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New York City

Our Team

  • Primo Lasana

    Executive director, New York

    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.
  • Carly Ayala-Wing

    Development manager, institutional giving

    Carly Ayala-Wing joins our staff team as the development manager of institutional giving. In this role, she will support foundation, corporate, and local government sources, while also supporting other regional fundraising efforts. Carly previously led institutional giving efforts at Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York Inc. (A.R.T./New York), and is a former community school director at PS 14X.
  • Hassanatou Barry

    Community engagement associate

    Hassanatou Barry returned to Reading Partners after serving as an AmeriCorps volunteer coordinator in 2018. She has an unwavering passion for curating experiences for a variety of audiences. Whether that be through events, panel discussions, information sessions, celebratory luncheons and trainings—she has proven to be an excellent asset to her teams. With an extensive work background spanning from entrepreneurship within the childcare sector, to program management, community engagement and recruiting—Hassanatou’s experience derives from companies that are well respected within their industry. She is a strong believer in trying multiple things until you find the right fit for YOU!
  • Akilah Clarke

    Program associate

    Akilah first joined Reading Partners NYC as an AmeriCorps member working in South Jamaica, Queens as a program coordinator, helping our scholars soar to new reading levels. While in this role, Akilah was in her final year as an undergrad and took on the role of Evening Vice President of her college’s student government. She’s no stranger to big challenges. Akilah is most excited to help more schools and children and learn more about her awesome coworkers!
  • Kimberly De Jesus

    Senior program manager

    Kimberly De Jesus considers herself a lifelong learner. She is a recent graduate from the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, where she received a Master's in Public Administration with a specialization in Management and Leadership. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Culture with a minor in Spanish from Howard University. Her journey as an educator began as an afterschool step coach for elementary-aged children in Washington D.C. She later joined Teach For America (TFA), serving two years as an elementary school teacher for the Greater New Orleans region. After her TFA commitment, she continued teaching, focusing on differentiating instruction for English Language Learners and children with exceptionalities. As a program manager, she continues to pursue her passion for educational equity by designing and implementing educational opportunities for students and families across the NYC region.
  • Kevin Donald

    Program manager

    Kevin first joined Reading Partners NYC in January of 2023 as an AmeriCorps program coordinator at PS 123 Mahalia Jackson School in Harlem. At PS 123, he built and strengthened relationships with students, tutors, and administrators, growing his interest in taking on a greater role in the implementation of Reading Partners' program in NYC. Kevin rejoins the team as a program manager in East Harlem, where he will manage a school-based portfolio. He also loves the New York Knicks.
  • Carly Elliott

    Program director

    Carly firmly believes that literacy is a human right and is passionate about the role early intervention plays in closing the literacy gap. Before joining the Reading Partners team, Carly served as a Program Manager at The Literacy Lab in Washington, DC. Prior to shifting to the nonprofit space, Carly spent six years as an elementary Special Education teacher and a second-grade teacher in the District of Columbia. Carly is an alumna of Teach For America and completed two years as a Corps Member in Washington, DC. She earned her Master’s degree in Special Education from George Mason University and her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In addition, Carly enjoys cooking and playing with her rescue dog, Lemon.
  • Diego Fellows

    Development associate

    Diego Fellows has been with Reading Partners since October 2022. Prior to Reading Partners, Diego was the development & communications manager at Salem Academy Charter School (MA). Diego holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Massachusetts and a master’s degree in education from Boston University. He is a proud Eagle Scout and enjoys spending his free time on the mountains hiking or hitting the pavement running.
  • Ashley Gayle

    Program manager

    Ashley Gayle joined the Reading Partners New York City team determined to work for an impact-oriented organization closing the opportunity gap in literacy. She was born in Jamaica but spent her early adulthood in the Bronx. Ashley is a first-generation high school and college graduate who started a successful career in education management. She is an advocate for youth development and equitable access to education, developed through her service years as an Americorps member with Citizen Schools and as a program manager with Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City
  • Louisa Moyse

    Development director

    Louisa Moyse is the development director at Reading Partners NY. Before joining the team in September 2021, Louisa lead development and external relations efforts at Public Prep Network, a single-sex charter school network in NYC. In her role at Reading Partners, Louisa is responsible for leading the strategy and execution of the short- and long-term development goals. Louisa has a Bachelor's Degree in international studies from SUNY Cortland. She is thrilled to be on the Reading Partners New York team where she can continue her commitment to providing equitable access to high-quality educational experiences.
  • Thara Nugues

    Community engagement manager

    Thara Nugues was born in France and has been calling New York City her home for almost ten years. Before joining the team, she completed one AmeriCorps service term as a volunteer coordinator with Reading Partners NY at P.S.38 and P.S.171. Thara is excited to work once again with individuals who are passionate about educational equity and thrilled to be joining the team as a community engagement associate. She graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Foreign Languages, a Master’s Degree in International Studies and volunteered with New York Cares for over seven years. Thara is a certified scuba-diver and in her spare time she loves trying out new restaurants, baking and wood-working.
  • Rhea Quinones

    Community engagement director

    Rhea is honored to work as the community engagement director for the New York region. Previously, Rhea worked at Achievement First Charter School Network where she developed community partnerships in Brooklyn, ensured strong family engagement, and managed community outreach for student recruitment efforts. Prior to her work with Achievement First, Ms. Quinones worked as a community organizer for a decade, supporting grassroots education, housing, and transit organizing in Mammoth Lakes, CA, Chicago, IL, Manhattan, NY, and Patterson, NJ. Rhea is committed to giving all students access to an amazing education and is passionate about using volunteers to help address critical problems facing our country.
  • Markeem Reid

    Community engagement manager

    Markeem Reid is joining Reading Partners as our community engagement manager. Markeem has 10+ years of experience working in the nonprofit sector and has worked with a wide range of demographics that have all played an intricate role in his self development on a personal and professional level. Bringing a real sense of inclusion, innovation and fresh perspectives is what Markeem sets out to do everyday and is what he is most excited to contribute to the Reading Partners family, while Reading Partners supplies him with invaluable lessons and experiences along the way. He lives by the quote, “If you feel like you don’t fit into the world you inherited, it is because you were born to help create a new one”.
  • Elisabeth Renikoff

    Senior program manager

    Elisabeth grew up in Maryland and DC and attended Boston University, studying Theatre Arts and African American Studies. She has previously worked in youth development focused on art and mentorship. Elisabeth loves dancing, cooking, and painting. Her favorite author is Elif Shafak.
  • Jordan Rogers

    Program associate

    Jordan is extremely excited to be a part of the Reading Partners team! He received his bachelor's in Africana studies with a minor in education from San Francisco State University. He is deeply passionate about and has extensive work experience in education, social justice, and youth advocacy. During his undergraduate coursework, he was a Reading Partners volunteer, a resident assistant for his University's Housing, served as a servant intern leader for the Children Defense Fund's Freedom Schools at Community Coalition, spent a few months being a special education instructional assistant, and spent the last three years of his life being a substitute teacher. Most recently, he spent this summer being the experiential learning coordinator for Freedom Schools. Jordan is excited to embark on his journey with the Reading Partners.
  • Mala Vadher

    Program associate

    Mala Vadher joined Reading Partners NYC in 2019 as an AmeriCorps member. She served for three consecutive years as a program coordinator at P.S. 126. In 2022, Mala was honored to become a part of the staff as a program associate, overseeing a portfolio of schools in NYC. Mala graduated from Marymount Manhattan College with a bachelor's degree in communication arts. In addition, she has volunteered with other nonprofit organizations such as: New York Cares, Sakhi for South Asian Women, and Parikrma Humanity Foundation in Bangalore, India. During her free time Mala loves listening to music, journaling, eating different foods, and experiencing new places. Her favorite children's book is Goodnight Moon.

Advisory board

Kerri Bartlett, Reading Partners tutor

David Berg, corporate partner, Kramer, Levin, Naftalis & Frankel, LLP 

Will Herrman, partner, Cannell & Co.

James Hobson, chief executive officer, Attune Insurance

Danielle Jackson, partner, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

Ramyata Joshi, vice president, Goldman Sachs (co-chair)

David Levine, senior managing director – Americas acquisitions, Blackstone Group

Andrea London, senior VP, Lincoln Land Services

Eliberty Lopez, senior counsel, privacy, Samsung

Brandon Lower, head of financial sponsors group, William Blair & Company (co-chair)

Melissa Magner, director and legal counsel, BlackRock

Peter Martelli, partner, mergers and acquisitions, Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Elise Rosenberg, managing director, Seven Bridges Advisors

Erika Stallings, Meta

Amy Starck, Retired, Deloitte

Alexis Strongin, retired neurodevelopmental pediatrician

Steve Tomlinson, P.C., partner, real estate, Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Daniel Zarkowsky, managing principal, Odyssey Investment Partners, LLC

Associate board

Mackenzie Berman, The Blackstone Group

Genevieve Burger-Weiser, Kramer, Levin, Naftalis & Frankel, LLP

Claire Carpenter, The Blackstone Group

Zack Coleman, Odyssey Investment Partners, LLC

Joe Fiorie, ION

Andrew Gothelf, associate board chair, Salesforce

Heather Heinz, Kemnay Advisory

Mike Johnson, The Blackstone Group

Ojuolape Junaid, Google

Sophia Kolodzinksi, Bonaccord Capital Partners

Kristy Rampersaud, PWC

Jack Rupff, Sixth Street

Matthew Tyas, Goldman Sachs

Kate Whittier, Ares Management Corporation

Sam Zaretsky, associate board vice chair, Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Benson Zhang, BlackRock

Lauren Zhao, IQVIA

Tutor advisory council

Joan Stamler, Tutor Advisory Council Chair

Christina Auriana

Elizabeth Chow

Mary Gherty

Iris Keitel

Devi Ramchandran

Gerald Simpkins

Sophia Trugerman

Nancy Wolf

Thomas Wornom

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