New ED Melissa Pailthorp: Initial Impressions and a Look Ahead

I assumed an “appropriately slow” summer on-ramp when I joined Team Read in June. I was both surprised and excited to learn this is not the Team Read way! Instead, days have been packed with dynamic programming in schools and libraries, teens choosing to spend most of their vacation coaching younger students, and alumni returning to Team Read to serve in various capacities: mentoring more junior coaches, assisting with District summer programs, and taking on special projects to further strengthen Team Read. This was not a sleepy summer, rather, one carefully designed to support one-to-one reading, multi-faceted exploration, and, with equal intentionality, FUN!

And that was just one revelation in my first 60 days. Another was discovering the diverse range of people who readily assert that Team Read helps all of us to educate kids well.  Team Read kids and teen coaches, teachers, building leaders, district experts, board members, long-term supporters – and even one Team Read alum I just happened to meet in Canada – all underscored for me the depth and breadth of Team Read’s impact. I knew when I joined Team Read that the effect on teens and younger kids was powerful, but I didn’t fully foresee the dynamic, extensive web of Team Read’s reach.

The comment of one teen Site Assistant sums up well what I think is true for many. “Team Read, I believe has been the single most influential thing I have been a part of…I also feel that it has brought me closer to my community, and I learned about myself.” It’s comments like this that make me realize I’m both extremely lucky and proud to be leading Team Read through its next steps and growth.

These experiences fuel my excitement for Fall. We’re recruiting another group of teen coaches. We’re finalizing our site plans and we’re readying the runway to launch the academic year. We’ve added some new board members this summer and we will be working in earnest this year on strengthening our connection to Team Read alumni. Please watch for opportunities to join us and reach out if you’d like to hear more!