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Our Team

Executive team

  • Adeola Whitney

    Adeola Whitney

    Chief executive officer

    Adeola (“Ola”) Whitney believes that all students deserve the opportunity to reach their full potential in school and beyond and that early literacy is a foundational driver of educational equity. Ola brings 20+ years of education leadership experience to the CEO role. Since returning to Reading Partners in the fall of 2020, Ola has led the organization through the development of a new strategic plan, the rollout of an online tutoring platform and several new partnerships, an increase in the size and diversity of the national board, and strengthening the organization’s commitment to race equity, diversity, and inclusion (REDI). Ola rejoined Reading Partners from iMentor where she led the expansion and implementation of the college-success program and managed executive leadership in the Bay Area, Baltimore, Chicago, and New York City. In a prior role at Reading Partners as chief regional operations officer from 2013 – 2016, Ola oversaw 85 percent of the organization while managing over a dozen executive directors across the country. Ola has also held leadership and management roles with Playworks, Kaplan, and McGraw Hill. Ola earned a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College in English and African-American studies.

     

  • Kelli Doss

    Kelli Doss

    Chief talent & equity officer

    Kelli Doss, a talent specialist and a professional coach, has spent her career focused on serving youth, communities, and urban education systems in Minneapolis, Washington, D.C., and New York City. Prior to joining Reading Partners, Kelli served as chief talent and equity officer for iMentor. In her role, she developed key organizational strategies focusing on performance management, internal talent recruitment, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and organizational culture building. Kelli leverages her professional experiences to help individuals refine and develop their leadership competencies and management practices and supports teams to improve interpersonal dynamics and build interrelational trust.

    Kelli received her undergraduate degree from Howard University and her J.D. from Tulane Law School. Following law school, Kelli worked as a law clerk for two years in Minneapolis, where she focused on tackling critical community issues. She launched her nonprofit career with the Children’s Defense Fund and developed and managed youth programs for the National Black Child Development Institute and the Harlem Community Justice Center. After that, Kelli honed her skills in recruitment and selection, human resources, and partnership development in education organizations including New Leaders for New Schools and the NYC Department of Education. Kelli also worked for Education Pioneers as the managing director of the New York/New Jersey office and subsequently vice president of human assets.

  • 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 several internal and external evaluation studies. Beginning in 2020, he oversaw the development and implementation of Reading Partners Connects (RPCx), the organization’s first ever online tutoring program and platform. He is committed to improving the lives of children in families experiencing economic hardship and who face inequitable access to high-quality literacy instruction. For the past 22 years, Dean 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.

  • Phillip M. Robinson, Jr.

    Phillip M. Robinson, Jr.

    Chief impact officer

    As a senior executive with experience and a positive track record working in the private, public and nonprofit sectors, Phillip M. Robinson, Jr. has always had a passion for service. As the chief impact officer, Phillip is responsible for coaching, supporting, and managing all regional executive directors; overseeing more than 400 site and national operations staff; and building external partnerships and business development opportunities. Prior to his current role, Phillip served as the managing director and chief operating officer for Education Board Partners. In this role, Phillip was responsible for operations, strategy development, and leading the team in developing and delivering programs.

    Previously, Phillip served as the senior vice president of regional and site operations at City Year, Inc. In this capacity, Phillip oversaw all aspects of operations for 28 U.S. sites, including five regional vice presidents, more than 700 site staff, 3,000 AmeriCorps members and a total budget of $168 million. Prior to joining the national senior leadership team, Phillip was the executive director and vice president of City Year Cleveland. Under his leadership, City Year Cleveland underwent a complete turnaround, doubling its revenue, growing its operations by more than 20 percent, and winning Best of City Year three years in a row. Early in his career, Phillip served as a legislative aide for U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein and then as an executive for several Fortune 500 marketing and public affairs firms.

    A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Phillip currently serves as a state representative (House District 6) in the Ohio House of Representatives. In this capacity, Phillip serves as the ranking member on the education committee and sponsored legislation to help create jobs that was signed into law in his first term. Phillip earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from The George Washington University and his Executive MBA from Case Western Reserve University. Also, he is a previous Pahara-Aspen Institute Next Gen Fellow, named a “Who to Watch in Education” in Cleveland and recognized as one of Crain’s Cleveland Business’s Forty Under 40. Phillip lives in Solon, OH with his wife, Elizabeth, and two young children.

Regional leadership

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, please see our regional pages.

  • Shukurat Adamoh-Faniyan

    Shukurat Adamoh-Faniyan

    Executive director, Washington, DC

    See Regional Team

    Shukurat Adamoh-Faniyan serves as the Executive Director of Reading Partners DC and has overall responsibility for the operations, fundraising and community engagement. Born and raised in DC, Shukurat has dedicated her life to working in high-poverty and under-resourced communities in the fields of education, policy, community organizing, public engagement, training, and program development. Shukurat is a passionate and motivated leader with extensive experience and is committed to ensuring that every child in DC has the opportunity to realize their full potential. Before joining Reading Partners, Shukurat served as the Senior Director of Partnership and Infrastructure for Leadership for Educational Equity. Leadership For Educational Equity is a non-partisan, non-profit leadership development organization dedicated to inspiring a diverse movement of leaders that engage civically and politically on behalf of children in their communities. In the role, Shukurat served as a force multiplier and team-specific chief learning, strategy, and operations officer. She has also served as an Executive Director of a PreK-8th grade charter school serving over 700 scholars in Southeast, D.C. Shukurat began her career as a 5th-grade Math and Science teacher and Teach For America corps member.

  • Kimberly Benavides

    Kimberly Benavides

    Executive director, North Texas

    See Regional Team

    Kimberly Benavides is a passionate educational leader with 20 years of experience in public education. Most recently, she served as the principal at George C. Clarke Elementary in Fort Worth ISD , a proud Reading Partners campus. Kim’s work with students, families, and the community is fueled by her unwavering belief that children are our greatest asset, and literacy is the key to self-confidence and opportunity. She holds a bachelor’s degree in multidisciplinary studies from Texas Tech University, a master’s degree in educational leadership and policy studies from The University of Texas at Arlington, and Doctor of Education from Abilene Christian University where her research focused on the sustainability of school-community partnerships.

  • Robin Emerson

    Robin Emerson

    Interim executive director, Tulsa

    See Regional Team

    Robin Emerson serves as the interim executive director of Reading Partners Tulsa. Originally from Kentucky, Robin graduated with her degree in special education with an emphasis on learning disabilities from Northeastern State University in Oklahoma. She earned her M.Ed. from the University of Oklahoma in educational administration and curriculum supervision. She completed the Relay Graduate School of Education Leadership program with distinction. Robin has also taught elementary, middle, and high school. She has served as an instructional coach, assistant principal at Tisdale, principal at Carnegie Elementary School, middle school principal in Broken Arrow, and a director of special education in a Tulsa Public School. Robin currently serves as a national professional development specialist with Catapult Learning with a focus on special education services, building instructional coherence, diversity, equity and inclusion and literacy. Robin lives in Oklahoma where she and her husband have raised their family of five children and seven grandchildren. In her free time, she enjoys the company of family, friends, and her yorkie, Canyon, and lake and beach time.

  • Zenobia Judd-Williams

    Zenobia Judd-Williams

    Executive director, Baltimore

    See Regional Team
    Zenobia comes to us with more than 20 years of experience as a nonprofit leader with a strong track record working in the public and private sectors, including in healthcare, housing, education, and family investment. Most recently, Zenobia served as the Director of Student Life & Residential for The SEED School of Maryland, a statewide college-preparatory public boarding school where students live and learn on campus Sunday–Friday. Prior to her current role, Zenobia served as the Chief Executive Officer of a regional association focused on developing non-profit, private, and public service organizations. She has held many other leadership roles in large and small educational, health and human service organizations. Zenobia holds Bachelorʼs degrees in business and behavioral sciences and a Masterʼs degree in business and organizational management. When she is not working, Zenobia enjoys historical excursions and serving as an amateur family genealogist. She is married with two adult children.
  • Primo Lasana

    Primo Lasana

    Executive director, New York

    See Regional Team

    Primo Lasana is honored to become the executive director of Reading Partners NYC. Primo joins Reading Partners after eight years with iMentor, a national college access program that leverages volunteers for student success. At iMentor, he held leadership roles in program implementation, volunteer recruitment, fundraising and national program expansion. He started his career at City Year Chicago, where he completed two years of service in Chicago Public Schools as an AmeriCorps member. Primo is proudly born and raised in New York City. Outside of work, he serves on Brooklyn Community Board 9 as the co-chair of the Youth Services Committee. In 2021, Primo graduated from NYU Wagner with an executive master’s in public administration and completed his bachelor’s degree at CUNY Hunter College.

  • Joyce Macek

    Joyce Macek

    Executive director, Seattle

    See Regional Team

    Joyce’s more than two decades in education have been centered around the belief that all young people deserve to be successful in their education and that a high-quality education is key to an equitable society. Joyce is honored to join Reading Partners as the executive director of our Seattle region and to lead an incredibly devoted and talented team. Most recently, Joyce served as the senior director of partnerships at an educational non-profit organization, Unbounded. As a founding team member, she led business development and school district partnerships for more than six years, significantly growing the organization’s impact on the field every year. Before this, Joyce worked at the Regents Research Fund in New York State, guided by the vision of Former U.S. Secretary of Education, John King. Joyce began her career in education as a Teach For America corps member in St. John Parish, Louisiana teaching reading to high school students.

    Joyce lives in Seattle with her family and has loved watching her daughter develop a love for and an understanding of how to read. In their free time, they love to travel, explore the Pacific Northwest, and settle in for Friday family movie nights.

  • Christine Messick

    Christine Messick

    Interim executive director, South Carolina

    See Regional Team

    Christine Messick has over 20 years of nonprofit management experience with an emphasis on volunteer engagement. Currently, Christine serves as the interim executive director for Reading Partners South Carolina. Prior to working at Reading Partners, Christine served as the executive director of Youth Service Charleston. She has worked extensively with outreach and volunteer support at MUSC Children’s Hospital. Christine’s passions for volunteerism, collaboration, and coordination have guided her gifts of time and talent to Hotline Training, the Trident United Way, the Mayor’s Commission for Children, Youth and Families and the Community Volunteer Engagement System Organizing Committee to name a few. She is an enthusiastic and determined leader, skilled in developing a broad vision and cultivating excellent relationships with executives, community leaders, peers, and volunteers. Christine holds a BA in English from the University of South Carolina and a certification in volunteer administration from the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration.

  • Chloe Oliveras

    Chloe Oliveras

    Executive director, Los Angeles

    See Regional Team

    Chloe Oliveras is a nonprofit professional with experience in both community-building and fundraising. She has a passion for education equity, which has brought her both into the classroom and beyond. In her time at Reading Partners, she has built a robust volunteer program and worked with a number of collective impact groups and local community organizations to build strong ties to the neighborhoods surrounding LA’s Reading Partners tutoring centers. She has served on two Los Angeles young professional boards for reproductive rights organizations, as well as chaired Planned Parenthood LA’s signature Bingo For Choice fundraiser. She’s a proud University of Florida alum with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and gender studies.

  • Hector Ramon Salazar M. Ed.

    Hector Ramon Salazar M. Ed.

    Executive director, SF Bay Area

    See Regional Team

    Considered a key advisor and subject matter expert on account management, brand visibility, and nonprofit leadership, Hector has established himself as a true bridge-builder in the movement for educational equity. As a fervent pacesetter for mission-driven organizations, his professional efforts have landed him extensive experience in partnering alongside school eco-systems to impact change.

    He has over a decade of experience developing, managing, and implementing programs targeted at the advancement of underserved groups. Hector has led partnerships with multiple local and nationwide organizations including BACR, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, YMCA, and City Year. In his previous roles with Revolution Foods, Playworks, and most recently Eye to Eye National, Hector built lasting partnerships with multiple institutions with a shared goal of designing programmatic advancement relating to outcomes, impact, and user experience while enhancing leadership, school climate, and action planning.

    He received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Oakland, California’s Holy Names University (HNU). Hector is a family man first, spending his free time laughing through life with his wife and four children.

  • Brooke Rivers

    Brooke Rivers

    Executive director, Twin Cities

    See Regional Team

    Brooke has dedicated her professional career to the belief that education is the lever by which we will change the world and the future for low-income individuals. As a member of the College Possible leadership team, she developed strengths in program management, curriculum design, implementation, and evaluation. Through multiple promotions as the organization grew from one region to a national organization, she effectively led the creation of the college program from inception to implementation across multiple sites. In 2011, Brooke received the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Catalytic Leader Award.

    Recognizing that reading is the foundation for educational success, Brooke took the opportunity to join Reading Partners as program director for the Twin Cities during its inaugural year in the region. She effectively led all programming and volunteer recruitment efforts, ensuring strong programmatic results for students, and helped Reading Partners Twin Cities more than double in size by year three. Brooke holds bachelor’s degrees in anthropology and Spanish, with a minor in english literature from Bethel University. A lover of laughter, Brooke gets plenty of it as a mom to one year old Josie (named after Jo March in Little Women).

  • Wendy Stewart Martinez

    Wendy Stewart Martinez

    Interim executive director, Colorado

    See Regional Team

    Prior to founding Angel Heart Consulting during the Pandemic, Wendy led several non-profit organizations, including Trips for Kids, Denver and Colorado Technology Association Foundation. She’s also held other nonprofit leadership positions, including the Denver Bike Sharing, Commun Denver, a nonprofit real estate development with a focus on equitable housing and Power of WE, female-identifying entrepreneurs. A first-generation college graduate, she has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Kansas, certifications in project management and diversity, equity, and inclusion, and earned a commercial real estate license.
    Wendy resides with her family and two rescued jack russell terriers in Salida, Colorado. She enjoys Colorado’s gala scene by assisting fundraising auctioneers with several large-scaled events including, Adaptive Sports, Tennyson Center for Children, Hope House, empowering teen moms. Wendy believes it’s not a hand out, but a hand up that changes lives.

  • Felicia Webb

    Felicia Webb

    Executive director, Silicon Valley

    See Regional Team

    Felicia comes to us with more than 20 years of experience as an educator, therapist, consultant, and nonprofit leader with a strong track record working in various sectors including education, psychology, and leadership coaching. Originally hailing from Illinois, Felicia is now a proud Californian who most recently served as the CEO for her own independent consulting company. Prior to starting her own firm, Felicia served in several positions in the nonprofit sector. Prior to her nonprofit work, Felicia worked as an adjunct college professor, therapist and workforce development counselor. Felicia is adept in non-profit administration, teacher development, grant writing, and workplace assessment. Over the years, Felicia has created numerous programs to address issues such as literacy, under-employment, and lowering incarceration recidivism. Felicia believes in developing and maintaining strong community ties. She is a firm believer in taking a holistic approach to a child’s education. Felicia began her career in the classroom as a teacher. She earned a bachelorʼs degree in psychology from Millikin University. Seeing first-hand the inequality in the education system, Felicia continued her graduate studies at the Adler School of Professional Psychology to do her part in addressing certain inadequacies. Felicia earned a Master’s degree with a dual concentration in psychology and in group psychotherapy/conflict resolution and neurological disorders such as ADHD. She is currently a doctoral candidate studying clinical psychology. When she is not working, Felicia is a dedicated family person, enjoying spending time with her nieces and nephews and exploring her new state of California.

National leadership

Our board of directors

  • Dan Carroll

    Dan Carroll

    Chair

    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.

  • Ian Cameron

    Ian Cameron

    Vice chair

    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.

  • Brad Creswell

    Brad Creswell

    Treasurer

    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.

  • Jeffrey Blount

    Jeffrey Blount

    Secretary

    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 Grio.com 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.

  • 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.

  • Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez

    Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez

    Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez has over three decades of experience in four industry sectors and areas: corporate, non-profit, government, and politics. She has excelled in each, although non-profit is where her commitment lives. Currently, she is the Commissioner for the Department for the Aging. She also serves on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board and on the Board of Trustees for the City University of New York, the largest urban public university system in the world.

    Previously Cortés-Vázquez worked at AARP as the Executive Vice President for Multicultural Markets and Engagement, and as the President and CEO of the Hispanic Federation, a network for Latino organizations throughout the East Coast.

    Cortés-Vázquez also served as the 65th New York State Secretary of State. Cortés-Vázquez obtained her undergraduate degree from Hunter College and earned a master’s degree from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. She is a Toll Fellow and has earned certificates from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and Columbia University’s School of Non-Profit Management.

    She is dedicated to her family, particularly her nieces, nephews, and grandsons.

  • 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.

  • Dr. Barbara Logan Smith

    Dr. Barbara Logan Smith

    Dr. Barbara Logan Smith has dedicated twenty years of service to building capacity and has contributed to the development of business executives, administrative leaders, educators, college students, and K-12 children across the country. Her roots as an educator began while serving elementary students in Milwaukee Public Schools. Her tenure involved a myriad of roles, including K-8 school administrator, classroom teacher, Title I teacher, technology teacher, programs implementer, and district trainer for efficacy, quality, and proficiency programs. Dr. Logan Smith served as vice president for the Efficacy Institute, a national nonprofit agency of education reform, dedicated to the mission of proficiency for all children in academics and character. In this role, she was responsible for the strategic development of training, marketing, and client management services. During her employment with the Institute, she trained approximately 10,000 teachers, certified over 200 teacher and parent trainers, and prepared more than 3,000 students to serve change agents in their schools through the Envoy Project, an Efficacy youth leadership program. Dr. Logan Smith served as the executive director of Teach for America Greater Delta: Mississippi & Arkansas.

    Currently, Dr. Logan Smith serves as chief of equity and belonging for Teach for America where she continues to fight for educational equity and excellence for all children. Dr. Logan Smith also facilitates training seminars for rising corporate executives and diversity and inclusion initiatives. She has trained approximately 1,500 participants from Edward Jones, The Partnership of Boston, Nestle Purina, St Louis Chamber of Commerce, and St. Louis Business Diversity Initiative. After earning an M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and graduating cum laude with her B.S. degree in Education (K-8) and Psychology from Lakeland College, she earned her Ph.D. from the School of Education at Cardinal Stritch University in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service. She has also served as adjunct faculty, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in leadership, management, and business for the university. She lives with her husband, Christopher, an executive coach with higher education and adult learning expertise and Ph.D. Candidate, in Jackson, Mississippi.

  • 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.

  • Richard Star

    Richard Star

    Richard Star is currently a principal and co-founder of NEXgistics LLC, a third-party logistics provider with locations in New York and Nevada. Richard was involved in several businesses prior to NEXgistics. He worked for fourteen years in senior positions at Cliffstar Corporation/Cliffstar LLC, a vertically integrated private label beverage company. The company was acquired by Cott Corporation in 2010. Richard remained at Cott through 2011, serving as VP of Grower Relations in addition to VP of Ingredient Technology.
    Richard is a developer of commercial real estate in South Carolina and is a founding member of Dunes Commercial Properties, LLC. He is also a board member of several closely held firms including Vitamins Direct, LLC (Chair), Star Snax Holdings, LLC (Chair) and Portland Bottling Company.
    Before moving to Charleston, Richard was a member of Young Presidents’ Organization – Empire State Chapter. He served on the board of the Buffalo Zoological Society, St. Mary’s School for the Deaf (NY) and the Cranberry Institute, among others. Richard currently is a board member of the Porter-Gaud School Foundation (Chair), Porter-Gaud School (Trustee), the Jewish Endowment Fund of Charleston (Secretary), Chabad of Charleston, the Duke University Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Reading Partners South Carolina (emeritus member and past Chair).
    Richard earned a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and holds master’s degrees from New York University and Duke University (Fuqua School of Business).
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