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Our Team

  • Jeffrey Zwillenberg

    Jeffrey Zwillenberg

    Senior executive director, Baltimore

    For the past 10 years, Jeffrey has focused his career in education reform to help ensure that all kids have the opportunity to be successful in school and beyond. Jeffrey comes to Reading Partners from New Leaders, where he held several positions as a member of the Maryland team as well as the national program team. As the development director in Maryland, Jeffrey created a partnership with Institutes of Higher Education and district partners to win $3.8M from Maryland's Race to the Top award. He also recruited and formed the first local advisory board of six members for the Baltimore program. As a member of the national team, he served as chief of staff to the chief program and cities officer, where he led the implementation of a reorganization and change management process to support new program delivery, realized more than 20% in savings by creating better budgeting practices, and facilitated and led the senior leadership team workgroup. Most recently, Jeffrey reformed and led a community of practice for city operations staff and designed and led three multi-day professional development trainings resulting in tighter communication across local sites, greater community engagement, and a more collaborative culture.

    Jeffrey has an undergraduate degree in philosophy from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale. He also holds master’s degrees in the liberal arts from St. John’s College, education policy and leadership studies from the University of Maryland, College Park, and recently completed his MBA at Loyola University Maryland. He lives in the Hampden neighborhood in Baltimore city with his wife, Jen and their two kids, Max and Natalie.

  • Keyna Anyiam

    Community engagement manager, operations

    Keyna is a seasoned network engagement professional with a multidisciplinary background in city and state government, private sector, and non-profit organizations, spanning ten years. As the community engagement manager, she will manage the onboarding and training for volunteer tutors, facilitate the retention and recruitment of community partners, and report critical volunteer insights throughout the Baltimore region. Keyna is no stranger to Reading Partners Baltimore, having served as a volunteer in 2014. She is excited to come back and find new ways to work with the community to close the literacy opportunity gap. Keyna earned her bachelor's in Political Science from Saint Francis University.
  • Carla Blackwell

    Program manager

    Since kindergarten, Carla’s love of language and literacy has fuelled her academic and career paths. Carla comes to Reading Partners after managing partnership development at arts nonprofit Arts Every Day, as well as instructor roles with Loyola University, Baltimore City Public Schools, and Bluford Drew Jemison S.T.E.M. Academy. An English Teacher Assistant/University Lecturer, Carla acted as a U.S. Ambassador for the Fulbright program in South Africa in 2020. Carla is passionate about making an equitable impact on the literacy development of the brilliant students of Baltimore City. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Towson University, where she also learned American Sign Language, and her master's in literacy from Loyola University Maryland.
  • Vanessa Gray

    Program manager

    Vanessa discovered her passion for educational equity while attending college and has since dedicated her career to bringing quality educational experiences and resources to students. Vanessa first joined Reading Partners as a site coordinator and completed two AmeriCorps terms of service with the organization before becoming a program associate. Vanessa's experience seeing the one-on-one impact of dedicated tutors and celebrating special 'ah-ha' moments with students as a site coordinator now drive her work with AmeriCorps members and partner schools. Prior to joining Reading Partners, Vanessa taught in Baltimore City Public Schools for two years, working with elementary and middle school aged students in a variety of roles. She earned her bachelor's degree in sociology from UC Santa Barbara, and two master's degrees in elementary education and special education from Lesley University.
  • Jenna Gross

    Program manager

    A seasoned elementary school educator, Jenna prides herself on her focus on equitable treatment and consideration for all students through strategic partnerships, relationships, and ethical decision-making practices. Jenna joins Reading Partners after more than seven years of experience teaching within Baltimore City Public Schools and in Accra, Ghana. As a program manager, she is excited to continue supporting Baltimore students and collaborate within the nonprofit community in a new capacity. Jenna earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Goucher College. Outside of Reading Partners, she loves to cook and believes that food is one of the best ways to learn and connect with people and communities.
  • Shannon Held

    Program director

    Shannon is excited to work alongside the staff, AmeriCorps members, volunteers, and students at Reading Partners. She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Pittsburgh, and a master's in education from Johns Hopkins University. Before joining Reading Partners, she served as a Teach For America corps member teaching third and fourth grades in Miami, Florida. Teaching provided a foundation for her understanding and passion for literacy instruction and educational equity. During her time in the classroom, she mentored and coached new teachers as a literacy content leader and a corps member advisor. She held previous roles at Reading Partners as a program manager and senior program manager.
  • Crystal Lowery

    Senior program manager

    A native of Baltimore, Crystal was educated in Baltimore County Public School and attended Coppin State University, earning her bachelor's degree in psychology, minoring in early childhood education. She's worked with infants to kindergarteners in various education settings. Her work is not limited to children; she also mentors and trains volunteers. She joined Reading Partners as an AmeriCorps regional site coordinator, became staff as a program associate, and is now a program manager. As an educator, she realizes that literacy is the foundation for success in learning and life. She believes that to help someone succeed, you must provide the right care and attention. In addition to working with children, Crystal enjoys working with administrators, educators, specialists, parents, and the greater community; she believes that educating children is a collaborative effort.
  • Christine Pannell

    Senior communications manager

    From Goosebumps to Harry Potter, reading has played a large role in Christine's life since childhood. She is thrilled to join the Reading Partners team and use her marketing and communications skills to positively impact Baltimore students and spread a love of reading. Christine comes to Reading Partners from the education company, Pearson, where she spent six years supporting publicity efforts for its full-time online public schools. Prior to this, Christine completed an AmeriCorps year of service with the Baltimore City Office of the Mayor's StepUP volunteerism initiative, organizing the Supper Club program in juvenile justice centers across the city. She earned a bachelor's degree from La Salle University and a master's degree in communication management from Towson University.
  • Alexandra Reyes

    Development manager

    Alexandra Reyes is excited to be a part of the Reading Partners team working to highlight early childhood literacy issues and educational equality. An avid reader from a young age, reading continues to be a cherished pastime for Alexandra to relax, learn, and understand communities. Alexandra manages Reading Partners fundraising initiatives, including appeals, events, grants, and donor stewardship. She joins after two years as a development associate in Washington, DC with both the American Geophysical Union and National Veterans Legal Services Program. Previously, she worked as a sales and marketing assistant with WBAL Radio and Clear Channel Outdoor. Alexandra earned her bachelor’s degree in communication arts from Salisbury University and her master’s degree in public relations from the University of the Arts London, London College of Communication.
  • Jake Saltzberg

    Community engagement associate, recruitment

    From healthcare to education, Jake is passionate about community service and improving community access to vital resources. Jake began working with communities through public health research positions at UPMC Pinnacle Community Paramedicine and the Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation, where he supported research to find innovative solutions to reduce hospital readmission and connect patients to services. Jake also supported modernization efforts for nonprofit organizations as an intern with Ellipsis Partners. He earned his bachelor's degree in International Business and Management from Dickinson College.
  • Nicole Sener

    Community engagement director

    As a peace education and youth development professional, Nicole has centered her career on connecting young people of all ages to educational opportunities. She’s drawn to Reading Partners' mission as a form of peace education both in expanding educational equity for youth and in the opportunity for community volunteers to engage deeper in our public schools. Nicole has over 10 years of experience working directly with communities around youth development including her service in the Peace Corps as a youth, family, and community development volunteer in the Dominican-Republic. Nicole earned her bachelor’s degree and K-6 teaching certificate in elementary education at Bridgewater College and her master’s in international peace and conflict resolution from American University.

Regional advisory board

Reginald Benbow, PwC

Trey Bennett, Baltimore Ravens

Allyson Black, Baltimore Gas & Electric

Katie Brown, Hord Coplan Macht

Kris Caverly, Chair, T. Rowe Price Group, Inc.

Quinn Collins, Collins & Co.

Brooke Harlander, St. John Properties

Marla Johnson, Maryland Judiciary, Baltimore City

Amy Miller, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Brendan Regan, Brown Advisory

Guy Sheetz, Community Member

Nick Umosella, The Bozzuto Group

Mustafa Wahid, TransitioningU, LLC

Hershel Waites, M&T Bank Corporation


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