Our Team

Jacque Daughtry
Executive Director

Jacque Daughtry is the Executive Director of Making It Better DBA: Literacy Now and has been with the organization since its inception in 2006. Along with the board of directors, she is responsible for strategic planning while directing the staff to accomplish board-approved plans and goals. Jacque also develops programs, policies, initiatives, and procedures for the organization.

Jacque received her bachelor’s degree in business, emphasizing Personnel Management, from the University of Houston and had 25 years experience in accounting and business management in the for-profit sector before joining Making It Better. Her passion for serving children and her community as a church volunteer and in multiple volunteer capacities at each HISD school her children attended paved the way for her to help launch Making It Better. Jacque considers it an honor and privilege to serve the organization’s students and their families throughout the community; their dedicated staff, volunteers, and board of directors; and their Houston ISD partner schools

She also serves the community through active participation on the Greater Houston Partnership’s Education Committee, Change Happens! Good Life Outcomes Community Engagement Advisory Board, the HCC Alief West Houston Business Community Steering Committee, and women’s Bible study leader at BridgePoint Bible Church.

Becky Herren
Controller

Becky received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Accountancy from the University of Mississippi, and her CPA certification in Mississippi and Texas. She has over 40 years of experience in both public and private accounting in multiple industries and has served in several capacities at Literacy Now since its inception. As a charter board member, accountant, volunteer, and charter Guild member of Literacy Now, Becky has a broad understanding of the organization and a passion for its mission.

 

Jacklyn Wilson
Program Director

Jacklyn received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Oklahoma and a Master’s degree in Education Leadership from the University of Texas in Arlington. She has worked with students of all ages for 17 years, from early childhood to secondary education. She is also an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.  Jacklyn is dedicated to making sure students are being met where they are and are given every opportunity to thrive successfully in school and life.

Ken Kelly
Development Director

Ken attended Texas A&M University and has 27 years of experience with a proven track record for all aspects of fund development for several nonprofit organizations in the Houston area. Ken is also proficient in marketing and communications strategies, and has a strong ability to integrate the functions of development and marketing to raise funds while building and enhancing relationships with the community. Ken’s passion is to help underserved children and their families by providing the means where they can rise above their circumstances and gain opportunities to reach their full potential.

Aspen Hayes
Volunteer Coordinator

Aspen received her bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Memphis. After interning at KTRK-TV in the Community Affairs Department, she realized how much she enjoyed serving and working with the community. She also serves at Hope City Church as a greeter and enjoys volunteering at the Houston Food Bank during her free time. Aspen believes that helping others is good for our mental health and emotional well-being. She is excited to join Literacy Now as the new Volunteer Coordinator in 2021.

Madeline Sandhop
Operations Manager

Madeline received her bachelor’s degree in History with a minor in English from Texas A&M University. She was involved in various volunteer programs from an early age, which allowed her to discover her passion for helping others. Since joining the Literacy Now team in January 2016, Madeline enjoyed serving as a site director for the Steps 2 Success program as well as Program Coordinator before taking on her current role in 2019.

Julie West
Development Manager

Julie received her bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University of Texas. She has worked in public relations for non-profit organizations and Fortune 500 companies. She has also served as a volunteer on various boards and committees in her children’s schools and within her community. She is passionate about helping children discover the joy, adventure and opportunities that reading can bring to their lives. Julie joined the Literacy Now team in 2019.

Emily Boyle
Program Coordinator

Emily received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Vanderbilt University. After teaching English in Singapore during her husband’s overseas posting, Emily returned to Houston and worked as a reading skills tutor. Her most recent role was in administrative support in a local school. Emily joined the Literacy Now team in 2019.

Bridget Williams
Administrative Assistant

Bridget received her bachelor’s degree in Government from the University of Texas at Austin and her master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Dallas. Bridget worked in the non-profit sector before transitioning to healthcare administration, where she worked for several large hospital systems and healthcare providers. She has a passion for service and has served in various capacities in her community. Bridget joined the Literacy Now team in 2021.

Jazmin Flores
Early Childhood Outreach Specialist

Jazmin Flores received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Houston – Downtown. During her course of study, Jazmin enjoyed her Child Development class and has since volunteered at her church helping teach children with autism. Her love and passion for teaching and developing children brought her to Literacy Now in 2019.

Yola Allen
Reading Interventionist

Yola received her bachelor’s degree from Texas Southern University. She taught for 27 years in Fort Bend Independent School District. While at Fort Bend ISD, she became certified as a literacy teacher for the Reading Recovery Intervention Program, which specializes in improving the reading development of struggling readers in the primary grades. Yola retired after 27 years of teaching at the same school and joined the Literacy Now team in 2019.

Kintra Blackmon
Reading Interventionist

Kintra received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Texas Southern University. While raising her children, she volunteered in HISD schools for almost twenty years. She also teaches children in her church and in Community Bible Study. Kintra has been with Literacy Now since 2009.

Amy Bryan
Reading Interventionist and Site Coordinator

Amy earned a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a master’s degree in Instructional Technology from the University of Houston at Clear Lake. She taught grades 6-8 for eight years in Deer Park ISD before taking time at home to raise her twin sons. She then spent two years as a PreK-4 teacher, three years as a K-4 dyslexia intervention teacher and three years as a program ambassador for a national literacy nonprofit. When not working, you can find Amy volunteering or cheering on her sons in band, choir and academic decathlon. Amy has a passion for education, service and early literacy and is thrilled to join the Literacy Now team in 2021.

Kelli Burleigh
Reading Interventionist and Site Coordinator

Kelli received her bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Prairie View A&M University. She began her teaching career in the San Antonio Independent School District in 2007, and she has taught kindergarten through second grade. Her passion to give all students the tools they need to be successful continues to grow. Kelli joined the Literacy Now team in 2019.

Ana Call
Reading Interventionist

Ana received her bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science from Utah Valley University. She has experience working in early childhood education as well as working with at-risk youth through her former role as a case specialist with Child Protective Services. She strongly believes reading opens many doors and shares the passion Literacy Now has for helping children improve their reading skills. Ana joined the Literacy Now team in 2018.

Angelique Coleman
Reading Interventionist and Site Coordinator

Angelique received her bachelor’s degree in Economics from Howard University. She has worked in both the corporate and nonprofit fields. She has 10 years of experience working in the nonprofit field with at-risk adolescents, and later moving on to work with senior citizens. She appreciates the fulfillment gained in the nonprofit sector and has loved enriching the core foundation of students through the spirit and team at Literacy Now since 2016.

Daisy Cukingnan
Reading Interventionist

Daisy earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of the Philippines and her MBA from Ateneo de Manila University. She is recently retired from HISD where she spent many years teaching Resource Reading, PALS, and acted as a dyslexia interventionist. Daisy speaks four languages, loves to cook (sometimes in collaboration with her husband), read, and cross stitch. Daisy has a true passion for helping young scholars become great readers and future leaders of this country. She joined the Literacy Now team in 2021.

Kadijah Dancy
Reading Interventionist and Site Coordinator

Kadijah received her bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from The University of Texas at San Antonio with plans of becoming an educator. In 2017, she took a gap year and served as an Americorps member for CityYears SA focusing on community outreach and increasing graduation rates for middle and high school students. It was there she found her love for the non- profit world. Becoming a part of the Literacy Now team in  2018 was a wonderful way to merge her love for education and helping others.

Precious Daniels
Reading Interventionist and Site Coordinator

Precious received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Texas Southern University. She has a strong background in education with experience as a teacher, K-8 Reading Interventionist, and recruiting aspiring Educators across various districts in the Houston region. Her passion is to assist at-risk students with the literary skills and resources needed to drive student development and achievement. Precious joined the Literacy Now team in 2021.

Stephanie Davidson
Reading Interventionist Substitute

Stephanie earned her bachelor’s degree with a double major in Elementary/Special Education from Mississippi State University and a Master’s in Educational Leadership/Administration from California State University, Los Angeles.  She has taught Pre-K through 12 over her 39-year career in both public and private schools in Mississippi, California, Virginia, and Texas. She also served as a Literacy Coach instructing teachers in the implementation of a state-adopted reading program. Stephanie retired from YES Prep Public Schools in Houston in May of 2019 and continues her passion for working with young children as a part of the Literacy Now team since 2019.

Janene Dhalai
Reading Interventionists and Site Coordinator

Janene earned her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Social and Emotional Developmental Programs from the University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago. She also earned a bachelor’s degree in Science in Religion and minors in Christian Counseling and Psychology. Additionally, as part of missionary work, she provides grief and trauma counseling to those suffering from loss, and she is completing a Master’s Degree in Family Advocacy, Public Policy, & the Future. Janene joined the Literacy Now family in 2021.

Stephanie Dunn
Reading Interventionist and Site Coordinator

Stephanie received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education at Indiana University. After graduating, she moved to Houston and taught 1st and 3rd grades in Spring Branch ISD.  She spent 12 years at home, raising her three children and volunteering and returned to part-time work as a part of the Literacy Now team in 2019.

Peg Fitzgerald
Reading Interventionist and Site Director

Peg Fitzgerald received her bachelor’s degree in French from Elms College in Massachusetts and her master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston. She has 37 years’ experience teaching, 32 of them at Houston ISD’s Wheatley High School. Peg joined Literacy Now in 2014.

Jennifer Free
Reading Interventionist

Jennifer received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Houston. She taught 2nd and 3rd grade for two years before becoming a Reading Interventionist for Literacy Now in 2020. She has also worked with ages 4 through 16 in various educational and noneducational settings. Jennifer believes when children learn to read, the whole world unlocks for them. When they learn to write, they get to create a world for themselves.

Ann Green
Reading Interventionist
Karen Gunn
Reading Interventionist
Pam Hall
Reading Interventionist

Pamela received her associate’s degree in Elementary Education from Mount Ida College in Newton, Massachusetts. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Illinois State University. She also has a master’s degree in Instructional Technology from the University of Houston. Pamela retired from Houston ISD after 34 years. She taught a variety of grades K-6 and taught technology for 22 years. Her last assignment was a 5th grade reading and ELL teacher. Pamela joined the Literacy Now team in 2019.

Angela Hill
Reading Interventionist and Site Coordinator

Angela received her bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management from Sam Houston State University. After graduation, she was a substitute teacher and her passion for teaching grew. She decided to become a certified elementary educator. Angela has over 13 years of experience as an educator between teaching and working as a Reading Coach for Aldine Independent School District.  She loves to motivate and inspire struggling readers to be successful. Angela joined the Literacy Now team in 2021.

Michel Hinton
Area Program Manager

Michel received her bachelor’s degree in History and a teacher’s certificate from the University of Houston. She taught History and Social Studies for 7 years at Hogg Middle School. Upon the birth of her daughter, Michel transitioned to consulting on various educational projects, including a curriculum guide for The John H. Reagan WWII Memorial Association and volunteering for the Bush Elementary PTO Nature Center, where her daughter attended school. Michel has been with Literacy Now since December 2013, serving as a Reading Interventionist and Site Director and in her current role since 2021.

Meghan Hokom
Reading Interventionist

Meghan received her bachelor’s in Social Work from Texas State University, her master’s in Public Service and Administration from The Bush School of Government at Texas A&M University, and her Doctorate in Education Administration from Texas A&M University. Shortly after college graduation, she transitioned from a children’s caseworker to a certified Special Education teacher. Meghan has an extensive career in researching, advocating for, and teaching students with disabilities with six years experience as a Special Education teacher and ten years working in public school districts. She has also worked with the Department of Education and the California Charter School Association. Her passion is to make equitable opportunities available for students to learn and grow. Meghan joined the Literacy Now team in 2021.

Audrey Hollis
Area Program Manager

Audrey received her bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University in Human Development. Before joining Literacy Now, she had over 10 years of experience in the nonprofit field. She provided leadership and supervision for staff and volunteers and created, implemented, and evaluated programming for youth and families. Audrey is passionate about allowing youth to succeed and grow through reading and fun, innovative programming. She has been with Literacy Now since January 2013, serving as a Reading Interventionist and Site Director and in her current role since 2021.

Kim Johnson
Reading Interventionist
Erica Kelley
Reading Interventionist

Erica received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Houston – Downtown and her master’s degree in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in Special Education from the University of Houston. Over the last 10 years, she has taught neurodiverse students at a variety of non-profit school environments in Texas and Kentucky. While in Kentucky, Erica designed an inclusive reading program for young children at the local Down Syndrome Association. She is passionate about helping her students gain confidence in their abilities to be successful learners. Erica joined the Literacy Now team in 2021.

Georgia King
Reading Interventionist

Georgia received her bachelor’s degree from Harding University. She retired from Houston Independent School District in 2012 where she taught for most of her 30-year teaching career. She has always had a passion for working with at-risk students and has been a part of the Literacy Now team since 2017.

Charles Koen
Reading Interventionist

Charles received his bachelor’s degree in English from Texas Southern University and has been working with children since he was a teen. He has taught, mentored, and coached children from the ages of 3-18. Charles is enamored with community building and nonprofit work and has a strong passion for education. He joined the Literacy Now team in 2021.

Christy Labban
Reading Interventionist

Christy received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Louisiana State University. She taught 2nd, 4th and 5th grade in East Baton Rouge Parish and Katy ISD. After teaching, Christy stayed active in the community by serving as a mentor, Girl Scout leader, National Charity League member and volunteering in schools. Christy joined the Literacy Now team in 2020 and is excited to bring words to life for kids in a fun and caring atmosphere.

Mercedes Martinez
REading Interventionist

Mercedes received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Psychology from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. She has over ten years’ experience working in the private sector, banking, and marketing, always in challenging and customer-focused demanding roles. In 2010, she moved to The U.S. and later got married and had a daughter. She was a stay-home mom for five years and later found her passion working with ELL students at LaSalle Elementary School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She specialized in working with ESL kids doing bilingual intervention, parent liaison, and interpreting/translating in Spanish.  In 2019, she moved to the Houston region following her husband’s career and joined the LiteracyNow team in 2020.

Isabel (Bel) Mauricio
Reading Interventionist and Site Coordinator
Rebecca Minnock
Reading Interventionist

Rebecca received her bachelor’s degree in French with Qualified Teacher Status from Coventry University in England in 2005. She spent 7 years teaching middle and high school French in England and Ireland – both in school and offering private tuition – before relocating to Houston in 2014 with her husband’s job. Rebecca has spent the last 2 years working as a long-term substitute teacher in a west Houston area preschool. Rebecca is passionate about reading and worked part-time on weekends in an independent bookstore in Houston before joining Literacy Now in 2021.

Monica Montalvo
Reading Interventionist and Site Coordinator

Monica received her bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in reading from the University of Texas at San Antonio, a master’s degree in Education Leadership from City University of Seattle, and a master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Grand Canyon University.  Over the last 20 years, she has served as a classroom teacher, administrator, and Reading Interventionist in elementary and secondary education. Monica is passionate about helping students develop excellence in their hearts and minds and joined the Literacy Now team in 2021.

Ann O'Dell
Reading Interventionist

Ann received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Education/Special Education from Richmond College, CUNY. Her teaching career began in London England, where she taught and served as Lower School Coordinator for seven years. She has recently retired from HISD where she taught in general education before teaching severely autistic students for her last nineteen years. Ann loves making a difference in the lives of struggling readers and has been a part of the Literacy Now team since 2015.

Sandra Porto-Ali
Reading Interventionist

Sandra received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Jarvis Christian College and her master’s degree from Prairie View A & M University of Texas. Sandra has completed 34 years of service in Needville, Aldine, and Houston ISD. She loves working with students and helping them gain the skills needed for a positive future. Sandra joined the Literacy Now team in 2020.

Tresha Render
Reading Interventionist

Tresha earned her bachelor’s in English at the University of Houston and is currently pursuing a master’s in Literacy Studies. She taught elementary English Language Arts for six years in a Houston charter school system and is certified to teach English as a Second Language to children and adults. Tresha believes reading is a fundamental skill and one that all children should be supported in mastering. She joined the Literacy Now team in 2021.

Stephanie Rhodes
Reading Interventionist

Stephanie received her bachelor’s degree from Huston-Tillotson University in Marketing and Accounting and her master’s degree from Texas Southern University. After realizing her passion for public school education, Stephanie became certified as an elementary educator as well as a Texas Principal. She was the principal of two magnet elementary school campuses, as well as a Dual Language campus. Stephanie has completed 30 years of service in the Aldine and Houston Independent School District. She enjoys serving her church and is a proud member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. Stephanie joined the Literacy Now team in 2019.

Connie Sherer
Reading Interventionist and Site Coordinator

Connie received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Mississippi College and a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Mississippi State University.  She worked as a counselor with children and teenagers before becoming certified to teach elementary school.  As a classroom teacher, she taught both kindergarten and third grade in Pasadena ISD. Connie’s mission has been to teach and support students as they develop the skills needed for success. She hopes all students, regardless of their circumstances, enjoy learning and develop confidence in the learning process. Connie joined the Literacy Now team in 2019.

Bina Sheth
Reading Interventionist

Bina received her master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA in 2009. Bina worked at an outpatient rehabilitation facility in Pittsburgh and a public middle school in Boston, MA as a speech-language pathologist. She went on to further her studies at MGH Institute of Health Professions to become certified as a reading specialist. Bina took time off from her career to raise her two children and has joined the Literacy Now team in 2021. She is passionate about increasing literacy education and is committed to making a positive difference in the community.

Florence Taylor
Reading Interventionist

Florence received her bachelor’s degree in Education/Special Education from Prairie View A&M University. She later studied at the Scottish Rite Learning Center and received a Certification in Language Therapy. She spent 10 years teaching in Lubbock ISD and another 22 years teaching Fortbend ISD before retiring. After spending time caring for her grandson, Florence’s passion for teaching young learners was renewed and led her to Literacy Now in 2018.

Vicki Townsend
Reading Interventionist and Site Director

Vicki received her bachelor’s degree in French and Geology from the University of Kansas, as well as a master’s degree in Geological Studies from the University of Washington. She worked as an exploration and production geologist for Exxon Co. USA (now Exxon/Mobil). She has served as a volunteer in the public schools, her church, and the community for over 25 years. Vicki joined Literacy Now in August 2009 and serves as a Reading Interventionist and Site Director in the Reading Intervention program. She loves working with children and helping them gain positive skills for a positive future.

Jo West
Reading Interventionist

Jo received her bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, emphasizing Early Childhood Education from the University of Houston. She has over 20 years of experience as an educator between teaching 4th grade and working as a Writing Consultant for HISD. Jo is passionate about family time, working with children to their fullest potential, and volunteering in her community and church. She considers Literacy Now a blessing and a hidden dream come true to the many boys and girls that are so fortunate to be a part of this program.