Our Team

  • Jeffrey Zwillenberg

    Jeffrey Zwillenberg

    Executive Director

    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.

  • Justinia Carter

    Community Engagement Associate

    With over 10 years in retail management and five years in education-centered nonprofits, Justinia’s work with Reading Partners Baltimore as the external relations associate combines her loves of helping people, volunteerism, and developing young minds. Brought on as an AmeriCorps literacy lead in 2018, Justinia was immediately convinced of Reading Partners effectiveness! “Having the ability to read and understand the official language of one’s country is of the utmost importance! Written language permeates every part of our lives and the inability to read and comprehend it has grave consequences,” is something that many volunteers have heard her say and sums up her passion for literacy education. Justinia is an alumnae of Spelman College with a bachelor's in English.
  • Amanda Fisher

    Director of External Relations

    Amanda Fisher is responsible for developing fundraising and community engagement strategies to help support expansion of the organization. She brings more than a dozen years of fundraising and event planning experience in addition to her talent and enthusiasm for developing creative and goal-oriented campaigns. Prior to joining Reading Partners, Amanda served as the director of development for the Village Learning Place where she oversaw and implemented all major fundraising efforts. She has also worked as the event manager for Moveable Feast in Baltimore. Originally from North Carolina, Amanda earned her bachelor’s degree from Furman University in Greenville, SC.
  • Shannon Held

    Program Manager

    Shannon Held is thrilled to contribute to the Reading Partners team.  After completing her bachelor's degree from the University of Pittsburgh, she served as a Teach For America corps member teaching elementary literacy in Miami, Florida.  Teaching third and fourth grades, she saw the direct and powerful impact that building skills and confidence in reading had on students. During her time in the classroom, she mentored and coached new teachers as a literacy content leader and a corps member advisor. Shannon completed her master's in education from Johns Hopkins University and continues to strengthen her passion for literacy through service to students in Baltimore City.
  • Crystal Lowery

    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.
  • Kendra Padilla

    Program Manager

    An avid reader as a child, Kendra brought her love of reading to teaching students in a variety of educational settings for over 10 years before joining Reading Partners. Most recently, Kendra spent five years teaching third grade in Baltimore City at an Expeditionary Learning charter school, working as literacy lead for three years. She has extensive experience designing curriculum that incorporates literacy skills into science and social studies lessons in project-based learning environments. As a former AmeriCorps member with Citizen Schools, Kendra is passionate about bringing community volunteers into schools. Kendra earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Williams College and then earned her master’s degree in education from Lesley University.
  • Nicole Phillips

    Community Engagement Manager

    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.
  • Jenny Schulam

    Program Director

    Jenny is thrilled to be a part the Reading Partners team. Committed to ensuring that all students regardless of zip code have the opportunity to succeed in school and in life, Jenny believes in the crucial importance of early literacy. After studying education policy at Princeton, she taught pre-K through Teach For America and earned her master’s in early childhood education. While teaching, Jenny prioritized students’ literacy and language development to support kindergarten readiness as well as a lifelong joy of reading. Jenny then joined Teach For America’s national strategic initiatives and partnerships team, serving in several roles including director of Teach For America’s early childhood education initiative. Most recently, Jenny has served as the director of partnerships at Baltimore Corps, a nonprofit organization that builds robust, equitable pipelines to enlist talent in advancing Baltimore’s most promising social innovations.

AmeriCorps Team

Natalie Alexander
Omnia Azar
Ashlee M. Barnes
Adrianne Blake
Mary Virginia Ball
Ian Clarkson
Vanessa Gray
Caroline Hale
Meghan Helsel
Ebony Johnson
Andre Kersey
Autumn Kramer
Talia Makowsky
Joseph McFadden
Jennifer Hope Miller
Daisy Mitchell
Audrey Nelson
Tiffany Ralph
Norah Salamone
Stefan Specian
Tabitha Tucker
Samantha Whittemore

Regional Advisory Board

Trey Bennett
Corporate Partnerships, Baltimore Ravens

Allyson Black
State Affairs Manager, Baltimore Gas & Electric Company (BGE)

Kris Caverly, board chair
Vice President of Group, Individual Investors &; Intermediary Technology Solutions Delivery, T. Rowe Price

Quinn Collins
Founder, Collins + Wilson Communication

Sherrice Davis
Vice President and Regional Community Reinvestment Officer, M&T Bank

Stacie Henderson
Outreach Director, Waldorf School of Baltimore

Guy Sheetz
Community Member

Casey Smith, board vice chair
Principal, Hord Coplan Macht, Inc.

Nick Umosella
Project Manager, The Bozzuto Group


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