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June 1, 2016

Reading Partners announces leadership transition and initiates national CEO search


CONTACT: Michael Todd, (415) 225-9139,

(Oakland, CA) June 1, 2016 — Reading Partners, a national nonprofit organization that trains community volunteers to provide students with proven, individualized reading support, has announced that Michael Lombardo will be stepping down as CEO on June 1, 2016. Following a decade of successful leadership, Lombardo and the national board of directors jointly decided that the time was optimal to bring on a new CEO to drive the next phase of Reading Partners’ development, growth, and operational excellence. Lombardo remarked, “I’m so proud to have helped Reading Partners grow from serving a few hundred students in Silicon Valley ten years ago to an organization now serving over 10,000 students across ten states and the District of Columbia. I look forward to watching Reading Partners continue to increase its impact in the coming years.”

During Lombardo’s tenure, he helped the organization to secure its first AmeriCorps grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), enabling expansion beyond California in 2010. Further expansion was fueled when Reading Partners was selected as a Social Innovation Fund (SIF) recipient in 2011. In 2014, Lombardo was invited to the White House to represent Reading Partners as one of ten high-impact organizations highlighted in the inaugural What Works Showcase. Reading Partners impact was further validated in 2015, when MDRC published results from its randomized control trial which found that Reading Partners’ program had a positive and statistically significant impact on all three measures of reading proficiency evaluated. Most recently, under Lombardo’s leadership, Reading Partners helped initiate The Golden State Reading Guarantee, SB 1145, comprehensive reading legislation in California focused on improving the reading skills of students in kindergarten through fourth grade by providing additional resources to schools and teachers to diagnose and create individualized reading plans for students reading below grade level. Susan Hayes, national board chair, remarked, “The board of directors is extremely grateful to Michael for his years of dedicated service and for his leadership in building Reading Partners into an organization that is helping to close the early reading opportunity gap.”

The board of directors is launching a national CEO search and has appointed Jessica Vibberts, chief people officer, to serve as interim CEO during the transition. Prior to joining Reading Partners, Jessica served in a similar role at Summer Search, a national nonprofit organization focused on equipping high school students with skills for college. “Jessica brings 16 years of leadership and operational experience to her interim role, and I am confident she will work with her excellent leadership team to continue our important work and to strengthen the organization even as we move through this transition,” said Hayes.

About Reading Partners

Reading Partners empowers students to succeed in reading and in life by engaging community volunteers to provide one-on- one tutoring. The national nonprofit organization will provide proven, individualized literacy tutoring to more than 10,000 elementary school students in under-resourced schools across ten states and the District of Columbia in 2016.

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