a career that includes time as the director of broadcast services at Howard University’s PBS station WHUT-TV, serving as executive producer of Evening Exchange with Kojo Nnamdi, and contributing to the development and direction of such shows as The Tavis Smiley Show, Moneywise with Kelvin Bolston, and White House Chronicles. Currently, he is the vice president of programming and production for the Public Access Corporation and continues to create content in a myriad of other media outlets.
William Rosenau, Ph.D.
Bill is a senior research scientist at CNA, a nonprofit research and analysis center in Arlington, Virginia. Before joining CNA, Bill served in the RAND Corporation’s International Security Policy department; as chair of RAND’s Insurgency Board; as a policy adviser to the coordinator for counterterrorism, US Department of State; as a professional staff member on the Department of Defense Commission on Roles and Missions of the Armed Forces; as a special assistant to the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, and as research coordinator at the National Security Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Bill has, also, been an adjunct professor in the Security Studies Program, Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University.
Stuart Stein is a partner at the global law firm, Hogan Lovells, where he serves as the chief legal officer. He has been advising clients on corporate matters for more than 30 years and is a trusted advisor to the boards of some of the largest companies in the world. Stuart is a regular speaker on national panels and programs that address corporate issues. Stuart is going into his fourth year as a tutor at Kimball Elementary School. He also is on the board of directors of Rebuilding Together Montgomery County. Stuart and his wife Joy have two daughters; one in Los Angeles and one in New York, as well as two dogs that enjoy a lot of walking.