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 is a doctoral candidate at Abilene Christian University where her research is focused on the sustainability of school-community partnerships.
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.
Program managerAmber is a graduate of Lake Forest College with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Minor in African American Studies. In 2014, Amber received her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Arkansas and relocated to Dallas-Fort Worth to pursue a career in nonprofit management. Prior to Reading Partners, Amber gained invaluable experience working with K-12 students, families, and communities as an afterschool program manager and director, as well as an elementary school social worker. She has managed and supported programs for literacy and math tutoring, youth mentoring, and parent engagement. Amber is dedicated to serving students through a holistic approach that prioritizes both academic growth and social/emotional learning and development.
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.
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.
Senior operations managerAshley 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.
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.
External relations managerAmber Martin graduated from Grand View University with a bachelor’s in liberal arts. She is currently completing a master’s of social work from New England University and holds a Community Health Worker Certification from the Texas Department of State Health Services. Amber is a dedicated, passionate professional offering a progressive 15-year career history advancing objectives of local to national level grant-funded programs. Amber strives for setting a strategic direction and mobilizing financial, staff/volunteer, and other resources to drive attainment of immediate and future objectives. Amber is effective 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.
Senior program managerAnnie McCormick graduated from the University of Texas in Arlington with a bachelor of arts degree in interdisciplinary studies and spent nine years teaching third and fourth grade in North Texas public schools. To learn about education from another perspective, Annie decided to serve with Reading Partners in their community. During their term of service as an AmeriCorps member, Annie worked alongside school staff and community volunteers to address the opportunity gap by providing additional support for students in Fort Worth ISD. As a Reading Partners staff member they continue to focus on supporting school communities by coaching AmeriCorps members and community tutors to help break down educational barriers students face with an emphasis on social-emotional wellness. Annie is also a strong supporter of Reading Partners' work to deepen our understanding of race, equity, diversity, and inclusion, continuously examining the ways systemic inequities impact our communities and seeking to bring about meaningful change.
Development managerKim 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.
Community engagement officerWhile serving as an adult literacy tutor during her senior year at Knox College, Jennifer decided to pursue a career in education—a decision largely based on the passion for educational equity that the experience had sparked in her. Shortly after, she began her career in Denver, CO as an elementary school teacher with Teach for America. 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 additionally served as an Urban Leaders Policy Fellow in Dallas, Texas where she researched and drafted recommended changes to the state’s English Language Arts standards and conducted case studies of schools in the DFW metroplex. Most recently, Jennifer worked as a policy analyst with the New Mexico Public Education Department where her key responsibilities included policy research and development, data analysis, and stakeholder engagement.
Lance Currie, Chair, Carrington Coleman
Chrystal Badillo, Compliance Officer, Westwood Holdings Group, Inc.
Tania Curry, Director of Government Relations, Project Lead the Way
Cathy Estrada, Community Volunteer
Matt Garcia, SVP – Public Policy, Dallas Regional Chamber
Rev. Dr. Daniel C. Kanter, Sr. Minister/CEO, First Unitarian Church of Dallas
Holly Kuzmich, Executive Director at the George W. Bush Institute and Senior Vice President of the George W. Bush Presidential Center
Myra H. Savage, Trust Officer, Bank of America Private Bank
Kathy Spicer, Community Volunteer
Von Trammell, Senior Manager, EY
James Walton, Partner, EY