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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Program directorKelly brings over a decade of education and leadership experience to Reading Partners. Prior to her role as Program Director, Kelly was a Reading Partners Program Manager in the South Carolina region. In this role, she had an opportunity to work with schools to implement the Reading Partners Program and saw great gains among the students that were served. Even before that she was an elementary school principal in a Title 1 school, had experience teaching grades K-5 during her tenure as an elementary school teacher, and also helped create and lead an alternative education program that she named LEAP (Learning Everyday Accelerates Progress). Kelly has earned two Bachelor of Science degrees, the first from 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's deep passion for learning, education, leadership, equity, and equality is what drives her to make a difference in the communities we serve.
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.
Development directorDawn received her Bachelor's degree in Business from West Virginia Wesleyan College. After working in retail for many years, she used her business acumen to serve the non-profit sector. She has worked for several small and large nonprofits such as Planned Parenthood, Trident United Way, and Pet Helpers strategizing their growth and development plans. The mission of Reading Partners has her excited to work on raising funds to help elementary school children within the Lowcountry.
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