Our Mission

Team Read propels young students to become inspired, joyful readers and teens to become impactful leaders, ready to succeed in school and life, building stronger communities for all.

Our Vision

We envision equitable learning communities that nurture and celebrate the strengths of young readers and teen leaders, and where every student gets the support they need to thrive.

Our Values


Literacy is the gateway and foundation of learning and future academic success. And literacy is a matter of social justice: throughout history and still today, this access is not equitably distributed. We work every day to change this.


Young people learn and lead confidently, when nurtured, entrusted with responsibility, and held accountable. We take a strengths-based approach to our work with young readers and teen coaches, by listening to their voices, embracing and cultivating their assets, and supporting their empowerment.


We believe it takes a community to nurture readers and teen leaders: from systems experts, to school administrators, teachers, and tutors. By creating a safe, supportive learning space for tutoring pairs to do meaningful work, both sets of youth develop confidence and purpose, shaping a better world for all.


We are committed to continuous learning and improvement to achieve excellence. We approach our work with humility, curiosity, and an open mind. We take risks to accomplish our work better. We celebrate progress. We listen, refine, and try again.


We believe all learners should have access to the educational opportunities and support they need to thrive. We aim to support those students furthest from educational justice through the intentional selection of school partners and program participants. Our work is meant to equip, inspire, and educate our young people so they can change our world to become a just, equitable place for all.


We know that reading fluently brings joy — which is a powerful catalyst to curiosity, exploration, and all kinds of learning.

Equity Statement

Team Read values diversity, equity, and inclusion through everything we do.

Team Read is committed to growing educational equity and implementing anti-racist practices, through our programs and as an organization.  We do this in partnering with and impacting school systems, by increasing access and opportunity for youth who are furthest from educational justice and through the intentional selection of school partners and program participants. Our work is meant to equip, inspire, and educate our young people so they can change our world to become a just, equitable place for all. This means increasing justice and fairness within our own organization and within the larger system in which we play a part.

We seek to address educational inequities—particularly racial bias and discrimination—through quality out-of-school programming that helps to close learning gaps.  In this way, we ensure kids furthest from educational justice get the attention and instruction they need to read joyfully and well, and that their teen coaches acquire the skills they need to lead and succeed in life and work.

We work with schools and communities and students who disproportionately come from:

  • Underrepresented groups, including African American/Black, Hispanic or Latina, Bi/ Multiracial, Native American/Alaskan, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander;
  • Low-income backgrounds, specifically free and/or reduced lunch eligible;
  • Households where English is not the home language.

Team Read acknowledges and values the intersections of race/ethnicity, gender identity and expression, class, sexual orientation, ability, age, national origin, and religious/spiritual identities in our students, our staff, and our organizational leadership.

Our Work

Team Read’s dual-impact model helps young students to become confident, joyful readers equipped for academic success, and teens to develop work and life skills that support their transition to college and future employment. Teachers refer second through third grade students (and fourth grade, where available) who are reading at least one year below grade level proficiency to participate in the program. Team Read recruits, hires, and trains teen reading coaches from nearby middle and high schools, pairing them with these young students for one-on-one tutoring after school, two times per week.

Team Read’s curriculum and materials are developed by reading teachers who incorporate the best literacy strategies and proven classroom tutoring techniques into our program. Informed by research and years of experience, the curriculum is designed to develop vocabulary, reading fluency and comprehension.

The primary instructional tool used by our reading coaches is the Power Reader Journal (PRJ). The PRJ is structured so that lessons include sight word work, phonics, reading comprehension and fluency. Lessons in the PRJ are aligned with the Common Core State Standards. Team Read also provides a collection of fun, interesting, culturally-relevant books at each tutoring site. Half are fiction, and half are non-fiction or informational.

Children who do not read during the summer can lose months of academic progress. According to the National Summer Learning Association, by the fifth grade, summer learning loss can leave low-income students two-and-a-half to three years behind their peers. Team Read is dedicated to helping student readers stay on track and continue to succeed, year-round. Our summer program has been growing and evolving since 2012. We partner with The Seattle Public Library, Seattle Public Schools, Seattle’s Department of Education and Early Learning, and Highline Public Schools to provide reading tutoring support and enrichment activities for hundreds of young students, while employing more than 100 teen coaches each summer.

Elementary Schools Served

Team Read is currently operating in four school districts: Seattle, Highline, Renton, and Tukwila. We are serving students from the elementary schools listed below during the 2023-24 school year. Additional to school-based sites, Seattle Public Library hosts our program in select locations to enable us to serve more students.


Bailey Gatzert, Broadview, Dearborn Park, Dunlap, John Muir, Kimball, Lowell,  Maple, Rising Star, Sand Point, South Shore, Thurgood Marshall, West Seattle


Hazel Valley, Midway


Campbell Hill


Cascade View, Thorndyke

Our History


Craig & Susan McCaw meet with Superintendent John Stanford to discuss strategies to support students’ reading improvement. The Craig & Susan McCaw Foundation pledges $1 million to start Team Read. They worked with Joan Dore, the district’s Reading Programs Manager, and her team, who researched and developed our current cross-age tutoring model.


Tricia McKay-Lincoln is hired as Team Read’s first program manager and that spring the program is launched at four elementary schools.


Team Read hires its first full-time employee, Maureen Massey, as project coordinator. Team Read is awarded the A+ Partnership Award from the Alliance for Education for our partnership with the Seattle Public Schools.


Team Read receives official status as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) agency.


At the 10-year mark, Team Read is in 13 elementary schools and has served more than 12,000 students.


First summer tutoring program in partnership with Seattle Public Library.


Team Read partners with Highline Public Schools to launch a pilot program at Hazel Valley Elementary.


Neighborhood Team Read is formed in partnership with local organizations to offer programming at community sites. A new fourth grade program is piloted (Team Read 4).


Celebrated 20 years of reading success and partnerships with Seattle Public Schools, our 7th anniversary with Seattle Public Library, and our second anniversary with Highline Public Schools in providing high-quality reading tutoring and meaningful jobs for nearly 20,000 local students and teens.


Team Read expands to Tukwila and Renton school districts, and adds a third partner elementary school in Highline.


Team Read celebrates 25 years of service.

Meet the Team

Melissa Pailthorp

Executive Director

Mumina Ali

Program Assistant for Community Connection

Meg Alley

Communications and Development Director

Kelsey Bleckner

Training and Program Manager

Jeanette Eisenberg

Program Director
Sandy Gunder

Sandy Gunder

Program Manager

Alexander Huynh

Program and Development Assistant

Judy Margrath

Director of Organizational Expansion

Interested in joining the board? Contact us for more information.