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.

What we doTeam 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

Principal, Dunlap Elementary, Seattle Public Schools

 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

Instructional Services, Seattle Public Schools

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

Reading and Social Studies Program Manager, Seattle Public Schools

Our History

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).

Our Team

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.


Team Read

Melissa Pailthorp

Melissa Pailthorp

Executive Director

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.


Judy Margrath

Judy Margrath

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.


Kristin Galioto

Kristin Galioto

Development & Communications Manager

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 mom of two young kids, she recognizes the importance of early childhood education and believes every child should have the same opportunities to learn and grow.

kristin@teamread.org | 206.252.0136

Rose Nakano

Rose Nakano

Summer 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.


Seattle Team Read

Bill Eisele

Bill Eisele

Project Coordinator

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.

wieisele@seattleschools.org | 206.252.0194

Shaunice Wilson

Shaunice Wilson

Program Assistant

Shaunice has over four years of experience working with a wide range of youth throughout Seattle and King County. The newest member of Team Read, she is working to support our coaches and strengthen relationships with the six middle and high schools we currently recruit from within Seattle Public Schools. Having been a tutor, student, community member and now serving as an SPS/Team Read employee, Shaunice understands the importance of a quality education and the benefits that come from extended learning tailored to individual needs.

Sewilson1@seattleschools.org | 206.252.0856


Highline Team Read

Jenniffer Reinig

Jenniffer Reinig

Executive Director of Teaching Learning & Leadership, Highline Public Schools

Jenniffer Reinig is a former classroom teacher, instructional coach, school principal and executive director supervising and supporting elementary schools. In her current role, Jenniffer oversees a continuum of programming including special education, highly capable, social-emotional learning and elementary success. Jenniffer holds a principal certificate from Western Washington University, as well as an MA in Teaching and BA in comparative sociology from the University of Puget Sound.

Jenniffer.Reinig@highlineschools.org | 206.631.3231

Alicia Rodriguez

Alicia Rodriguez

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 the Secondary Success, College, and Career Readiness Project Specialist for Highline Public Schools.

alicia.rodriguez@highlineschools.org | 206.631.3160

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.

Our Board

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.”

Tran Meyers
Wells Fargo

“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.”

Margaret Woley
Past President

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
Analytics Manager, Amazon

Seana Hayden, Secretary
Community Member

Matt Hrdlicka, Treasurer
Commercial Credit Analyst, Columbia Bank

Kit Bakke
Author and Community Volunteer

Eric Buley
Regional Director of King County Children & Youth Services, YWCA

Jolenta Coleman-Bush
Senior Program Manager, Microsoft Philanthropies

Josh Daniel
Education Director, Pyramid Communications

Kaila Davis Nsimbi
Director of Academic Counseling and Support Services, Rainier Scholars

Yolanda Eng
Associate Director of Membership, University of Washington Alumni Association

Charles Fleming
Researcher, University of Washington

Meli Gass
Associate, Point B

Sharon Griggins
Fundraising and Communications Consultant

Cheryl Hoffman Herzog
Community Member

Chance Hunt
Manger of Broadband and Community Technology, City of Seattle

Donna Lou
Community Member

Lindsay O’Connor
Management Consultant, Point B

Ingrid Stegemoeller
Communications Manager, Partnership for Learning

Adrienne Voermans
Marketing Consultant

Angela Webster
Director, Partner Resources, Starbucks

Spring Zoog
Community Member

Janet Blanford, Ex-Officio
Director of Secondary Success and College Readiness, Highline Public Schools

Kathleen Vasquez, Ex-Officio
K-12 Literacy and Social Studies Program Manager, Seattle Public Schools