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Our Team

  • Karen Gardner

    Karen Gardner

    Chief development officer

    Karen joined Reading Partners in 2015. She served as the senior executive director for the Washington, DC region prior to joining the national team as the chief development officer. She brings over 15 years of experience leading high-performing teams in the nonprofit sector, driven by the desire to create educational equity for students. Early in her career, she was a teacher and served as an AmeriCorps member in Washington, DC with Higher Achievement, an academic enrichment program for middle school students. She stayed with Higher Achievement for five years after her AmeriCorps term as the organization prepared for national expansion. Most notably, she created Higher Achievement's volunteer management department from the ground up and co-authored the organization's signature culture policy.
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    Before joining Reading Partners, Karen served as a program manager at Family Services of Western PA, where she was responsible for leading her teams to exceed statewide service-delivery goals and secured major, multi-year funding for the organization. Additionally, she managed a consulting practice for nonprofit and government entities, working primarily to develop systems for volunteer management, training, and HR management. Karen has a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s in business administration from The George Washington University with concentrations in organizational development and nonprofit management. She is a volunteer reading partner and a former advisory board member for Higher Achievement.

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