Senior executive director, South CarolinaKecia received her bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Georgia and received her master's in elementary education from Boston University. She has experience in corporate adult training and management consulting and taught elementary school in the public schools in Massachusetts. She has served as a curriculum and technology integration specialist for public schools in Massachusetts. She was school improvement chair for Berkeley County schools 2009-2011. Prior to joining Reading Partners, Kecia was the executive director of Charleston Volunteers for Literacy.
Program managerLucas has been in education for over 20 years. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the College of Charleston. Before coming to Reading Partners, she taught first, second, and third grades in North and South Carolina. In addition, she was the director of admissions and recruitment for a small nonprofit college. As a program manager, Lucas brings a wealth of knowledge to Reading Partners and the volunteers and schools with which she works.
Dr. Bonnie Bella
Director of development and strategyBonnie received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh and a Ph.D. in clinical-community psychology from the University of South Carolina. She has more than 25 years of executive management and senior leadership experience in the behavioral health care industry and nonprofit sector. She recently joined Reading Partners after serving as the senior vice president of community impact at Trident United Way. Prior to that she was the chief executive officer for Carolina Youth Development Center. Across her career she has been responsible for strategy, business, and resource development for small and large organizations.
Program managerKelly brings over a decade of education experience to Reading Partners. Before her role as program manager, Kelly was a passionate and successful third, fourth, and fifth-grade teacher, alternative education teacher, team leader, and served as an Elementary Principal in Pennsylvania. Kelly was the lead educator of over 600 students, including 4 self-contained classrooms (Autistic Support) and one Emotional Support Classroom. She also managed more than 80 staff and faculty. Kelly has earned two Bachelor of Science degrees, the first from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania in Education of Exceptional Persons and the second from the Pennsylvania State University in Elementary Education. Kelly also holds a Master of Science Degree in Educational Leadership from Saint Francis University. Kelly has been certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and South Carolina Department of Education and holds Administrative II and Principal Certificates for PK-12 in both states. Kelly has a deep passion for learning, education, leadership, and ensuring all students have equal opportunities to be successful now and through their adult lives.
Community engagement associateVictoria pursued her bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in African American studies at Winthrop University and the University of Maryland University College. Her prior experiences to joining Reading Partners include over 15 years in sales and marketing and grassroots movements including local, state, and national political campaigns. She currently advocates for social justice issues to include educational equity and injustices toward people of color. She has a love for reading and the arts; acting in several plays and featured in spoken word appearances. Her passion for literacy and underserved children is what inspired her to begin her journey with Reading Partners as a tutor. She then served as an Americorps member and is now excited about bringing all those perspectives together in her new role as the community engagement associate.
External relations managerRebecca received her bachelor's degree in historic preservation and her master's in arts administration from Savannah College of Art and Design. During her time at SCAD, she interned with several nonprofits in the Southeast and discovered a passion for grassroots and community-driven causes. She served a year with AmeriCorps as a development VISTA with Austin Partners in Education before joining The University of Texas System as a development associate. She is thrilled to bring her grant writing and gift processing experience to Reading Partners as we continue to impact the Tri-County region.
Director of community engagementChristine Messick has over 20 years of nonprofit management experience with an emphasis on volunteer engagement. Prior roles include serving as the executive director of Youth Service Charleston. She has worked extensively with outreach and volunteer support at MUSC Children’s Hospital. Christine's passions for volunteerism, collaboration, and coordination have guided her gifts of time and talent to Hotline Training, the Trident United Way, the Mayor’s Commission for Children, Youth and Families and the Community Volunteer Engagement System Organizing Committee to name a few. She is an enthusiastic and determined leader, skilled in developing a broad vision and cultivating excellent relationships with executives, community leaders, peers and volunteers. Ms. Messick holds a BA in English from the University of South Carolina and a certification in volunteer administration from the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration.
Dr. Katie Qualls
Program directorKatie graduated with a bachelor's degree in early childhood education from the College of Charleston. She also holds her master's degree in school leadership and administration from Arkansas State University, and has her Ph.D. in the area of curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Before coming to work with Reading Partners, Katie worked as an instructional coach, lead teacher, literacy interventionist, and first grade teacher in Charleston County School District. Katie loves working in schools with educators and students. She was a South Carolina Teaching Fellow and has always had an intense passion for education. She especially enjoys interpreting and analyzing data.
Special projects managerCierra is a graduate of College of Charleston, where she received her bachelor’s degree in communication and minor in linguistics. She has dedicated her career to serving youth and education in Charleston County since 2009, as she is passionate about supporting dynamic organizations that work to change the lives of youth. Prior to Reading Partners she worked as a Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School Servant Leader Intern. She later served three terms as an AmeriCorps* VISTA member under Charleston County Mayor’s Office for Children, Youth and Families, as a volunteer coordinator and literacy site coordinator. In 2013, Cierra joined Reading Partners Charleston team as a site coordinator for Chicora Elementary School, and served there until the spring of 2016. Cierra is excited about her transition into a full-time position with Reading Partners, where she will work directly with AmeriCorps members to make their service year as meaningful as possible.
Program managerAbbie fully believes in making all students lifelong readers. She has made it her mission since she graduated from Towson University with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Before Reading Partners, Abbie strove to provide quality literacy education for seven years in a myriad of settings. During that time, she saw the direct impact that individualized instruction and data-driven decisions had on children in the classroom and how it contributed to their love of reading. In addition to teaching, Abbie contributed to the educational world by starting an educational summer program, managing a teacher certification program, and is continuing her education by attending Mary Baldwin College to earn her master’s degree in special education. She is excited to be a program manager that supports students, site coordinators, and volunteers with data-driven decisions, instructional strategies, and a love of reading.
Development special projects associateKelli received her bachelor’s degree in Biology with a minor in Environmental Studies from the University of Mississippi. After college, she served one year with AmeriCorps as the program coordinator at Keep Knoxville Beautiful in Tennessee. She developed an interest in the public sector and wanted to learn more about working in nonprofits and government. She recently graduated from a concurrent graduate program at the College of Charleston, earning one master’s degree in Public Administration and another in Environmental and Sustainability studies. During graduate school, Kelli worked as an environmental educator with the Department of Natural Resources, and she is excited to continue serving students in the Lowcountry with Reading Partners.
Emily Swanson, Community Advocate and Volunteer
Board Chair; Strategic Volunteer Engagement Committee Co-Chair
Nedra Hecker, Retired, Curator of Marine Mammals, National Aquarium in Baltimore
Board Governance Committee Chair
Alison Kowalski, Bookkeeper, Carolina Custom Carpentry
Strategic Volunteer Engagement Committee Co-Chair
John Thompson, Novelist
Development and Marketing Committee Chair
Sarah Belaustegui, Project Manager, League Inc.
Dianne Benton, Principal, Pinehurst Elementary School
Katharine Crawford, Community Advocate and Volunteer
Dwayne Green, Owner and Founder, Green Consulting
Mark Lea, Account Director, National Accounts, Vf Corporation
Justin Lee, Associate VP of Membership Engagement, Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce
Brandon Sharrett, President and GM of Blackbaud Corporate Solutions
Pam Wilson, Community Advocate and Volunteer
Roger Jones, CEO, Companion Associates, Inc.
Board Member Emeritus
Louise Kohlheim, Community Advocate
Board Member Emerita
Richard Star, Principal, NEXgistics, LLC
Board Member Emeritus