Executive director, North TexasKimberly 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.
Development associateCandace has always felt compelled to help students get the education they deserve and started with becoming a child sponsor. She then served two years with Reading Partners as an AmeriCorps member in North Texas. She remains highly dedicated to battling the educational inequities that some of our communities face and is committed to empowering communities through REDI work. Candace is excited to join the staff team and looks forward to continuing to motivate and inspire both our students and the community.
Community engagement managerAmber Martin, LMSW graduated from Grand View University with a bachelor's of liberal arts. In 2019, she graduated and received a master's in social work from the University of New England and became a licensed social worker in 2020. Amber is dedicated to and passionate about serving others; her passion for working with Reading Partners’ students is due to her experience as a young struggling reader and having a volunteer similar to Reading Partners’ tutors. Amber’s area of expertise is in the design, implementation, and oversight of social, economic, and health-based programs fostering education and empowerment for individuals and communities.
Program managerDiana Martinez graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in English and Sociology. She spent two years teaching kindergarten in Dallas ISD and seeks to use her classroom experience to impact a larger community. As a first-generation college student and someone who experienced a lot of challenges in education, Diana believes that all students should have access to an equitable education. Diana currently holds a master’s in Education from Southern Methodist University and is dedicated to making education more equitable for students.
Program managerCarlos Hernandez graduated from the University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley with a Bachelor of Arts in English. He taught high school English for a year, then worked in an after-school program for middle school students. He relocated to Fort Worth to serve as a literacy lead at George C. Clarke with Reading Partners in 2020. As an individual that faced numerous educational and cultural challenges growing up in the bicultural border region of South Texas, he is passionate about inclusivity, representation, and equitable education for all students.
Senior program managerCelene Hernandez graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in Biology and a minor in Psychology. She then joined Chicago Teaching Fellows and became a high school chemistry teacher through The New Teacher Project. During her five years in the public school system, Celene was a member of the school’s instructional leadership team and led her science department in school-wide and departmental initiatives. She then transitioned into non-profit management and became a senior program manager and site director for two K-5 after-school programs located in the Little Havana community in Miami, FL. Celene is passionate about giving children the tools they need to succeed in educational settings and within communities.
Community engagement & operations directorAshley graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies (early childhood – fourth grade) and went on to teach in both public and charter schools for four and a half years. During her teaching career, she had the opportunity to work with students from second to fifth grade. While working as a fifth grade special education teacher, Ashley developed a passion for teaching reading and working with students one-on-one. Ashley helped launch Reading Partners in Dallas and is looking forward to continue helping Reading Partners have an impact on Dallas students.
Community engagement associateHannah graduated from UT Arlington with a Bachelor of Science with a concentration in Public Health in May of 2020. Immediately after graduation, Hannah served two years with Reading Partners as an AmeriCorps member. During that time, she fell in love with community outreach. When the opportunity arose after her second term to join the team as a full-time staff member, she was elated. Hannah also earned her Master of Public Health during her time as an AmeriCorps member and hopes to use that knowledge to further her understanding of the systematic inequalities that our students experience.
Community engagement officerJennifer’s journey in education began as a Teach for America corps member serving in Denver, Colorado immediately after completing her undergraduate studies at Knox College. After completing her two-year commitment and earning an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Colorado-Denver, she taught another four years before transitioning into the multifaceted role of instructional coach, family liaison, and manager of a 21st Century Community Learning Center at her school. Jennifer also spent time in the world of education policy, serving as an Urban Leaders Fellow in Dallas and as a policy analyst with the New Mexico Public Education Department. She is an avid reader and loves seeing a love of reading grow in the students we serve.
Program managerKarla Gurley is a passionate educator, teacher, and leader with a strong love for students, reading, and people. She has over a decade of experience in the classroom and five years of international teaching experience in Shanghai, China. She graduated from UT Arlington in 2017 with an M.A. in Education, Leadership, and Policy Studies and received her B.A. in Social Work from Georgia State University in 2005. It is her desire to see all students, no matter their background, be successful in the classroom and stir in them a love for reading!
Program managerKaitee Herron's journey with Reading Partners began as a volunteer in 2013, and she has been passionate about our mission ever since. Kaitee was a program coordinator with Reading Partners North Texas in both Dallas and Fort Worth schools, and she is a proud AmeriCorps alum. Kaitee has since had the opportunity to work in child welfare involving foster and adoptive youth as well as with DFPS. Kaitee’s mission is to advocate for effective macro-level interventions and policies for children and families. Her biggest passion is ensuring equitable education and opportunities for children. She believes confidence in their educational journey will provide them with tools to find success in their futures. Kaitee graduated from Lancaster University with a bachelor's degree in English and she is currently pursuing her Master's in Social Work at the University of Texas in Arlington.
Program directorKendra Bass values education and has a passion for advancing youth across multiple platforms. She is a Reading Partners North Texas Alum (2013-2015) and a former middle school English teacher and grade level administrator. She transitioned from the classroom to pursue nonprofit management within the Dallas communities. Kendra holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Sam Houston State University, a master's in Juvenile Forensic Psychology from Prairie View A&M University, and a master's in Nonprofit Administration from Louisiana State University Shreveport. She is devoted to making an impact on the lives of youth and helping them reach their greatest potential.
Development directorKim Taylor graduated from Northwood University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. While completing her degree, Kim decided to dedicate her career to organizations that make a positive impact in her local community. For over ten years, Kim has held a variety of roles ranging from development, special events, volunteer administration, and community engagement at local agencies. She received her international accreditation for Certification in Volunteer Administration in 2014.
D. Lance Currie, Board Chair, Partner, Carrington, Coleman, Sloman, & Blumenthal LLP
Chrystal Badillo, Branch Manager, Supervisory Principal, Level Four Financial
Tania Curry, Director of Government Relations, Project Lead the Way
Matthew Garcia, SVP of Public Policy, Dallas Regional Chamber
Rev. Dr. Daniel C. Kanter, Sr. Minister/CEO, First Unitarian Church of Dallas
Erik Moss, Director of Development, Child Poverty Action Lab
Jody Sanders, Partner, Kelly Hart
Myra H. Savage, Trust Officer, Bank of America Private Bank
Von Trammell, Senior Manager, EY
James Walton, Partner, EY
Denisecia Lee, Teacher, Fort Worth ISD