SF Bay Area

Our Team

  • Aarika Riddle

    Aarika Riddle

    Executive Director

    Aarika Riddle has over a decade of experience in the nonprofit sector. Most recently, she has served as the executive director of Reading Partners Silicon Valley where she helped to build strong school, district, partner, and funding relationships. Prior to joining Reading Partners, Aarika spent eight years at Adolescent Counseling Services as their advancement & marketing director where she developed a diversified funding stream, worked diligently to combine two donor bases following a merger, and led an agency-wide rebranding effort. Born and raised in Hawaii, Aarika holds a bachelor's degree from California Lutheran University in sociology and communication, with a concentration in public relations. Aarika is a proud product of the public school system and is passionate about ensuring students have the foundational skills they need to succeed in school and beyond. Aarika and her husband are self-professed foodies and she loves spontaneous dance parties with her two young sons.
  • Lindsey Kessel

    Lindsey Kessel

    Managing Director

    Lindsey brings 15 years of experience in education, direct service, program management, and community engagement. Since 2010, Lindsey has helped shape Reading Partners’ programming across the Bay Area starting as program coordinator, serving as program director for six years, and now as managing director. Before joining Reading Partners, Lindsey taught special education for five years at a Title I Bay Area elementary school. Throughout her career, Lindsey has been passionate about supporting underserved youth. She proudly served as an AmeriCorps member, and has a bachelor’s in psychology and in Spanish language and literature, both from University of Colorado. She earned her teaching credential and master’s in learning and instruction from University of San Francisco.
  • Michael Baker

    Program Manager, East Bay

    Michael is a program manager in the East Bay. He is a transplant to the Bay Area from Buffalo, New York where in 2011 he earned his bachelor’s from SUNY Buffalo in history and a certification in secondary education. He briefly taught seventh and eighth grade social studies before continuing his career working in the nonprofit sector with Buffalo’s growing refugee population. After working with populations in Buffalo and on the Thai-Myanmar border, Mike returned to the United States to complete his master’s in sustainable development at SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, Vermont. He has been serving Reading Partners in the Silicon Valley and Bay Area as a program manager since 2015. His favorite children’s book, if forced to chose one, is Redwall by Brian Jacques. He loves camping, cars, coffee, and current events.
  • Peter Cabana

    Program Operations Data Associate

    Peter is a Bay Area native and graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a degree in Communications. His strong passion for education led him to find Reading Partners in August 2014. He first joined the Reading Partners Silicon Valley team serving as an AmeriCorps regional site coordinator for two years before moving into the role of community engagement associate in 2016. Peter assists in data collection and analysis for the community engagement and program team while also managing the regional operational systems. Peter’s favorite children’s book is Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. Contact Peter at peter.cabana@readingpartners.org or (650) 260-5904.
  • Gardenia Campos

    Program Associate, East Bay

    Originally from Los Angeles, Gardenia moved to the Bay Area to attend UC Berkeley where she promptly discovered the amazing literacy intervention organization called BUILD. It is through this program that she was able to serve as a Reading Partners tutor. After four years at Think College Now/International Community School, Gardenia returned to serve a year as an AmeriCorps site coordinator. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to continue supporting students as well as AmeriCorps members in her role as program associate. An avid reader herself, choosing a favorite book would be as horrifying a task as choosing a favorite child. However, the Harry Potter series holds a special place in her heart.
  • Kelly Cheung

    Program Manager, San Francisco

    Kelly serves as a program manager in San Francisco. She was born and raised in foggy SF, and worked in after-school and kindergarten classrooms in San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) before obtaining her bachelor’s from Colorado College and then her master’s in teaching from Pace University in New York City. She taught elementary special education in the Bronx for two years with New York City Teaching Fellows before returning home to join the Reading Partners team as an AmeriCorps site coordinator in 2017. Her favorite children's books are the Elephant & Piggie series by Mo Willems. Kelly manages the reading centers at Sherman Elementary, Jean Parker Elementary, Spring Valley Elementary, Tenderloin Community School, and Rosa Parks Elementary. Outside of work, Kelly loves camping, dogs, and making meals from around the world!
  • Michelle Collier

    Development & External Relations Director

    Michelle Collier serves as the development & external relations director at Reading Partners SF Bay Area. She graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a bachelor's in feminist studies and recently completed her master’s in nonprofit administration at the University of San Francisco. She has worked in nonprofit development and fundraising for nearly ten years, beginning at a small, environmentally focused nonprofit as a grant writer and administrator and serving at Playworks as the development director for the Northern California team. Michelle’s dedication to educational equity and social justice in the Bay Area brought her to Reading Partners. Her favorite book is Matilda by Roald Dahl.
  • Rebekah Espino-Drobner

    Community Engagement Associate

    Rebekah comes to Reading Partners from working a variety of jobs in the non-profit sector, including two years as an AmeriCorps VISTA working directly with veterans. Rebekah briefly left the Bay Area to attend UC Santa Cruz where she received a bachelor’s in American Studies and Sociology. She has spent the last two years working at her old elementary school in Oakland in the after school program, and loves working to continue to support children in a different role now. As someone raised in the East Bay, she is excited to work in an organization that focuses on building strong community partnerships to directly serve the kids within the community. Outside of Reading Partners, Rebekah spends her time focused on community organizing, enjoying the outdoors, and tries to see at least one movie per week. While Nancy Drew was her favorite series to read growing up, her favorite children's book is Amelia Bedelia.
  • Jon Lemke

    Program Director

    Jon is returning for his ninth year with the Reading Partners AmeriCorps program. Jon graduated from the University of Southern California with degrees in psychology and business. He joined Reading Partners as a site coordinator in 2010 and launched Reading Partners’ first reading center in Marin. Having served as a site coordinator, manager, and director, Jon brings a broad perspective and great enthusiasm for education. He is excited to continue building and supporting Reading Partners in the San Francisco Bay Area. Jon’s favorite children’s book is Maniac McGee by Jerry Spinelli.
  • Diana Martin

    Special Projects Manager

    Diana is a California transplant from Portland, Oregon and can't seem to leave the West Coast! Her tenure with Reading Partners started in 2012 as an AmeriCorps site coordinator in Redwood City. After serving for two years, she transitioned into the program manager role on the Silicon Valley team where she managed the six Redwood City school sites. She moved to the SFBA team continuing to grow as a program manager for the past two years overseeing five school sites in San Francisco. Diana is excited to take on this new role as special projects manager, form the opportunity to see a new side of a familiar organization, and the chance to work more closely with all regional departments. Diana’s favorite children’s book is The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch.
  • Allison Rhodes

    Community Engagement Manager

    Allison is excited to lead the SFBA team’s volunteer recruitment efforts to engage over 1,600 tutors for our region. She has developed a passion for volunteering and service after five years of managing education programming for a nonprofit in Thailand and Myanmar, teaching primary students in Ghana, West Africa, and serving with AmeriCorps teaching resettled refugees in San Diego. She joined Reading Partners in 2015 as a program manager in San Francisco, and is excited to share her love for the reading centers  to community partners and new tutors. She has a bachelor’s in human development and international studies from UC San Diego. Growing up, she loved solving mysteries with The Boxcar Children book series.
  • Sara Gardner-Heart

    Program Manager

    Sara hails from Sonoma County and earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UC Santa Cruz in 2014. After graduating she served in two different AmeriCorps programs in Boston, MA- City Year and Notre Dame Mission Volunteers. Sara taught English and learned Spanish in Spain for six months and then returned to Boston to continue working in urban education as a manager of out-of-school time programming in Dorchester. Her favorite children's books are Holes, Walk Two Moons, and of course, the Harry Potter series. In her free time Sara enjoys running, traveling, vegan cooking, improv acting, and playing with her cat Rio.
  • Kelsey Larsen

    Development Operations Manager

    Kelsey Larsen joins Reading Partners from Los Angeles, bringing with her over seven years of nonprofit experience in program leadership and development operations. Most recently, Kelsey served as the Director of Training and Data Stewardship for The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, where she guided employees through a database upgrade, led database onboarding, and ensured data integrity across the organization. Originally from McLean, Virginia, Kelsey holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree in public administration, also from USC (fight on!). Kelsey is thrilled to help support students make literacy gains across the Bay Area. Kelsey always has a book nearby and is a proud AmeriCorps alum.
  • Andrea Edelman

    External Relations Associate

    Andrea is a Southern California native who moved to Northern California to pursue a degree in international relations; it was along this academic journey that she fell in love with education and the nonprofit sector. Following graduation, she obtained her TEFL certification and taught in rural Thailand for almost a year. Since then, she has dedicated herself to a career in the nonprofit sector, working as a nonprofit consulting assistant and then a development associate prior to joining Reading Partners. In her free time, Andrea enjoys drinking coffee, hiking, watching movies, and eating pizza. As a kid, her favorite book was The Encyclopedia of Dogs.
  • July Cordoba

    Program Manager, East Bay

    July is originally from Bogotá, Colombia; since moving to the United States in 2009 she has lived in New York, California, and Indiana. She holds a bachelor's in elementary education from Universidad Distrital in Colombia and a masters of Arts in teaching from Marian University. In Colombia, she taught English as a foreign language, and shortly after her arrival in the United States, she served as an AmeriCorps member with Reading Partners in San Leandro, California. After her time as a site coordinator, she became a founding teacher at Vision Academy in Indianapolis and returned to California to work with KIPP Bay Area schools. July is thrilled to be back at Reading Partners as a program manager in the East Bay! Some of her all-time favorite children’s books are Library Lion by Kevin Hawkes and Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann. When she isn't supporting tutors and students you can find her dancing, hiking, or running.

Our AmeriCorps Team

Site coordinators

Miiraf (Mia) Arefeaine, Site Coordinator, Cesar Chavez

Carisa Borromeo, Senior Site Coordinator, Spruce

Rayhannah Dar, Site Coordinator, TCN/ICS

Sheyenne Davis, Senior Site Coordinator, Hesperian

Brenda Esquivel , Site Coordinator, Hillside

Brynne Fay, Senior Site Coordinator, Fruitvale

Rachel Gottfried, Site Coordinator, Leonard Flynn

Elizabeth Guerrero Muñoz, Site Coordinator, Futures/CUES

Hannah Hall-Dolezal, Senior Site Coordinator, EnCompass

Katherine Hoolihan, Site Coordinator, Berkeley Maynard Academy

Cheery Huang, Site Coordinator, Hillcrest

Joohwan Kim, Site Coordinator, Spring Valley

Bergan Koch, Site Coordinator, Sanchez

Sophie Lemisch, Site Coordinator, Tenderloin Community School

Gavin Li, Site Coordinator, Emerson

Maggie Liu, Site Coordinator, Madison Park

Kaylin Mansley, Site Coordinator, Sherman

Diego Martinez, Site Coordinator, Rosa Parks

Lea McGhee, Site Coordinator, Vincent

James McKennie, Site Coordinator, Bret Harte

Katie Neff, Site Coordinator, Cox/REACH

Marcela Ortega, Senior Site Coordinator, Bridges

Brianna Ortiz, Site Coordinator, Learning Without Limits

Zaira Sanchez, Senior Site Coordinator, Laurel

Casey Smith, Regional Site Coordinator

Allison Stuart-Willis, Senior Site Coordinator, Franklin

Nisha Suthar, Senior Site Coordinator, Franklin

Tammy Tang, Site Coordinator, Jean Parker

Wesley Walton, Site Coordinator, Bessie Carmichael

Lonny Wysard, Site Coordinator, Alvarado


Literacy leads

Hector Amaya, Senior Literacy Lead, Futures/CUES

Drew Austin, Literacy Lead, Madison Park

Taylor Duke, Literacy Lead, EnCompass

Ashon Hunter, Literacy Lead, Cox/REACH

Beatríz Perez Portillo, Literacy Lead, Vincent

Kristian Sloan, Literacy Lead, Bridges

Allison Stuart-Willis, Senior Literacy Lead, Franklin



Volunteer coordinators

Aria Brock, Volunteer Coordinator

Rachelle Johnson, Volunteer Coordinator

Branden Sheppard, Volunteer Coordinator



Lexus Sistrunk, Development Coordinator


Helena Brantley, Principal, Red Pencil Publicity + Marketing

Cathy Cockrum Dean, Education Philanthropist

David Ellis, Senior Manager, LinkedIn for Nonprofits

Jennifer Friedland, Golden Gate Mother’s Club, Volunteer Chair

Sally Hartman, Education Philanthropist

Zachary Hill, Specialist, Community Relations, Golden State Warriors

April Kupper, Vice President, JPMorgan

Katie Markov, VP Operations, Gametime United

Tom Musbach, Bank of the West, Managing Editor, Social Media

R. James Slaughter, Partner, Keker & Van Nest LLP

Kristin Sverchek, Lyft, General Counsel

Miriam Warren, Vice President of New Markets, Yelp

Tom White, President and CEO, Co-founder, Triact Therapeutics Inc.

Charlie Wyman, Principal, Seven Post Investment Office LP


Thanks to our partners

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