Executive DirectorJustin has dedicated his career to educational equity and entrepreneurialism. Before joining Reading Partners, Justin served as national director of operations support for Character Formation Project, where he ensured smooth implementation and managed digital content for over 40 partner schools and organizations across the country. He launched his career with Teach For America-Oklahoma when it opened in Tulsa in 2009, and quickly rose through the organization as it expanded across the state. In his various roles, Justin raised more than $7.5 million for Teach For America and secured funding from the State of Oklahoma. Justin also managed operations for the Teach For America Oklahoma City Institute, which trained more than 260 teachers, staffed over 100 people, and provided free summer school to more than 2,000 students. He was a founding board member for Collegiate Hall College Prep Charter School in Tulsa. Justin earned his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Business Administration from the University of Tulsa. Justin and his wife Megan have two children, Landon and Payton, and run two fitness studios in Tulsa.
Development ManagerMatthew Fransein returned to Tulsa and joined Reading Partners in June 2018 as the development manager. Prior to joining, Matthew was based in Washington, D.C. where he spent two years in sales and five years in international development project management in Afghanistan, Mali, Guinea, Ethiopia, and Macedonia. He graduated from American University with a bachelor's in international development and spent two years in the United States Peace Corps as a community development and English language teacher in Cambodia.
Program ManagerAfter obtaining a degree in human services from Western Washington University, Abby Hoffman moved with her husband and two dogs to Austin, Texas. There she helped manage and operate several restaurants. After several years, she decided to give up the industry life and return to her first love of helping children succeed. Abby returned to her hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, to join Teach for America (TFA). After serving with TFA, she joined the Tulsa Area United Way as an agency specialist. Abby brings together a background in management, education, and nonprofit experience to her role as a Reading Partner program manager. She currently spends her leisure time with her husband, two dogs, and most importantly, her bossy and brilliant one-year old, Louisa.
Program ManagerBorn and raised in the Midwest, Ashley moved to Oklahoma in 2007 where she went to the University of Oklahoma, met her husband, and is here to stay. After volunteering with the United Way in OKC tutoring kindergarteners, Ashley found her passion and joined Reading Partners Tulsa as a site coordinator at Celia Clinton Elementary. Ashley is currently getting her master's degree in public administration at the University of Oklahoma - Tulsa.
Community Engagement ManagerUpon graduating from Oral Roberts University, Rebecka worked for her alma mater for several years in the Alumni Relations office and later the University Relations office. Though she left the world of academia for a brief adventure doing HR in the world of retail, she was overjoyed to join the Reading Partners team in the summer of 2016. Her favorite childhood books were The Berenstain Bears series, and she is currently enjoying a phase favoring classic literature. She and her husband are the proud parents of Titus, a charming and energetic Bull Terrier.
Program DirectorHeather Kawlra comes to the Reading Partners team with a wealth of experience teaching and leading in both district and charter schools. Heather was most recently the principal of Wright Elementary School in Tulsa Public Schools, where she oversaw the implementation of data meetings that drove a 10 percent increase in the number of students growing one or more grade levels in a single academic year. Prior to her work at Wright, Heather founded DSST: College View Middle School, a charter middle school in Denver, Colorado. Under her leadership, College View finished first in the state of Denver in writing and in ELL growth and was the highest performing Denver Public School. Heather grew up in Norman, Oklahoma and earned her bachelor's in special education from the University of Oklahoma and master's in education leadership from Seton Hall University.
Community Engagement CoordinatorKatie grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, where she found a love of free museums, outdoor theater, and Ted Drewes Frozen Custard. She studied health/psychology at Truman State while teaching art camps for kids ages five to 14. She then took a chance on the unknown and came to Tulsa to “serve where most needed” through City Year, an AmeriCorps program where she tutored and mentored high schoolers and led a team of 12 AmeriCorps members through their own year of service. Katie is fueled by being a part of a movement larger than herself and believes where you come from should not determine where you're going.
Community Engagement CoordinatorAfter studying English literature at the University of Oklahoma, Jonathan moved to Denver where he began serving with Reading Partners as a volunteer in 2014. He went on to work full-time for Reading Partners as a reading center coordinator Garden Place Academy in Denver's Globeville neighborhood. After returning to his home state of Oklahoma in 2017, Jonathan began work with Reading Partners Tulsa as a community engagement coordinator. And while Jonathan hopes to one day write books that will change the world, he's happy to help kids learn to read with Reading Partners.
Community Engagement AssociateMarisa Morgan graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2014 with a degree in communication and a minor in writing. She worked in journalism for two years and is happy to have found herself in the nonprofit world. She considers herself a Tulsa native even though she moved here when she was eight years old. Marisa is happy to share the joy of reading with children in a city she loves.
Program AssociateBorn and raised in Los Angeles, Camille moved to Tulsa in 2016 to complete a year of service as an AmeriCorps member with City Year. While she had planned on driving straight back to the Pacific Ocean after her year of service was over, Tulsa's charm and many opportunities for young professionals quickly changed those plans. She served as a site coordinator at Eugene Field Elementary and joined the Reading Partners Tulsa staff as a program associate in 2018. Camille is passionate about educational equity, intersectional social change, and children in foster care. In the fall she will begin her graduate studies in public administration at OU-Tulsa.
External Relations AssociateBrenna Peterson graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor's degree in communication sciences and disorders, focusing specifically on deaf education and deaf studies. She has previous experience with volunteer management, ranging from nonprofit work at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in Tulsa to organic farming at Johnson's Backyard Garden in Austin, Texas. Brenna is honored and excited to continue learning and growing in the role of community engagement coordinator. In her free time, you can find Brenna reading, playing in the sun, shopping at the farmer's' market, or two-stepping!
Director of External RelationsJessica Risenhoover joined Reading Partners in 2014 as community engagement manager. Prior to Reading Partners, Jessica worked in public relations with nonprofit clients at Saxum, a regional integrated marketing communications agency. Jessica has a bachelor’s in public relations from Oklahoma State University.
Program ManagerTammy Robbins is a graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana. She worked as a middle school science teacher in south Texas and a missionary teacher in Mexico before coming to Reading Partners. She moved to Tulsa and began working at Reading Partners as a site coordinator in 2015. She believes that literacy is the key for future academic success for children and that it allows students to have better opportunities in life.
Program ManagerCourtney Rodebush graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in journalism and public relations. She spent over 15 years in the classroom, teaching language arts and geography. Courtney is thrilled to join Reading Partners and focus on early literacy in Tulsa. She is excited about the impact community volunteers can have in fostering a love of literacy across the city.
Development AssociateTaylor graduated from Oral Roberts University in 2017 with a bachelor’s in international community development. After serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA for one year with Reading Partners, she joined the Tulsa staff as a development associate. As a lifelong Tulsan, Taylor is excited to be a part of a dynamic team working together to impact the futures of Tulsa students.
Program ManagerDana Whittaker graduated from Northeastern State University in 2007 with a degree in elementary education. After college she taught fourth grade at a Title I Tulsa Public School. After teaching Dana moved on to become program manager for Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma. She is very excited to be a program manager for Reading Partners and to make a difference in her community through literacy.
Dr. Keith Ballard
Dr. Kim Boyd
Omare Jimmerson, Chair