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Our Team

  • Tarae Williams

    Special operations associate

    Tarae is a Tulsa native who has a passion for children in her community. After working several years in sales, her goal was to live and serve with more passion and purpose. In her journey she found her place at Reading Partners Tulsa where she first served as an AmeriCorps member for two and a half years. Now in her new-to-Tulsa role of special operations associate, she cannot wait to see how she can further contribute to the organization and help the team serve Tulsa's students.
  • Mike Thomas

    Program manager

    Mike has over seven years of management experience with the YMCA in Tulsa, most recently as senior director of character development. At the YMCA, he managed afterschool programs and partnerships throughout the metro, as well as youth sports, including partnering with Tulsa Public Schools to run soccer programs for elementary school students. Before the Y, Mike worked for five years in Special Services for both Union and Jenks schools. He is passionate about serving students and families in our community and believes that we are all better when we serve together. Mike is also a former Reading Partners volunteer at Eugene Field.
  • Sam Stockley

    External relations associate

    Samantha Stockley joins the Reading Partners team with a love of literature, writing, and a strong drive for public service. After years as a freelance tutor and writer, Samantha settled into the agency world of nonprofit fundraising via proofreading and copyediting. She has always been an advocate for literacy and is overjoyed at the prospect of tackling her new role as development associate. Samantha also enjoys playing french horn, reading, and snuggling with her three cats!
  • Courtney Rodebush

    Interim program director

    Courtney 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 joined the Reading Partners staff in 2018 as a program manager and is currently serving as the director of program.  She looks forward to continuing to serve students across Tulsa to increase reading proficiency and foster a love of literacy at an early age. 
  • Tammy Robbins

    Deputy program director

    Tammy Robbins earned her undergraduate degree from the Xavier University of Louisiana and graduate degree from the University of Wisconsin. She has taught in the classroom for 15 years, four years as a middle school science teacher in the Rio Grande Valley, and 11 years in an elementary school in Aguascalientes, Mexico. She started working at Reading Partners as a site coordinator in 2015. She later became a program manager and is currently serving as the deputy program director. She is excited to continue building relationships with our schools and their families. She believes that literacy is the key to future academic success for children and that it allows students to have better opportunities in life.
  • Brenna Peterson

    Senior external relations manager

    Brenna Peterson joined Reading Partners in 2016 as community engagement coordinator. She has previous experience with marketing, communications, and 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 has a bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders (deaf education and deaf studies) from the University of Texas at Austin.
  • Marisa Morgan

    Community engagement director

    Marisa 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, upon joining the Reading Partners team in 2016. As a Tulsa native, she is happy to share the joy of reading with children in a city she loves.
  • Jonathan Merkel

    Community engagement manager, Operations

    A native Oklahoman, Jonathan ventured west to Denver in 2014. There he began volunteering with Reading Partners. Since his first session, he has gone on to serve two years as a reading center coordinator at Garden Place Academy in Denver's Globeville neighborhood, and with Reading Partners Tulsa's community engagement team since 2017. While not working to help students in their learning, Jonathan enjoys playing sandlot baseball, being a hack writer, cooking, his cat Cleo, and "wandering in the hinterlands" of eastern Oklahoma.
  • Ashley Horning

    Program manager

    Born and raised in the Midwest, Ashley moved to Oklahoma in 2007 where she went to the University of Oklahoma. After volunteering with the United Way in OKC tutoring elementary students, Ashley found her passion and joined Reading Partners Tulsa as an AmeriCorps site coordinator at Celia Clinton Elementary. From there Ashley, has been a regional site coordinator, program associate, and is now a program manager. Ashley graduated with her master’s degree in public administration in 2018.
  • Tara Harris

    Program manager

    Tara went to elementary school, high school, and college in Tulsa. She graduated from the University of Tulsa with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology with a Museum Studies Certificate and an Art History minor. After TU, Tara joined the 2017 Teach for America Greater Tulsa corps and taught second grade at College Bound Academy. She served as a classroom teacher for two years and then served as an instructional coach for the next two years with a focus on math. Tara is currently pursuing a Masters in Education Administration, Curriculum, and Supervision at OU-Tulsa and is thrilled to be joining the Reading Partners team as a program manager to continue her work in the Tulsa education community.
  • Brandy Gildon-McCracken

    Program manager

    Brandy is a North Tulsa native who has devoted her entire professional career to providing an outlet for less fortunate students. She first worked as a junior high band director in Pine Bluff, AR and an elementary music teacher and high school vocal music director in England, AR. In 2012, Brandy moved back to Tulsa from Arkansas. Upon her arrival in Tulsa, Brandy served as the vocal music director and marching band director at Central High School. Later, she returned to elementary education in one of Tulsa’s newest Charter Schools, where she served as the music teacher and an instructional coach. She is now earning her second Master’s Degree in Education Leadership. Brandy joined the Tulsa Reading Partners team as a program manager in July 2021.
  • Emily Fuller

    Development manager

    A Tulsa native, Emily graduated from Oklahoma State University with degrees in Spanish, Family Relations and Child Development. She then headed to the mountains of Colorado to get her master’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Colorado State University. Emily has worked with children in education, health care and non-profit organizations for over 20 years. She joined the Reading Partners team to merge her experience in fundraising and development with her passion for education. She has served on the board for the Tulsa Debate League and currently serves on the Edison Foundation board. Emily enjoys meeting new people and relationship building.
  • Brettin White Fox

    Program manager

    Brettin studied Spanish language and literature at UNAM in Mexico City, graduated from Sacramento State with a bachelor's in English and a TESOL certification, and is currently pursuing a master's in public administration at OU Tulsa. Her connection to Reading Partners began with two AmeriCorps service years at Mark Twain elementary. Before returning to the team as a program manager, she taught English language and civics courses for immigrants and refugees at YWCA and coordinated diversity and inclusion programs at OCCJ. Her dream is that someday each student would have their culture and language represented positively in the classroom, along with the support they need in order to be successful in school and life. She loves spending time outdoors, trying new foods, practicing yoga, and (of course) reading.
  • Amanda Floyd

    Program manager

    Amanda has devoted her entire professional career to public education, first as a classroom teacher in Memphis and Dallas and later as an instructional coach. In 2019, Amanda and her family moved from Dallas to Tulsa. Upon arrival, Amanda joined the Tulsa Reading Partners team as an AmeriCorps member, first as a literacy lead, and then as a site coordinator at McKinley Elementary and McClure Elementary. Amanda graduated from the University of Memphis with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and is currently pursuing a Masters in Library Science at OU-Tulsa.
  • Lyssa Flanagan

    Community engagement associate, Recruitment

    Lyssa graduated from the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Science in psychology with minors in English and liberal arts. At university, Lyssa gained a service mindset and decided to dedicate her professional career to helping others. A few years after graduating, Lyssa knew she wanted to go into nonprofit work, and served as a City Year Americorps member at Daniel Webster High School, supporting freshman in an English classroom. During that year of service, Lyssa saw the literacy crisis firsthand and decided to join Reading Partners. Lyssa served two years at Reading Partners as an AmeriCorps site coordinator at Kendall-Whittier Elementary and McClure Elementary. Both schools boasted some of the highest student and tutor enrollments in the region. In 2019, Lyssa joined the Reading Partners full-time staff as the community engagement associate of recruitment. When not at work, you can find Lyssa in her craft room making paper crafts and scrapbooking.
  • Kalian deBruyn

    Community engagement associate, Operations

    Kalian deBruyn joined Reading Partners in 2018, where she served a year as an AmeriCorps site coordinator at MacArthur Elementary. Kalian first joined the Reading Partners full-time staff as a community engagement coordinator of operations in July of 2019, and is now excited to continue working with students and volunteers in a new capacity as a community engagement associate. Prior to Reading Partners, Kalian studied international community development with a focus on nonprofit work. She worked at the Tulsa City-County Library, which exposed her to the world of books and the magic of early childhood literacy development.
  • Latasha Buxton

    Community engagement coordinator, Recruitment

    Latasha joined the Reading Partners team in 2019 as an AmeriCorps member. Her passion for education and love for children aligned with the core values and commitments of Reading Partners. With over 17 years of experience in child care and educational setting, she is equipped to make a positive impact in everything she does, to focus on what matters with changing the outcome of our children and communities, and believing in connecting with people for a sole purpose. As a community engagement coordinator for recruitment, she now works to ensure volunteers have all the information they need to be reading partners. As the first person many people interact with when joining Reading Partners, Latasha brings a warm disposition and is an excellent customer service provider. Latasha earned a Bachelor of Science in healthcare administration from Concordia University-Portland. She has two children, Daniel and Michelle.
  • Camille Burke

    Program manager

    Camille Burke was born in Seattle, WA and grew up backpacking, skiing, and kayaking with friends and family. In 2015, she graduated from Kalamazoo College in Michigan with a double major in Spanish and Anthropology & Sociology. After graduation, Camille made the decision to serve a year of national service through the AmeriCorps City Year team in Detroit, MI and ultimately discovered her passion for being in the classroom and supporting students in order to reach their full potential. Camille continued her passion as a math and literacy intervention teacher and instructional supervisor in some of Chicago’s private schools from 2015-2021. Camille strives to be an impactful leader, which she developed through DePaul University’s Master of Public Administration program. Camille joined the Reading Partners Tulsa team in Fall 2021 as a Program Manager and is excited to share her passion for education and years of experience to the Reading Partners community!
  • Haley Biram

    Community engagement manager, Recruitment

    Haley is a Tulsa native and graduated from the University of Tulsa in Nonprofit Business and Arts Management. Joining the Reading Partners team in 2020, Haley leads all volunteer recruitment efforts for the Tulsa region and oversees community engagement initiatives and partnerships. Coming from Gathering Place as their volunteer program manager, Haley contributed to the launch and coordination of the park's volunteer program for two years. Prior to Gathering Place, Haley was the education and public programs manager at the Hardesty Arts Center for five years.
  • Heather Kawlra

    Executive director, Tulsa

    Heather joined the Reading Partners team in 2017 as a program director and served most recently as the managing director in Tulsa. In her tenure at Reading Partners, Heather has led the team to see 93 percent (a 10 percent increase) of principals from partner schools reporting improved school-wide reading progress. Before joining Reading Partners, Heather built a wealth of knowledge and experience while teaching and leading in both district and charter schools. Immediately prior to joining Reading Partners, Heather was the principal of Wright Elementary School in Tulsa Public Schools (TPS), where she led her team to increased reading proficiency for all third, fourth, and fifth-grade students on the Oklahoma Core Curriculum Tests (OCCT). Heather is excited to lead the Reading Partners team through new opportunities as we make plans for the 2021-22 school year.


Samantha Aponte
Ann Farrow
Joe Gottron
Omare Jimmerson, Chair
Rick D. Lambert
Christi Lee
April McAnnally
Keith McArtor
Danielle Neves
Tim Newton
Brandon Oldham
Connie Pearson
Aliye Shimi
Nate Todd
Shagah Zakerion


Thanks to Tulsa Partners

  • Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation
  • Coretz Family Foundation
  • George Kaiser Family Foundation
  • Tulsa Area United Way
  • Tulsa Public Schools
  • OneOK
  • Quick Trip

Thanks to our partners

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