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Our Team

  • Joyce Macek

    Executive director, Seattle

    Joyce’s more than two decades in education have been centered around the belief that all young people deserve to be successful in their education and that a high-quality education is key to an equitable society. Joyce is honored to join Reading Partners as the executive director of our Seattle region and to lead an incredibly devoted and talented team. Most recently, Joyce served as the senior director of partnerships at an educational non-profit organization, Unbounded. As a founding team member, she led business development and school district partnerships for more than six years, significantly growing the organization’s impact on the field every year. Before this, Joyce worked at the Regents Research Fund in New York State, guided by the vision of Former U.S. Secretary of Education, John King. Joyce began her career in education as a Teach For America corps member in St. John Parish, Louisiana teaching reading to high school students. Joyce lives in Seattle with her family and has loved watching her daughter develop a love for and an understanding of how to read. In their free time, they love to travel, explore the Pacific Northwest, and settle in for Friday family movie nights.
  • Christine Young

    Program director

    Chris Young recently joined Reading Partners as a program manager. Prior to this she worked for several Seattle area education nonprofits with a focus on reducing education disparities and increasing opportunity equity. Previous to her nonprofit work, Chris taught high school and middle school biology and math at a Seattle independent school for 13+ years. She holds a MEd degree in secondary science education and a BS degree in biology. Some of her professional interests include brain science, neurodiversity, and social emotional learning. Personally, she spends her time chauffeuring her two middle-school aged children around town while dreaming about riding her bike, reading books, playing soccer or baking pies.
  • Ginny Bush

    Development manager

    Ginny is thrilled to join Reading Partners as the Development Manager for the Seattle region. Prior to joining the team, she spent three years supporting fundraising efforts for Read to Lead, a New York City based literacy organization dedicated to literacy and leadership development at the middle school level. Ginny has a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and a Master’s degree in Ethics from Fordham University. She is excited to be able to continue the important work of promoting youth literacy as part of the Reading Partners team. In her spare time, Ginny enjoys spending as much time outside as possible, exploring her new city of Seattle, and reading her way through a never ending pile of books.
  • Alexis Ford

    Program manager

    Alexis is eager to join Reading Partners as a Program Associate. As a former kindergarten teacher within Seattle Public Schools, she is more than happy to take on a new role that allows her to continue making an impact on students and their literacy success. Being in the education field has revealed to her the many disparities certain communities face in the educational system, from which she has developed a commitment to fighting against. In her free time she love spending time with her two boys and whatever adventure they lead her on, reading, traveling, going for walks and spending time with her family.
  • Gila Grunschlag

    Literacy intervention tutor

    Gila started volunteering as a Reading Partners tutor at Beverly Park Elementary in 2018 and continued tutoring virtually in 2020-2021. Last year, she joined the staff as a Literacy Intervention Tutor and had the opportunity to work at all our Seattle area schools. She continues on this year as a Special Projects Associate. She loves perusing the reading center libraries and finding new books to share with her students. Gila is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area but has called Seattle home since 1995. She enjoys going on long walks and exploring different neighborhoods. She lives in Seattle with her husband and two lively cats. Her son is a sophomore at UC San Diego, her alma mater. Go Tritons!  
  • Casey Watson

    Program associate

    Casey graduated from Texas A&M University with a BS in Anthropology in 2021. After completing her degree, she immediately began working with local nonprofits to serve her community. In the summer of 2022, Casey and her husband Will moved from Texas to Washington after he was offered a job here in Seattle! Casey was introduced to Reading Partners as she looked for a way to serve her new community and is excited to begin work as the new special projects associate for Reading Partners-Seattle. 
  • Zhane Spates

    Development associate

    Zhane is excited to be joining reading partners as a Development Associate. She was born and raised in Seattle, and graduated from the University of Washington with a double major in Economics and Food Systems. After graduating, she worked as a door to door fundraiser for Amnesty International to support human rights efforts across the United States. She believes the ability to read is a basic human right and nobody should be barred from the opportunity to learn how. She is super pumped to work for an organization that does such amazing work supporting literacy efforts. In her free time she enjoys playing rugby, baking and decorating cakes.
  • Sara Albertson

    Community engagement manager

    Sara Albertson is very excited to be joining the Reading Partners family. She was raised in Seattle WA and graduated St Olaf College with a degree in theater and psychology. After college she worked in theater education with over ten theaters in the Seattle area. Some include Seattle Repertory theater, Seattle Children's and Penguin Productions. She most recently comes from Town Hall Seattle, where she worked in Marketing. She has a passion for helping her students build autonomy through reading. In her spare time, she loves to get outdoors with her pup and enjoy the PNW! 


Marisa Allyn, volunteer coordinator

Marisa is thrilled to join the Reading Partners AmeriCorps team, serving as a volunteer coordinator. She is a December 2023 graduate of Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, where she studied international relations and cultural anthropology. While in college, Marisa took courses on various social justice and global inequity topics. She is enthusiastic to apply this expertise to addressing the literacy challenges across the Seattle area and promoting educational equity for all students. In her role with Reading Partners Seattle as a volunteer coordinator, Marisa hopes to expand the number of students we serve through new community partnerships and volunteer mobilization. Marisa enjoys listening to historical fiction and fantasy audiobooks in her free time and trying out various crafting hobbies.

Maddie Amberg, volunteer coordinator

Maddie is excited to have the opportunity to join Reading Partners as an AmeriCorps volunteer coordinator! She graduated from Vanderbilt University in December 2022 with degrees in political science and American studies. Maddie is incredibly passionate about human rights and spent much of her time at Vanderbilt learning about the importance of education in being the foundation for individuals to live happy and healthy lives. Since joining Reading Partners, she has learned more about the current disparities that exist in our educational system and is hoping to use her role as a volunteer coordinator to help young students across Seattle get access to the reading skills they need to succeed in life. When she’s not working with Reading Partners, you can usually find Maddie reading YA novels, writing, and visiting all the cat cafes throughout Seattle!

Sara Orne, program coordinator

Sara is the program coordinator at Orca k-8 for the 2023-24 school year. She graduated in 2023 from the University of Washington with a bachelors in global and regional studies. She is excited to serve with Reading Partners because she recognizes that a strong literacy foundation can make or break a student’s success in middle school, high school, and beyond. In her free time, Sara can be found skiing, paddle boarding, hiking, crocheting, playing games with her partner, or petting her cat Cleo.

Troy Hagwood, program coordinator

Troy is a program coordinator at Madrona Elementary school for 2023-24. He is a graduate of Oregon State University with a bachelor’s in history. His mother taught him to read and he is hoping to help many students find a love of reading. His favorite hobby is sleeping and playing video games.

Augustina Romero, program coordinator

Augustina is a professional life coach whose passion is people. She believes that by healing ourselves, and being of service, we can heal the world. This is currently her second term as an AmeriCorps member. Previously, she served as a life coach in Dallas for High School Students. She is VERY excited to be pivoting and working with children. Augustina was born in Colorado but has been living a little bit of a “nomadic” lifestyle, ultimately landing in the beautiful PNW, where she plans to pursue her Holistic Health and Wellness business. In her free time she enjoys being by any body of water, exploring, meeting new people, working on helping her clients navigate their lives, making and playing music. Also it’s a very important thing to add, that her cat is the love of her life, and they go on adventures together.

Rebecca Schell, senior program coordinator

Rebecca is excited to return to Reading Partners for a second year. Previously serving as a volunteer coordinator, Rebecca now serves as a senior program coordinator at Rising Star Elementary. She graduated from Susquehanna University in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in sociology. She values education and lifelong learning and believes literacy is the foundation of education. Her commitment to the value of education led her to serve an AmeriCorps term with the Pennsylvania College Advising Corps in 2021-22 where she guided 250 seniors through the college application and job search process. The mission of Reading Partners always stood out to her and is what drove her to serve her community. She likes to travel, bake, sing, and obviously read in her free time!

Ryan Thelin, program coordinator

Ryan is a senior AmeriCorps member returning for a second year as a program coordinator with Reading Partners. Ryan graduated from Seattle University in 2020 with a bachelor’s in English/creative writing, specializing in 20th-century pulp fantasy and science fiction. A self-proclaimed hobbyist, Ryan is always looking for new creative outlets, including narrative tabletop games, writing short stories, antique cooking, historical reenactment, and model building. Ryan is excited to continue his work with Reading Partners to further his new career in the nonprofit sector and to ensure younger generations build a positive relationship with reading from an early age.

Tyra Zitting, program coordinator

Tyra is a program coordinator serving with Reading Partners at Des Moines Elementary for the 23-24 school year. She currently lives in Auburn, WA and has lived there for the past 7 years. She is originally from a small town situated just outside the Great Salt Lake in the great state of Utah. She has 4 daughters, 1 cat, 1 bird, 2 geckos, and 3 goldfish. Her hobbies are working on her diamond painting art, camping, and nurturing her  garden. She has a “big kid” like spirit and one day hopes to write her own children’s book. She is really excited for her service year with Reading Partners because she enjoys working with and spending time getting to know and understand the youth with-in our community. She learns so much about the world we live in through the eyes of a child everyday and she wants to give back by being a part of empowering literacy for every child.


Judy Courshon, Wellspring Group
Cliff Freed, Washington Arbitration and Mediation Services
Natalie Hartkopf, Hightower Group
Fauzia Haq, Amazon
Taylor Johnson, Amazon
Derieontay Sparks, Evergreen Goodwill
Megan Thomas, Amazon
Helen Weyant, Past Board Chair

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