Senior 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.
Community Engagement Manager - RecruitmentHaley is a Tulsa native and graduate from the University of Tulsa in Nonprofit Business and Arts Management. Coming from Gathering Place as their Volunteer Program Manager, Haley contributed to the launch and coordination of the park's volunteer program for the last two years. Prior to Gathering Place, Haley was the Education & Public Programs Manager at ahha Hardesty Arts Center. Haley enjoys spending time with her pup Leo and is excited to be joining the Reading Partners Team to continue moving forward the education landscape in our community.
Program ManagerLora graduated from Oklahoma State University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She then obtained a master's degree in social work, with a concentration in administration and community practice, from the University of Oklahoma. She is currently a Licensed Masters Social Worker (LMSW) in the state of Oklahoma. Lora loves macro-level social work, and is a big believer in the power of preventative social programs. She joined the Reading Partners staff in 2019 with six years of experience in nonprofit mentoring and tutoring programs through her work at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma and City Year Tulsa. Lora serves on the board for Volunteers of America Oklahoma, and is dedicated to using her voice to help amplify the voices of others.
Community Engagement Coordinator, RecruitmentLatasha 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.
Community Engagement Coordinator, OperationsKalian deBruyn joined Reading Partners in 2018, where she served a year as an AmeriCorps site coordinator at MacArthur Elementary. Kalian joined the Reading Partners full-time staff as a community engagement coordinator of operations in July of 2019, and is excited to continue working with students and volunteers in a new capacity. 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 child literacy development.
Community Engagement Associate, RecruitmentLyssa 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. Lyssa is a huge Harry Potter fan and credits the series for beginning her love of reading. Lyssa lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma with her husband Jake, who is a Reading Partners volunteer.
Program ManagerAmanda 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, her husband (a Tulsa native), and two daughters 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.
Development ManagerMatthew Fransein returned to Tulsa and joined Reading Partners in June 2018 as the development manager. Prior to Reading Partners, Matthew was based in Washington, DC 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 degree in international development and spent two years in the United States Peace Corps as a community development and English language teacher in Cambodia.
Senior Operations 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 food and beverage industry 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. Joining Reading Partners in 2018, Abby brings a background in management, education, and nonprofit experience to her role as senior operations 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. 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.
Program ManagerJalessa has passionately pursued education reform and equity throughout her career. While attending Pepperdine University and earning a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, Jalessa's love of educational equity began to grow as she taught in preschools with Jumpstart. There she managed teams who implemented sessions on phonemic and phonological awareness to preschoolers. During that time, Jalessa also joined the DC Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative, where she secured funding through grant writing and organizing fundraising events to ensure transportation for students to educational partnerships throughout Washington, DC. After graduating in 2017, she moved to Tulsa to continue her devotion to education with Teach for America as a fourth grade teacher at Celia Clinton Elementary. Jalessa joined Reading Partners as a program manager in 2019, to continue on her journey of achieving educational equity and social justice. She is excited about the Reading Partners movement and looks forward to seeing the positive change community volunteerism will make for childhood literacy.
Program DirectorHeather Kawlra brings to Reading Partners a wealth of teaching and leading experience in both district and charter schools. Prior to Reading Partners, 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, CO. 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 degree in special education from the University of Oklahoma and a master's degree in education leadership from Seton Hall University.
Community Engagement Associate, OperationsAfter studying at the University of Oklahoma, Jonathan moved to Denver where he began volunteering with Reading Partners in 2014. He went on to serve two years as a reading center coordinator at Garden Place Academy in Denver's Globeville neighborhood. Upon returning to Oklahoma in 2017, Jonathan began working with Reading Partners Tulsa's community engagement team and now leads orientations for all new volunteers.
Community Engagement Manager, OperationsMarisa 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. 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.
External Relations AssociateBrenna 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.
Director of External RelationsAs the director of external relations, Jessica oversees regional communications, media relations, and manages community engagement efforts by leading a team of community engagement professionals. Jessica began her career at Saxum, a regional integrated marketing communications agency, as a public relations professional. She worked with many local nonprofit clients, inspiring her to work for Reading Partners. Jessica joined Reading Partners in 2014 as the community engagement manager, and has lead the community engagement efforts for the region, growing from engaging 600 weekly volunteers to 2,000 weekly volunteers annually. Jessica has a bachelor’s degree 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.
Deputy Program DirectorCourtney 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 work at 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 AssociateSamantha 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!
Program ManagerMike 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. Mike is a former Reading Partners volunteer at Eugene Field.
Program ManagerBrettin is a Tulsa boomerang. She found her passion for teaching and coaching while doing volunteer English classes during her time of service and study abroad in Mexico City. She subsequently graduated from Sacramento State University in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in English and her TESOL certification (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). Upon her return to Tulsa, she served two years as a Reading Partners AmeriCorps site coordinator at Mark Twain Elementary and taught English part time to immigrant and refugee adults at Union's Adult Learning Center. Now, after a couple of years coordinating family literacy programs for YWCA and social-emotional learning programs for OCCJ, she's thrilled to be back with Reading Partners. Her dream is that someday each student would have their culture and language positively represented in the classroom, along with the support they need in order to be successful in school and life.
Omare Jimmerson, Chair
Rick D. Lambert