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Our Team

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.

  • Adeola Whitney

    Adeola Whitney

    Chief executive officer

    Adeola (“Ola”) Whitney brings over 20 years of education leadership experience to the CEO role, including three prior years with Reading Partners. Prior to being named CEO of Reading Partners, Ola provided leadership around the expansion and implementation of iMentor’s college-success program, serving 10,000 pairs of students and their mentors nationally. In this role, she oversaw executive leadership in the Bay Area, Baltimore, Chicago, and New York City, and partnered with over 15 nonprofit organizations nationwide to ensure the effective application of iMentor’s program. Before joining iMentor, Ola served as Reading Partners' chief regional operations officer, managing 14+ executive directors across the country. Prior to this, Ola served as executive director for Playworks for the Greater New York / Greater Newark region. Ola has also held program management and regional management roles at Kaplan and McGraw Hill. Ola earned her bachelor’s degree from Oberlin college where she majored in English and African-American studies. In her spare time, Ola enjoys spending time with her husband and three children, traveling the world, and creating memories.  
  • Dean Elson

    Dean Elson

    Chief knowledge officer

    Since July 2011, Dean has guided Reading Partners’ curriculum, program development, and evidence-based practices, including the design and oversight of pilot programs as well as internal and external evaluations. He is committed to improving the lives of children in under-resourced neighborhoods, and for the past 21 years has held various roles in nonprofit leadership, program development and evaluation, and K-12 data analysis and policy. He is a Board member of the OMNI Institute in Denver, and has past experience in advisory roles for nonprofit and city-wide data and evaluation boards in Massachusetts. Dean has a joint MA degree from Tufts University in child development and urban & environmental policy and a BA degree in political science from Duke University. He is a lucky husband and proud father of two wonderful children.
  • Karen Gardner

    Karen Gardner

    Chief development officer

    Karen joined Reading Partners in 2015. She served as the senior executive director for the Washington, DC region prior to joining the national team as the chief development officer. She brings over 15 years of experience leading high-performing teams in the nonprofit sector, driven by the desire to create educational equity for students. Early in her career, she was a teacher 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 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.

  • Rosa J. Gutierrez, MBA, AIAF

    Rosa J. Gutierrez, MBA, AIAF

    Chief financial & operating officer

    Rosa is an accomplished finance and operations professional whose experience spans both corporate and nonprofit sectors. She joins Reading Partners to provide strategic leadership across all business and finance functions, including the management of its financial and capital resources, oversight of IT and HR operations, and all legal matters. Her career spans more than 30 years of experience in financial management, business leadership, and corporate strategy. Prior to joining Reading Partners, Rosa led the finance, IT, logistics, and asset protection areas for Merlin Entertainments and before that she served as interim CEO of New-York-based nonprofit, Puerto Rican Family Institute. Rosa received her MBA in finance from Benedictine University, and she has earned the designation of Associate in Insurance Accounting and Finance (AIAF) and is completing the designation of Associate of Regulatory and Compliance (ARC). 

    A longstanding community leader and champion for people in underserved communities, Rosa sits on the board of directors for the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, where she serves as treasurer and has helped usher in a new era for this iconic New York institution. She is also a board member for Cornerstone Family Healthcare and a member of its finance committee. Rosa believes that Reading Partners provides a critical service to communities by ensuring children have the opportunity to build a foundation for future learning through literacy. Rosa is an avid reader whose love of books provided not just an opportunity to learn but a vision of the world and all its possibilities. Rosa and her husband love to travel and have three amazing children.

  • Martha (Marti) Tesfaye

    Martha (Marti) Tesfaye

    Chief of staff

    Martha (Marti) comes to Reading Partners with nearly a decade of experience in nonprofit education leadership. Prior to becoming Reading Partners' chief of staff, Marti served on the Reading Partners national development team as the national director of major gifts. Marti started her career as a family law attorney and later pivoted to nonprofit fundraising. She has served as a fundraiser at organizations including Teach For America, Center for Inspired Teaching, and Charter Board Partners. Marti holds a bachelor's degree from Columbia University, a Juris Doctorate from Howard University School of Law, and a Certificate of Nonprofit Management from Georgetown University. In her spare time, Marti serves on the boards of oneTilt and Teach For Ethiopia, enjoys traveling whenever she can, and loves exploring new restaurants. Marti lives in the Washington, DC Metro area with her husband and three young children.

Our board of directors

  • Dan Carroll

    Dan Carroll


    Dan Carroll is a founding partner of Brooklands Capital Strategies and an acknowledged pioneer in the Asian private equity industry. Prior to forming Brooklands, Mr. Carroll was a Partner of TPG Capital, joining the firm in 1995 when he co-founded TPG’s Asian investing business, formerly Newbridge Capital. Over 15 years, Mr. Carroll built the firm’s Asia-based investment team to 40 professionals in seven offices and was responsible for raising five investment funds with $7 billion in committed capital. Prior to joining TPG, Mr. Carroll spent nine years with Hambrecht & Quist Asia Pacific, a pioneer in the Asian private equity industry. Mr. Carroll holds a bachelor's in economics from Harvard University and a master of business administration from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.
  • Walter Elcock

    Walter Elcock

    Vice chair

    Walter Elcock retired in April of 2013 from Bank of America after 39 years in management, ranging across human resources, operations, and retail banking, managing 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 ten years, serving in the capacities of chair and president as well as interim director in 2016. He is also a board member of the Trinity River Conservancy and Highland Homes. His wife Laura has served as a member of the Reading Partners North Texas board for the past two years. Walter and Laura are both graduates of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and have two daughters, Hilah in Larkspur, CA and Catherine in Brooklyn, NY. They have five grandchildren: Jasper, Elsa, and Luke are in Larkspur, with Holden and Maddie in Brooklyn.
  • Brad Creswell

    Brad Creswell


    Brad 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).

    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.

  • Ian Cameron

    Ian Cameron


    Ian has more than thirty years of broadcast journalism experience, with 20 years in senior news management positions. Most recently, Ian was executive producer of ABC News’ This Week, the network’s leading in-depth political news and interview program. Prior to joining This Week, he was senior producer for broadcasts including ABC World News with Charles Gibson, ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, and CBC’s flagship nightly news and current affairs program, The National. Before taking on news management positions, Ian spent five years between 1988 and 1992 as a news documentary producer for The Journal, covering major national and international events.


    Ian Cameron served for six years on the Reading Partners board in Washington, DC. In his two years as board chair, Ian worked to adopt new fundraising strategies, increase the size of the board, and begin annual board retreats. Ian is also a Reading Partners tutor. In addition to his commitment to Reading Partners, Ian is a trustee on the Ford’s Theatre board and The Maret School board, a K-12 independent school in Washington, DC. Ian lives in Washington, DC with his wife and two children.

  • Jeffrey Blount

    Jeffrey Blount

    Jeffrey is the award-winning author of three novels — Almost Snow White, Hating Heidi Foster, and The Emancipation of Evan Walls. He is also an Emmy award-winning television director and a 2016 inductee to the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame. During a 34-year career at NBC News, Jeffrey directed a decade of Meet The Press, The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, and major special events. He was a contributor for HuffPost and has been published in The Washington Post, The and other publications, commenting on issues of race, social justice, and writing. He is also an award-winning documentary scriptwriter for films and interactives on display in the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture among other notable museums and exhibitions.  In 2017 and 2018, Jeffrey served as Journalist in Residence and Shapiro Fellow at the School of Media and Public Affairs at The George Washington University. Jeffrey earned his university’s alumni achievement award – the VCU Alumni Star - for his professional achievements as a director at NBC, scriptwriter, and author. He also serves as a member of the advisory board at the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture at Virginia Commonwealth University, his alma mater.  Born and raised in Smithfield, Virginia, he now lives in Washington, DC.
  • Kevin Capitani

    Kevin Capitani

    Kevin Capitani joined Pearson in 2016 as the President for North America. Kevin has been a driving force behind redefining what it means to put the customer at the center of an increasingly digital/services business. He is leading Pearson North America’s digital transformation to ensure customers have a better teaching and learning experience. His background is in developing collaborative teams and fostering growth in customer-focused businesses. Kevin has a history of managing and leading in global, highly matrixed technology organizations. Prior to Pearson, Kevin spent more than 20 years at SAP. He started as a functional consultant implementing software before becoming a global support manager for complex implementation and strategic consulting, including business and sales strategy development.

    Throughout his career, he has worked with Fortune 500 companies across multiple geographies and industries, and he’s managed large field-based sales teams. He has also had a variety of leadership positions, focusing on building and managing the most complex customer relationships. Kevin received his degree from the University of California Berkeley.

    More than anything, Kevin enjoys spending time with his wife, Carol, and their two daughters, Carmen and Tatum. Every day they remind him that there is always something new to learn, and he’s excited to be a part of a company that believes that too.

  • Ann Chen

    Ann Chen

    Ann Chen is an independent consultant focused on advising nonprofits. She was a partner at Bain & Company and retired in 2013 after 22 years with the firm. Most of that time was spent in Hong Kong, where she lived for 19 years. Since moving to the Bay Area four years ago, Ann has continued to advise high-impact nonprofit organizations in education. She serves as a long-time advisor to De Marillac Academy, a fourth through eighth grade school in the Tenderloin neighborhood.  Ann serves on the board of directors of Common Sense Media, a leading independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology.  She is a trustee at the Town School for Boys, a K–8 independent school in San Francisco as well as a director on the board of the Corporation of Yaddo, one of the country’s most established artists’ residency programs. Ann recently completed her term on the HBS Alumni Board.

    Ann has a B.S.E. in computer science from Princeton University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. She is married to a business school classmate and has a teenage son.

  • Neal Cohen

    Neal Cohen

    Neal Cohen is an executive with more than 30 years of experience working in the aviation and manufacturing industries. Most recently he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Alliant Techsystems, responsible for accounting and controls, treasury, tax, financial planning and analysis, internal audit, and investor relations.  Previously Neal was President and Chief Operating Officer for Laureate Education, where he helped develop strategy, growth and operating plans for the global university network with 675,000 students in 28 countries. He has 16 years of experience with Northwest Airlines, Inc. and U.S. Airways, including serving as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, where he led merger and acquisition activities, restructuring, and profitability and growth initiatives. He also held a number of operating and marketing positions at Northwest Airlines. He started his career and spent seven years at the General Motors New York Treasurer's Office. Neal received a bachelor's degree in politics, economics, rhetoric and law, and a Master's in Business Administration in finance and accounting from the University of Chicago.
  • Melissa Connelly

    Melissa Connelly

    Melissa Connelly is the CEO of OneGoal, a national college access and success organization. Prior to becoming CEO, Melissa served as the organization’s first chief program officer. In this role, she was responsible for executing the programmatic vision to ensure all students have a legitimate opportunity to earn a postsecondary degree or credential. Melissa has spent more than a decade in education leveraging her experiences, empathy, and drive to make certain her accomplishments are not an anomaly, but the norm for underserved youth. Melissa earned a bachelor of arts from the University of Illinois-Chicago, a master's of arts in teaching, and a master's of education administration from Dominican University. She is also an alumna of the prestigious Surge Institute Fellowship for emerging leaders of color in education, but Melissa is most proud of the work she is doing as a mother to Ashland and Addae.
  • Devin Fletcher

    Devin Fletcher

    Devin joined Tulsa Public Schools in 2016 where he currently serves as the chief learning officer and chief talent officer. As the CLO, Devin is responsible for establishing a vision of learning for students and adults in the district and he leads curriculum and instruction. As the CTO, Devin helped launch Tulsa Teacher Corps in 2017, a district-run teacher preparation and certification program. Previously, Devin served as executive director of teaching and learning at Denver Public Schools from 2013-16 where he was the district lead on academic planning and implementation of standards-aligned resources and instructional best practices. In his role he spearheaded the design and development of the district's Literacy Plan 2020. Denver Public Schools realized a six percentage point increase in third-grade proficiency for both English and Spanish speaking students in one year and narrowed the gap on state assessments for students of color.

    Prior to joining Denver Public Schools, Devin served as the managing director of finance and operations at New Urban Learning, a high-performing charter management organization based in Detroit, Michigan that served elementary, middle, and high school students.

    I am proof that providing access to rigorous, high-quality educational opportunities can shift a child’s predetermined trajectory and minimize the corrosive effects of systemic poverty on families, communities, and society as a whole. I am committed to leveraging my seat to drive institutional and systemic change to increase equity, access, and opportunity for all, not just those born into privilege.

  • Tracy Hoover

    Tracy Hoover

    Tracy Hoover is an experienced nonprofit executive and social sector impact strategist. For more than 25 years, Tracy has been passionately committed to redefining civic engagement, community problem solving​,​ and active corporate citizenship. As president and chief executive officer of Points of Light, Tracy led the largest organization in the world dedicated to volunteerism. Tracy served as chief of staff and chief operating officer before taking the helm of the organization in 2013. Across ​a decade, Tracy and her teams raised tens of millions of dollars each year and partnered with many of the world’s most respected companies to invest in innovative new impact programs. Before joining Points of Light, Tracy was the executive director of Hands On Atlanta, a ​Points of Light affiliate. ​In her tenure, she helped to build the organization and replicate the model of “hands-on” volunteering—mobilizing thousands of volunteers each year in Atlanta’s public schools and nonprofit organizations​. She also led a successful multi-million dollar capital campaign to purchase the midtown Atlanta building that would serve as the headquarters of Hands On Atlanta, Hands On Network​,​ and later Points of Light.

    Tracy has taken on a variety of volunteer leadership roles including a federal appointment to the Presidio Trust’s ​F​ort Scott ​a​dvisory ​c​ouncil, service as an America’s Promise Alliance ​t​rustee, a member of the Voices for National Service steering committee and the National Black Arts Festival-Full House Commission. Currently, Tracy serves on the Earth University ​b​oard of ​t​rustees, the Reading Partners ​n​ational ​b​oard of ​directors and as the founding director of Georgia Support the Vote. Tracy received a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Tennessee. She was a member of the Leadership Atlanta Class of 2007, and a recipient of the Harvard Business School Club of Atlanta’s Social Enterprise Initiative Scholarship.

  • Rachel Hutton

    Rachel Hutton

    Rachel Hutton is a passionate Reading Partners champion. Rachel was first introduced to Reading Partners as a high school student when she began tutoring at John Gill Elementary School in Redwood City, CA. She continued to serve as a volunteer tutor for six years throughout her collegiate years at Stanford University. Rachel’s experiences — through Reading Partners, internships on Capitol Hill, and as a legal assistant at Davis Polk & Wardwell, LLP — inspired her to advocate for women and families, leading her to Georgetown University Law Center where she is currently pursuing a juris doctorate. Rachel is a member of the Women’s Legal Association at Georgetown, the Native American Law Students Association, and an ACLU student group. Outside of law school, Rachel serves as the chief finance officer of the Hutton Family Foundation and as the chair of The Reading Partners Literary Society.
  • Harris Larney

    Harris Larney

    Harris 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.
  • Liza McFadden

    Liza McFadden

    Liza McFadden advises philanthropists.  Under the maxim of a “head of business and a heart for philanthropy”, she provides long-term strategy development with an eye toward measurable returns.​ ​She serves as a board member for K12, a publicly-traded company which provides virtual learning to students of all ages.  A former teacher and director in adult and career education, she is a long-time advocate for choice in education.​ ​Liza has over 15-years’ experience as the CEO of nonprofits, and, prior to consulting, served as the president of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, which she and transitioned from a traditional grant-making nonprofit to an organization expert in driving strategic social impact.  The Foundation sponsored the global $7-million Adult Literacy XPRIZE which spurred 100-plus teams to compete to design the most effective adult literacy mobile apps. Additionally, the Foundation was one of the first public charities to invest in pay-for-performance or social impact bonds.

    A former advisor in government, she worked in concert with Jeb Bush to design the Governor’s Mentoring Initiative which resulted in over 200,000 new mentors for Florida’s school-aged children.​ ​Among her awards, she prizes one of her first, a Distinguished Individual Davis Productivity Award from Florida Taxwatch for animating her interest in determining values for social outcomes.

Our program advisors

Reading Partners launched a curriculum advisory committee in 2013 to ensure reading and literacy experts shared their knowledge and experience with evidence-based practices to guide regular revisions to the organization’s curriculum and instructional practices. Beginning in 2019, the former curriculum advisory was renamed the Program Advisory and additional members joined to reflect a more diverse set of expertise and experiences that support the broader needs of the organization and the communities we serve. The committee is co-led by Chief Knowledge Officer, Dean Elson, and Director of National Program, Jennifer Joyce.

  • David Chard, Ph.D.

    David Chard, Ph.D.

    Dean ad Interim, Boston University

    Dr. Chard became dean ad interim of Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development on June 1, 2018. He was previously president of Wheelock College before its merger with Boston University. Prior to that, Dr. Chard served as dean of the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development at Southern Methodist University (SMU), where he created a strategic vision focused on undergraduate and graduate programs built on evidence-based practices.
    Dr. Chard 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 is a member of the International Academy for Research in Learning Disabilities, and has served in leadership roles in numerous professional organizations. Prior to his becoming dean, Dr. Chard was an active researcher focused on studying instructional practices that are most effective at meeting the needs of students with learning disabilities. In addition, he is the author of numerous instructional programs on early literacy and language arts and has been a classroom teacher.
  • Nell Duke, Ed.D.

    Nell Duke, Ed.D.

    University of Michigan

    Dr. Duke is a professor in literacy, language, and culture and in the combined program in education and psychology. Dr. Duke’s work focuses on early literacy development, particularly among children living in poverty. Dr. Duke received her doctoral degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. She has received the William S. Gray Citation of Merit from the International Literacy Association for outstanding contributions to research, theory, practice, and policy. She has also received awards from the American Educational Research Association, the Literacy Research Association, the National Council of Teachers of English, the Michigan Reading Association, and other organizations. She has served as co-principal investigator on projects funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, the National Science Foundation, Lucas Education Research, and the Spencer Foundation among other organizations. Her Twitter handle is @nellkduke.
  • Kate Jerome

    Kate Jerome

    President, Insight Editions

    Kate Jerome is a seasoned publishing executive, award-winning children’s book author, author, and co-founder and general manager of Little Bridges, which produces intergenerational products intentionally designed to inspire love, laughter, and legacy moments between kids and adults. After a successful career in education and education publishing, Kate became a prolific author of more than 200 children’s books, including an innovative children’s book series and online programs in collaboration with leading educational and trade publishers including National Geographic, Penguin Random House, and Arcadia Publishing Company. She is the former president of Insight Editions and current executive board member for the boutique publishing company with offices in the Bay Area and Los Angeles. Kate is also the former president of Scott Foresman publishing and served as a senior vice president on HarperCollins Publisher’s executive board in New York.
  • Jeannette Mancilla-Martinez, Ed.D.

    Jeannette Mancilla-Martinez, Ed.D.

    Associate Professor, Vanderbilt University

    Dr. Mancilla-Martinez is an associate professor in the Special Education Department, as well as the associate dean for Academic Affairs and Graduate Education for Peabody College. She was appointed to the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) Standing Committee on Reading in 2017. Her research is focused on advancing students’ language and reading comprehension outcomes, including those of students from Spanish-speaking, low-income homes. She has presented her work widely at professional conferences, 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. Her work is also featured in several peer-reviewed journals. She holds a Master of Education and Doctorate of Education in language and literacy from Harvard University, as well as a bachelor's in liberal studies with a concentration in English and Spanish from Mount Saint Mary's College.
  • Rena Johnson

    Rena Johnson

    Chief Program Officer, CityBridge Education

    CityBridge Education is committed to Washington, D.C. becoming the first city-level proofpoint of an excellent and equitable education system. In her role, Rena prioritizes funding and support for leaders of color that have a vision for a more equitable future. Her most recent accomplishments include supporting the full approval and launch of five new charter schools, four of which are led by leaders of color in DC. Rena is the former principal of DC Scholars Stanton Elementary, the city’s first elementary school turnaround charter and district partnership school. During her tenure, DC Scholars Stanton outpaced the academic growth of most charters and district elementary schools in Ward 8, the city’s most vulnerable ward.

    Ms. Johnson began her education career as an elementary school teacher in Atlanta, GA as a Teacher For America (TFA) corps member before joining the TFA DC Regional Team, where she managed placement strategy and new corps member transition. From TFA, Ms. Johnson became a resident principal with New Leaders for New Schools where she led the implementation of the Achievement Network data-driven instructional model and founded a New Teacher program for all first-year teachers. Ms. Johnson holds a BA from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in Education, Policy, and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

  • Karen Mapp, Ed.D

    Karen Mapp, Ed.D

    Senior Lecturer, Harvard Graduate School of Education

    Dr. Mapp is a senior lecturer on education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), the faculty director of the education policy and management master’s program, and a core faculty member in the doctorate in educational leadership (EDLD) program at HGSE. Over the past 20 years, her research and practice focus has been on the cultivation of partnerships among families, community members, and educators that support student achievement and school improvement. She is a founding member of the District Leaders Network on family and community engagement as well as the national family and community engagement working group. Dr. Mapp is also on the board of the National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement (NAFSCE) and the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) in Washington, DC. From 2011 to 2013, Dr. Mapp served as a consultant on family engagement to the United States Department of Education in the office of innovation and improvement.

    Dr. Mapp holds a doctorate and master’s of education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, a master’s in education from Southern Connecticut State University, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Trinity College. She is the author and co-author of several articles and books about the role of families and community members in student achievement and school improvement. Learn more at

  • Donna Scanlon, Ph.D.

    Donna Scanlon, Ph.D.

    Professor emeritus, University at Albany, State University of New York

    Dr. Scanlon is professor emeritus at the University at Albany's Department of Literacy Teaching and Learning and was affiliated with the University’s Child Research and Study Center (CRSC) for more than 40 years, serving as associate director and director at different points. Her research and teaching focused on the characteristics of children who experience substantial difficulty in learning to read and on how to prevent and remediate reading difficulties. She and her colleagues developed an approach to early literacy instruction and intervention, the Interactive Strategies Approach (ISA), which was found to be effective in reducing the incidence of reading difficulties in the early primary grades. Classroom teachers, as well as intervention teachers, have successfully implemented the ISA approach in small group and one-to-one contexts.

    The approach is described in Early Intervention for Reading Difficulties: The Interactive Strategies Approach, 2nd Ed (Scanlon, Anderson, & Sweeney, 2017).  An upward extension of the approach intended to address reading difficulties among middle elementary and middle school students was developed and tested in a subsequent series of studies and is described in Comprehensive Reading Intervention in Grades 3-8: Fostering Word Learning, Comprehension, and Motivation (Gelzheiser, Scanlon, Hallgren-Flynn, & Connors, 2019). Most of Dr. Scanlon’s research was supported by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the U.S. Department of Education through the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) and the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE).


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