Alumni Spotlight: Meet Annabella Sherman

Job Title and Company: Education & Library Sales Assistant, Penguin Random House

Education: Whitman College, B.A. in Psychology & B.A. in Sociology, 2017

Team Read Experience: 2013 Reading Coach, Broadview Thomson

My passion for reading began at a young age, when I was often found biking home from the library with a backpack full of series paperbacks. Though I have since moved on to titles such as The Circle by Dave Eggers and Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham, the speed at which I devour books has not.

Prior to Team Read, I took for granted my ability to read such books and at such a fast pace. Working at Team Read inspired me to share my passion for reading with others. In my current job I am passionate about bringing to others the same access to books that I received as a child. Reading and literacy are fundamental skills, and I will never forget seeing my Second Grade Team Read buddy read a book all by himself.

Team Read Alumna Shirley Xu

School/major: Columbia University BS in Chemical Engineering, expected 2019

Team Read experience:
2010-15: Teen Coach, Team Read Ambassador
2015-17: Event Volunteer
2018: Summer Office Staff

I loved being a reading coach at Team Read! It was really rewarding to see students improve and move up book levels, and they never failed to make me smile.

Team read was my first job ever. I learned patience, and how to guide a reader toward understanding without giving them the answer. I’m now a tutor for STEM classes – including Chemistry, Biology, and Math. The skills I developed as a Teen Coach help me be effective with fellow college students.

Team Read Alumna Brigid Wills

School/major:
University of Aberdeen in Scotland
BSc in Environmental Science, expected 2019

Team Read experience:
2015-16: Teen Coach
2016-17: Site Assistant

I was a Team Read coach during my sophomore year in high school and looked forward to working with my student each week. During our tutoring sessions I learned about the importance of comprehension: not only to make sure my student could say the word, but also that she knew what it meant.

By talking to other tutors, I also learned that every kid learns at a different pace, and with a different attention span. When I became a Site Assistant, these insights helped me give tips to other tutors about how to work with their students effectively. As a liaison between different groups of people, I learned communication and organizational skills that helped me develop professionally.

Team Read Alumna Kiersa Sanders

Job Title and Company
Strategy & Operations Consultant, Deloitte

Team Read Experience
2004-05: Reading coach at Whitworth Elementary and Hawthorne Elementary
2016-present: Team Read Board Member

When I was 15, all of my friends were looking for a job. Unfortunately, very few places hired workers under 16, and those that did expected applicants with prior experience. I was frustrated because I wanted to get job experience and I also wanted to be able to earn money. When I learned about the Team Read opportunity, applying was a no-brainer. It provided me with the opportunity to earn a competitive hourly wage, learn valuable lessons about responsibility, and make a positive impact on my community. My experience at Team Read set the trajectory for the rest of my professional career.

The most powerful lesson I learned from my experience at Team Read was how to stick to a commitment. It was my responsibility to travel to my reader every day after school. I did not have an option to be late or not show up. It was my responsibility to put forth my best effort to help students enjoy reading. I spent a lot of time thinking about how I could help them learn to love reading as much as I did. I was able to apply those lessons learned to the other jobs I had throughout high school, and even use the lessons from Team Read today in my career as a management consultant.

Team Read Alumna ShanShan Tan

Job Title and Company
Academic Advisor, Seattle University

Team Read Experience
2002-03: Reading coach atat Beacon Hill Elementary School

When I found out that I could be paid for doing what I enjoyed, which for 16-year-old me was working with children, I immediately completed my application for Team Read. I chose to be a reading coach at Beacon Hill Elementary because I wanted to inspire students to read. I immigrated to Seattle when I was 10 years old, so reading was a struggle for me when I first started school. However, with the inspiration and support of my amazing 6th grade teacher, my reading improved and I fell in love with books and wanted to consume more. In 2002, Beacon Hill Elementary had a diverse population of students and many students were English Language Learners. I joined Team Read because I wanted to help other children like me learn to read and find the joy of books.

Through my experience at Team Read, I discerned that although I don’t want to be a teacher, I want to work in education to support students in achieving their goals, whether it be reading a full sentence by themselves without any support or being the first in their family to obtain a college degree. During my time as a coach, I also built a community of friends that I could identify with. Now, I will occasionally run into my fellow Team Read coaches on the bus or around the city, and we’ll stop and catch up on life. These individuals are also professionals in my network whom I can reach out to if I ever need it. Team Read was one of my many experiences volunteering in the field of education, and it guided me in determining which path in education I wanted to venture into.

Team Read Alumna: Tiffany Chan

Job Title/Company
Administrative Systems Coordinator, EarthCorps

Team Read Experience
Reading coach: 2006-2009
Site Assistant: 2009-2010
Tutoring Sites: Beacon Hill, Van Asselt and Madrona

Seven years after leaving Team Read, Tiffany Chan is still using many of the skills she learned as a reading coach. “Team Read has a good culture that is inspirational in creating the work that I do now,” she says. Tiffany is currently the administrative systems coordinator for EarthCorps, which brings together passionate and hardworking young adults from the US and countries around the world, for a yearlong leadership training program in Seattle.

Team Read provided Tiffany with an ongoing learning experience and curiosity to build relationships. “It takes a lot of patience and persistence when you’re trying to connect with kids who are learning to read,” she says. “You discover new ways to get students excited about reading – let them pick a book that they like, talk about that book and ask questions. Through humor and fun, you integrate learning.”

“One of the elements of mentorship that I see myself bringing to EarthCorps is the value in weaving together the individuality of participants with the collective goal at EarthCorps so that it’s stronger than ever before. Visually it’s like constructing a stronger and multifaceted yarn strand from intertwining thinner and single colored threads – each still their own individual strand, but collectively creating a vibrant and durable yarn ball to make a comfy sweater.”

Prior to joining the team at EarthCorps, Tiffany worked at Woodland Park Zoo as a youth programs instructor, visiting middle schools to teach students about conservation and what they can do to help animals at home and around the world. She also mentored high school volunteers and interns.

As she continues to build important relationships and inspire others to make a difference in the world, Tiffany is grateful for the experience and knowledge she gained in Team Read. Through her work in environmental justice, she hopes to “bridge and strengthen this local and global exchange of practices, efforts, and perspectives in cultivating vibrant and thriving communities.”

Check it out! Tiffany was recently featured in an article in The Stranger for her work with Open Seattle.