What We Do
Team Read pairs struggling readers with trained teen reading coaches for one-on-one tutoring after school and during the summer. Our teen reading coaches “bring the magic” to our unique program model with their ability to relate to and teach their young students.
Team Read partners with elementary schools where more than 50% of the students are low-income.
Teachers refer second and third graders who are reading 1 to 2 years below grade level, and these students then receive 2-4 hours a week of one-on-one structured tutoring.
We recruit, screen, and hire the teen tutors. We provide them with the training, coaching, and support they need to be highly-effective reading coaches. The teens gain valuable work skills and the satisfaction of changing the lives of children while also acquiring tangible benefits such as pay, college savings, or service hours.
Our key partners in this effort are Seattle Public Schools, Highline Public Schools, and Seattle Public Library.
“Future opportunities for students are driven by academic achievement. Team Read is a standard bearer of closing the opportunity gap.”Winifred Todd
Why We Do It
All children need and deserve to be great readers because reading is the gateway to all learning.
In Seattle, 40% of third graders from low-income families did not meet our state reading standards and 58% of third graders who were learning English as their second language did not meet state reading standards.
Reading at grade level by the end of third grade is a critical benchmark. By fourth grade, reading is essential to learn and succeed in our school system. Research shows that children reading below grade level at the end of third grade are 4 times more likely to drop out of school.
State and local reading assessment data shows that low-income children of color and children from homes where English is the second language are disproportionately impacted by the education opportunity gap. Children who enter school already behind in their knowledge of language and related skills need support beyond the classroom to become great readers.
Years of research show that one-on-one reading with a tutor is an effective strategy to build confident, capable readers.
“Team Read gives high school tutors the roots of responsibility and grade school children the wings of reading independence- the perfect give and take for supporting all students to learn and grow.”Kris Barnes
Why It Works
Team Read works because second and third graders love working with their teen reading coaches—this relationship is key to the learning that takes place. Our teen reading coaches are as diverse as their students. Principals and teachers agree that having academically successful role models from the same schools and neighborhoods greatly benefits their students.
Our tutoring model is shaped by research on high-impact reading programs:
- Reading coaches are carefully screened, trained and provided with ongoing supervision, coaching and support.
- Reading coach training and program tutoring materials are aligned with classroom instruction and literacy best practices.
- Tutoring sessions are structured to provide time for vocabulary development activities with 30 minutes of reading, and comprehension activities all while supervised by a certificated teacher or librarian.
- Annual program reviews by independent evaluators focus on measuring impact and continuous program improvement.
“Simply put, Team Read is smart. By pairing caring and committed middle school and high school students with second- and third-graders needing reading support, Team Read reinforces key elements of reading for young readers while providing young adults with an opportunity to be teachers, leaders and problem-solvers.”Kathleen Vasquez
In 1997 Craig and Susan McCaw, business leaders and philanthropists, were inspired by Superintendent John Stanford to partner with Seattle Public Schools to help close the education opportunity gap for low-income students of color. Believing that reading is the gateway to all learning, they wanted to focus on helping children become great readers.
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 was hired in 1998 as Team Read’s first program manager and that spring she and Joan launched what was intended to be a four-year project at four elementary schools.
From the start, it was clear that Team Read was having a powerful impact on elementary readers and their teen reading coaches.
Everyone involved agreed that Team Read should continue beyond the four years of the project, and in 2006 Team Read received 501 (c)3 status.
Since 1998, Team Read has served nearly 18,000 elementary, middle school and high school students.
In May 2015, the Team Read Board of Directors approved the 2015-2020 Strategic Growth Plan which was driven by our commitment to double the number of students we serve by 2020. The plan includes expanding Team Read in Seattle and in partnership with other districts. There are still hundreds of Seattle second and third graders who could benefit from the support of Team Read, and demographic shifts in the region mean that many of the students Team Read would have served in Seattle have moved into neighboring school districts.
Team Read partnered with Highline Public Schools to launch a pilot program for the 2016-17 school year. Hazel Valley Elementary was chosen to host the first Highline Team Read program. Teen reading coaches were recruited from the Evergreen Campus High Schools (Arts & Academics Academy-AAA, Health Sciences and Human Services High School – HS3, and Technology, Engineering and Communications High School – TEC).
Team Read is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that partners with school districts and public libraries in developing and supporting Team Read cross-age reading tutoring programs. Seattle Team Read was developed in 1998 in partnership with Seattle Public Schools. We’re proud of our long partnership and what we have accomplished together on behalf of local students, and we’re looking forward to the growth of the Seattle program. Highline Team Read was launched in the 2016-17 school year in partnership with Highline Public Schools, and we’ve been building the program to serve more students in that district.
Seattle Team Read
Melissa joined Team Read as Executive Director in June 2018. She brings a commitment to public education and deep development expertise in non-profit, corporate, and philanthropic settings, including Microsoft and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Melissa is honored to join an organization with proven success in engaging such a diverse range of kids as leaders and readers, and is excited to partner with board members and work to continue to grow Team Read’s impact.
firstname.lastname@example.org | 206.617.9172
Bill has experience in journalism, business and for profit tutoring. He came to Team Read in 2007 and helped shape our approach to delivering a high-quality, high-impact program. As a writer, he understands the power of the written word. As a parent, he knows from firsthand experience how critical it is that kids receive the support they need outside the classroom to be confident readers.
email@example.com | 206.252.0194
Joanna is a former Team Read tutor who rejoined the program in 2016 as an Administrative Assistant. Through Team Read, she has realized a passion for helping kids better themselves. She feels a sense of accomplishment, being able to be part of such an inspiring organization.
firstname.lastname@example.org | 206.252.0749
Highline Team Read
Chief Curriculum and Instruction Officer, Highline Public Schools
Cathy began her professional career 24 years ago as a first grade teacher in Seattle. Over the years, Cathy has served as an elementary teacher, literacy coach, principal, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, and Program Director for the University of Washington’s Center for Educational Leadership. Cathy earned an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Washington. Cathy is focused on equity and social justice within education, passionate about ensuring all students receive a high quality education.
email@example.com | 206.631.3001
Team Read Program Assistant
When Alicia was in 2nd grade, she was reading below grade level and participated in a program similar to Team Read. She wanted to work for Team Read because she hopes to make a difference in the lives of children who struggle with reading. “The program model works really well by helping 2nd and 3rd graders in a situation similar to mine, while also giving high school students the opportunity to gain important career and life skills,” she says. In addition to her role at Team Read, Alicia is also a high school tutor, program leader for an afterschool program at a middle school, and does data entry for Gear Up.
firstname.lastname@example.org | 206.631.3160
Director of Organizational Expansion
Judy is a seasoned education reformer who has operated at all levels of the education system; she has been a teacher, principal, program coordinator, curriculum and assessment director, associate superintendent, superintendent, chief technology officer, and lead two educational non-profits. She is passionate about ensuring that everything be aligned with the intended impact on students, and about encouraging innovation to support students success.
Development & Communications Coordinator
Kristin joined Team Read in 2016. She has a background in communications and arts management, with a devotion to nonprofit work. Kristin is thrilled to be part of an organization that provides such a great resource for local students. Being a first-time mom, she recognizes the importance of early childhood education and believes every child should have the same opportunities to learn and grow.
email@example.com | 206.252.0136
Summer & Team Read+ Program Coordinator
Rose has been working with kids for 12 plus years. Over the past 4 years she has been running after school and summer programs through the YMCA at various Seattle schools. Rose is passionate about social justice work and excited to focus on equitable summer programming that helps kids with eliminating summer reading loss.
Each Team Read partner elementary school has a Site Coordinator and Site Assistant to oversee the teen reading coaches and their student readers during the after school program.
“As a former Team Read reading coach, I felt so much pride in watching my student develop confidence in his reading ability. Team Read creates an environment that allows both tutors and young students to make a meaningful impact in each other’s lives through reading.”
“The work Team Read does with grade-school and high-school kids changes their trajectory in life.”
Tanya Anderson, Board Treasurer
Ash Consulting, LLC
“I love the dual benefit of Team Read — literacy tutoring for second- and third-graders, and leadership and employment for the high school students.”
Our Board of Directors is a team of dedicated individuals who care deeply about our mission and are committed to growing and supporting our work with children and teens. They represent a variety of backgrounds and areas of expertise, and provide critical leadership and guidance.
Brandon Hull, President
Senior Decision Scientist, Starbucks
Brandon currently works at Starbucks as a Senior Decision Scientist in Workforce Management. Prior to Starbucks, Brandon worked at Point B as a Senior Associate in their Business Technology practice. He holds a B.A. of Business Administration from the University of Washington’s Michael G. Foster School of Business. In addition to Team Read, Brandon is an active partner with Social Venture Partners and has been involved with the United Way of King County, Earth Corps, Big Brother and Big Sisters of America as well as the Board of the Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation. Brandon joined Team Read’s Board last year because he is a believer that the ability to read is a right and is the foundation upon which education is built.
Favorite Children’s Book: The Redwall Series by Brian Jacques
Bobbie Conti, Secretary
Sr. Program Manager, Microsoft
Bobbie has been in the tech industry for 16 years as a developer, content director, business development director, and program manager. She is passionate about data and equally passionate about community support for education and food security. Bobbie joined the Team Read Board in 2013 because she believes that literacy is foundational to all other learning.
Favorite Children’s Book: The Redwall Series by Brian Jacques
David Gorton, Treasurer
Accountant, Vulcan, Inc.
David is a licensed Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, and published financial writer. Formerly an employee of the Seattle Public Library, David has a passion for reading and strongly believes in the importance of literacy.
Favorite Children’s Book: Magic Tree House Books by Mary Pope Osborne
Author and Community Volunteer
Kit joined the Team Read Board in 2016 after admiring the organization’s structure and mission for many years. She is an author, and a retired pediatric oncology nurse. In between authoring and nursing, she worked in healthcare IT at Group Health and as a management consultant for Point B. Kit is a Board member of the UW Friends of the Libraries, and she is a volunteer book club facilitator at the downtown Seattle Public Library. Kit is also a co-founder of Seattle7Writers.org. She is a longtime member of the Washington Women’s Foundation, where she has served on and chaired many of their working committees.
Favorite children’s book: Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Program Manager, Microsoft
Sondra is a Program Manager in the Developer Division at Microsoft with a passion for agile software development and user experience design. A Seattle transplant, Sondra joined the Team Read Board in 2016 because she was inspired by the success of Team Read’s dual impact model that benefits both elementary school students and their high school tutors. Like many of her fellow board members, she strongly believes that early literacy is fundamental for educational and professional success.
Favorite children’s book: Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business by Barbara Park
Human Resource Director, Nordstrom
Chris has worked in Human Resources for many years, focused on Learning and Organization Development and General HR Management. After a fifteen year run at Starbucks, he accepted a role at Nordstrom leading HR for the Credit, Finance and Strategy organizations. Prior to his HR career, Chris was an educator, working as both a teacher and an administrator in K-12 Education. Understanding the importance of reading to long-term academic success, Chris has been a long-time supporter of Team Read. He was excited to join the Team Read Board of Directors in 2015 to support the mission and strategy of the organization.
Favorite children’s book: Go, Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman
Attorney, Stokes Lawrence, P.S.
Brian is a corporate and securities lawyer at Stokes Lawrence, P.S. in Seattle, Washington. He represents emerging, high growth and startup companies in a wide range of transactions, including entity formation, angel and venture capital financings, mergers and acquisitions, and general corporate governance. He previously worked in the Seattle office of Deloitte Tax, LLP, where he consulted on a variety of tax and corporate issues and serviced clients in the SaaS, e-commerce, venture capital and private equity markets. Brian is passionate about the community he lives in, and volunteers his time in a variety of ways. He joined the Team Read Board in 2015 because of his desire to help kids who come from less-privileged backgrounds.
Favorite children’s book: One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, by Dr. Seuss
Education Director, Pyramid Communications
Josh leads Pyramid’s education practice — creating communications strategy and powerful stories about learning on multiple platforms — video, print and all things digital. Josh has developed and created projects for ELA, Science, Common Core, National Science Standards, and STEM, and edited and written award-winning materials for parents and teachers. Josh joined the Team Read Board because he believes that in these challenging times, we will all benefit when we support our youth to learn to read and our teens to help them do it. Through the process of reading together, these youth develop the skills needed to understand and question the world around them, to stand up and lead us to a better place. As James Baldwin said, “It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.”
Favorite children’s book: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Researcher, University of Washington
Charles is a researcher at the University of Washington who has worked on projects in the School of Social Work, School of Nursing, and Department of Psychiatry. Much of his research has focused on evaluating interventions to promote healthy and positive development among children and adolescents. Charles joined the Team Read board in 2017. He is inspired by the mission of Team Read and looks forward to helping the program expand its reach. Favorite children’s book: My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
Director of Marketing and Communications, Jewish Family Service
Deb’s non-profit career includes work in theatre, independent schools and now human services. She joined the Team Read board because of its proven dual impact model and because she believes literacy is a right for all and a necessity for the health of our democracy.
Favorite children’s book: All-of-a-Kind-Family by Sydney Taylor
Jessica has spent 20 years working in communications and project management as the principal liaison between business, development and content teams. After time spent in both the for- and non-profit sectors, she is now an independent communications consultant. Jessica earned a BA in American Studies from Grinnell College and a Certificate in Accounting from the UW Foster School of Business. She is excited to contribute to the inspiring partnerships Team Read builds between underserved youth and their teen mentors.
Favorite children’s book: The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett; illustrated by Tasha Tudor
Director of Development and Communications, The Seattle Public Library Foundation
Sharon Griggins has worked in development, marketing, and communications for nonprofits for more than 30 years, holding positions with organizations such as The Seattle Public Library Foundation, KCTS9, and Seattle Art Museum. She was first introduced to Team Read several years ago when her son was a tutor. Reading has been a lifelong passion for her and she is delighted to help support Team Read’s mission as a board member.
Favorite children’s book: Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series by Betty MacDonald
Account Executive, K12 Education, Rosetta Stone
Driven by a love of books and reading, Seana has spent over 20 years working in consumer and education publishing. She joined the Team Read Board because she is passionate about the importance of literacy to improve and enrich lives, and she believes strongly that reading skills are essential to success in school. Seana lives in Seattle with her husband and her teenage son who attends Seattle Public Schools.
Favorite children’s book: The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
Cheryl Hoffman Herzog
Since leaving her teaching positions at San Francisco State University and City College of San Francisco and moving to Seattle, Cheryl has remained active in education. She has served on the Board of the Seattle Area German-American School, volunteered as a reading tutor in her local public elementary school and worked on several parent councils in the independent school circuit. Cheryl joined the Board at Team Read to continue to help make a difference in children’s lives through education. She believes that nowadays with an overwhelming load of information coming at us in all directions, the importance of strong and critical reading skills are crucial to making sense of the world and ourselves.
Favorite Children’s Book: The Dragon Boy by Donald Samson
Director & Principal Program Manager in Finance, Expedia, Inc
Laura comes to this board role having worked 20+ years in the corporate sector and many years volunteering in social services and K-8 education. Laura’s corporate experience includes leadership roles in both technology and finance at companies including Expedia, AT&T Wireless, WaMu, JPMorganChase, and Microsoft. She has served many years in volunteer roles including in-home aid providing assistance to seniors, volunteer coordinator at a K-8 school, teaching assistant for kindergarten, and facilitator for workshops at a non-profit that inspires students to recognize their potential and pursue opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. She joins Team Read to contribute to its mission of enabling success for students through reading skills.
Favorite children’s book: Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
Donna has been a community volunteer since 1993 when she retired from Microsoft Corporation and helped raise funds for the renovation of a community playground in her neighborhood. Since then she has served on several non-profit boards including The Seattle Foundation, College Access Now, Washington Women’s Foundation and the Wing Luke Asian Pacific American Museum. Donna joined the Team Read Board because she is a firm believer that strong reading skills is a fundamental basis for learning and academic success.
Favorite children’s book: Half Magic by Edward Eager
Management Consultant, Deloitte Consulting
Kiersa currently works as a management consultant at Deloitte Consulting and is an avid reader in her spare time. As a Franklin High School freshman, she had her very first job experience as a Team Read tutor at Dearborn Park and Brighton Elementary Schools. Kiersa joined the Team Read Board because she witnessed the dual impact Team Read has on both elementary school students and their high school tutors, and she hopes to help the organization reach more students in the greater Seattle area.
Favorite children’s book: Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
CEO, Seattle Public Library Foundation
Jonna runs the largest public library foundation in the country and works to ensure the long-term vitality of The Seattle Public Library. Prior to joining the library world in 2001, she was VP/GM of Client Results, Avenue A (Razorfish) and was responsible for growing the small business customer segment at Airborne Express (DHL). Tapping into her business and development experience, she wants to contribute to the growth and success of Team Read and supports its mission for helping students become confident readers and young adults to secure meaningful employment.
Favorite children’s book: The Boxcar Children, by Gertrude Chandler Warner
Cathy Thompson, Ex-Officio
Chief Curriculum and Instruction Officer, Highline Public Schools
See bio in Highline Team Read section
Favorite children’s book: The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Kathleen Vasquez, Ex-Officio
K-12 Literacy and Social Studies Program Manager, Seattle Public Schools
Kathleen has served in urban schools for the past 24 years, beginning her career as a high school English teacher. As the K-12 Literacy and Social Studies Program Manager for Seattle Public Schools, she and a team provide systemic supports for school leaders and teachers in their efforts to improve teaching and learning through English Language Arts and Social Studies instruction. In this capacity, she also works to align Team Read’s instructional program with Washington State Standards and best practice. Kathleen’s son, Kenji Kurose, recently completed his fifth year of Team Read, working as the Site Assistant in both the after school and summer programs.
Favorite children’s book: Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss