Team Read recently welcomed seven new board members to our team: Eric Buley, Jolenta Coleman-Bush, Kaila Davis Nsimbi, Meli Gass, Lindsay O’Connor, Angela Webster, and Spring Zoog.

“We are thrilled to have such a dynamic, dedicated group of professionals joining the Team Read board!” says Executive Director, Melissa Pailthorp. “Each brings a special skill set, from human resources to youth development, and so much more. I look forward to working with them as we continue to develop and grow the program.”

Why did you join the Team Read Board?

Eric: I joined the board because we have a broken education system that propels some students while letting others–namely, Indigenous, Black, and Latinx students–fall through its cracks. I believe Team Read is a key lever in promoting educational equity by allocating resources to engage students furthest from opportunity, and by leveraging the expertise and leadership of high school students of color to coach and mentor young readers.

Jolenta: I’m excited and honored to join Team Read’s board because I believe literacy is a social justice issue and that all students should have access to high quality reading instruction and the supports needed to be avid readers. Investing in our youngest readers and the development of a new generation of educators and future community leaders is near and dear to my heart.

Kaila: I wanted to join the Team Read board because I am passionate about reading and youth development. I am excited to support Team Read’s implementation of the strategic plan, especially its focus on growth, partnerships, and racial equity.

Meli: I believe that literacy should be a basic right for all children and that every kid should have the opportunity to discover a love of reading. Some of my favorite books as a kid were the Nancy Drew, A Wrinkle in Time, and Anne of Green Gables series.

Angela: I am so excited to get involved with Team Read because the mission of supporting children to realize their potential as readers is so important, and the organization truly models that reading can be a catalyst for connection across age groups.

Spring: Team Read combines two of my great loves in life — reading and kids in public schools.  I have been aware of Team Read personally for many years, including as a public school teacher at Thurgood Marshall Elementary, where I worked with young students in Team Read. I later discovered with delight that one of the tutors was a former student. After 22 years of teaching, the large majority of those years in public schools, I remain deeply committed to public schools and believe quality public education is vital to our health as a democracy.  As a teacher, I know reading is a foundational skill underlying all learning. The combination of my teaching and volunteer experiences over the years feed my passion for helping people learn and feel confident with language, reading and writing.