Our Team

Jacque Daughtry
Chief Executive Officer

Jacque Daughtry is the Chief Executive Officer 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.

Jacklyn Wilson
Chief Operating Officer

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.

Keenan Lemons
Program Director

Keenan is a native Houstonian and an avid reader. She received her bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas and a Master’s degree in Educational Administration and Supervision from Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. Keenan has served in public schools for 15 years as a classroom teacher, instructional coach, and school administrator. She is passionate about serving children and the community through building relationships, addressing needs, and providing quality education.

Angel Ardoin
Events Manager

Angel earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication/Public Relations from Louisiana State University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Texas A&M-Kingsville. After working in public relations for a few years, she decided to pursue elementary education where she taught for 16 years.  Angel has taught in Alief ISD, Houston ISD, and spent two years teaching abroad in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Angel has also worked as a project-based consultant for a local fundraising and non-profit management consultancy.  While a consultant, Angel coordinated logistics and planned special events for various non-profit organizations that met the client’s expectations and goals.  As a member of the board of directors for the Greater Houston LSU Alumni Association, Angel planned the annual Crawfish Boil which raised nearly $200,000 in sponsorships and donations for LSU scholarships.  Angel strives to make an impact in the lives of others and believes in the success of meeting and exceeding the organization’s mission.

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.

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.

Regina Trevino
Development Coordinator

Regina has a passion for volunteering and community outreach; some of her favorite organizations to volunteer with include Baker Ripley House, Aldine ISD, the Astros Foundation, and the Houston Texans Foundation. With over 15 years of administrative and HR experience, Regina is excited to join the Literacy Now team and work for an organization that supports the schools and community she grew up in.

Carmen Martinez
Early Childhood Outreach Specialist

Carmen has a bachelor’s degree in Health Services and has been working in social services for over 15 years. She enjoyed working with at youth risk as program coordinator at a GED program. Carmen loves working in the community and bringing educational awareness that will empower parents and the younger children to strive while on their literacy journey.

Maribel Acosta
Reading Interventionist

Maribel received her Bachelor’s Degree in psychology from the Central University of Venezuela. She lived in Singapore for a couple of years when her husband transferred there for a job. After returning to the United States, she earned a Certificate in Performance Technology from the University of Houston (Clear Lake). She worked for HISD at Ashford Elementary over the course of 14 years as a Registrar, Attendance Specialist, Lecturer, and Dual Language Teacher who primarily served ESL students. She strongly believes education empowers children and their unique minds, and would like to continue to make an impact in their academic achievements and growth.

Laura Allen
Reading Interventionist

Laura received her BS from UH in Computer Science. After working in the industry for a few years, Laura knew her passion was actually in education. She jumped at the opportunity to join HISD’s Alternative Certification Program and never looked back. She thrived in HISD for 27 years, as an elementary teacher, science teacher, and Magnet Coordinator. After retiring, Laura helped students as a homeschool and reading / math intervention teacher. Laura believes enthusiasm and passion are contagious and how one makes students feel is critical to learning. She serves the community through her church and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

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.

Stormie Alston
Reading Interventionist

Stormie received her bachelor’s degree in General Studies from Lamar University. Following that, she taught English and ESL over the course of 6 years. She also received her master’s degree in Education with a specialization in Teaching English to Students of Other Languages. Stormie is the eldest of 10 siblings, so she has always had a passion for uplifting and motivating the youth. Stormie became a reading interventionist in order to continue inspiring the lives of children in hopes of sharing her passion for literacy with everyone that she encounters.

Whitley Amos
Reading Interventionist

Whitley earned her bachelor’s degree from University of Louisiana in Lafayette. She’s an avid reader and an advocate for the future leaders of tomorrow. As a hardworking and passionate educator for 5 years, her students have been able to accomplish academic success through Whitley’s engaging and rigorous instruction. She is excited to continue to support students and provide them with access to future opportunities by making sure they receive an equitable and excellent education through Literacy Now.

Cheryl Ballard
Reading Interventionist

Cheryl received her Bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a minor in reading from Lamar University. She attended Prairie View A&M University where she received her early childhood certification. Cheryl has served in education for 40 years with Hardin-Jefferson ISD, Aldine ISD, and inLos
Angeles, CA. Cheryl enjoys teaching children, encouraging them and building their confidence to become successful learners in all academic areas, socially and emotionally.

Ty Bryant
Reading Interventionist

Ty received her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a minor in African American Studies from the University of Houston. Afterwards, she went on a journey from non-profits programs to full-on teaching. She has over ten years of experience working with students, varying from primary to higher education. Her passion lies in helping students grow to understand their full potential.

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.

Cynthia Bosie-Colbert
Area Program Manager

Cynthia attended Prairie View A&M University where she received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics as well as her Masters in Counseling and Administration.

Cynthia has 31 years of educational experience. She has served in several Independent School Districts throughout the state of Texas in various leadership roles. She is a recent retiree from Aldine ISD and very excited and ecstatic about joining the Literacy Now Team.

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.

Aja Burton
Reading Interventionist

Aja, originally from Houston, earned her bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas Southern University. Her teaching career began in 2006 with Early Childhood Education and she has over 8 years of teaching experience with children in kindergarten through second grade. Aja’s love for reading and passion for learning drives her to believe that all children can be successful lifelong learners.

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 and Site Coordinator

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
Area Program Manager

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

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.

Elizabeth Davis
Reading Interventionist

Elizabeth is originally from Los Angeles and received her bachelor’s degree in Public Health from Dillard University in New Orleans. She has worked with children ranging from grades K-11th, general and special education including individuals on the autism spectrum. Elizabeth aspires to become a well rounded teacher bridging the gap of resources to underrepresented kids and families to prepare them to become the greatest version of themselves through education.

Elise Decker
Reading Interventionist Substitute

Elise received her Masters In Reading Education from Sul Ross State University. She has served in the public schools as an elementary teacher, junior high reading teacher, and teacher trainer, as well as an assistant principal at a charter school. She is active in her local community and is currently working to start a nonprofit organization that will work to expand opportunities for orphanages and other ministries that serve people who are facing extreme challenges and are unable to care for themselves completely. Elise believes that kids must feel safe and well-cared for before they can learn in an optimal way.

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.

Patrice Duronslet
Reading Interventionist and Site Coordinator

Patrice earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from the University of Houston. She has spent the last 30 years teaching Reading, Writing and ESL to adults and children in second through fifth grade. Although she spent time in Mexico teaching in a private school, Patrice devoted most of her career teaching in the Houston area. Patrice believes that given the right support, anyone can learn how to read.

Tasnim Elmamoun
Reading Interventionist

Tasnim earned a bachelor’s degree in Secondary English Education from Indiana University Indianapolis, and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Purdue University, where she graduated with High Honors Distinction. She has experience in public, charter, and private schools and is passionate
about supporting the scholarly growth of students through the written word. An ardent bibliophile, Tasnim is often found with her nose in a book, or faithfully clinging to aesthetically pleasing surroundings in the midst of trees and forestry ridden areas.

Eric Felker
Reading Interventionist

Eric received his bachelor’s degree in Communication from Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana in Mexico City. Since he moved to Houston, seventeen years ago, he has worked as a Special Education Bilingual teacher. He has also taught Spanish in middle school at International Leadership of Texas and English as a second language to recent adult immigrants at Harris County Department of Education.

While living in Mexico his major accomplishment was having published the Spanish edition of Scientific American and creating an innovative idea of bringing together teachers, scientists and families to participate in what was called “El Club De Exploraciones, ciencia para la familia”. Eric has joined the Literacy Now team with the same vision of optimism and service that has shaped his professional life.

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 & Lunch Bunch Mentor

Ann received her bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from Colorado State University. After working in the pharmaceutical business for many years, she followed her passion to work with children as an Elder in the children’s ministry at Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church. She was a substitute teacher for the Little Yellow School/MDPC, and Spring Branch ISD. She also volunteered at multiple schools, was in the National Charity League, served as a youth leader at her church, and continues to stay active in her community. Ann has a true passion for developing the “whole” child, helping to build confidence in literacy skills, social/emotional skills, and leadership abilities. Ann has been part of the Literacy Now team since 2015, serving as both a Reading Interventionist and a Lunch Bunch mentor.

Pam Gevaldo
Reading Interventionist

Pam received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma. She taught for 18 years in Spring ISD and Cyfair ISD. While at Cyfair, she developed a passion for helping struggling readers grow and reach their full potential. She joined the Literacy Now team in 2022.

Mary Gross
Reading Interventionist

Mary received her bachelor’s in social work at The University of Vermont and master’s in social work at State University at Albany. She worked at the Syracuse Rape Crisis Center as a child therapist for 6 years prior to moving to Houston. After staying home for 12 years to raise her three girls and being a very active volunteer at the schools and in the community, Mary started a part-time monogramming business which she continues to enjoy. She joined Literacy Now in 2022 and is looking forward to being a part of the children’s reading journey.

Ines Guzman
Reading Interventionist

Ines has worked as a substitute teacher for Katy ISD and trained and mentored journalists in more than six countries since 2013. Her teaching draws on a 16-year career as a reporter in Latin-America and United States. She holds a BA in Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Political Science. She is determined to provide students with appropriate learning activities and experiences designed to fulfill their potential.

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.

Rhonda Henderson
Reading Interventionist Substitute

Rhonda received her bachelor’s degree in English from Sam Houston State University, a master’s degree in Counseling from the University of Houston, and an MPA from Baruch College in New York.

Her passion is language acquisition and is conversational in Spanish. She is a novice Mandarin speaker after spending two years in China as a Peace Corps Volunteer in 2014-2016. Rhonda is partially retired and spends her free time doing yard work, entertaining and weekend road trips.

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 and Site Coordinator

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 year’s experience as a Special Education teacher and more than 10 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
Instructional Coach

Audrey received her bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University in Human Development. Before joining Literacy Now in 2013, 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. She is determined to provide quality instruction in reading backed by the latest research and innovative techniques. Audrey is passionate about allowing youth to succeed and grow through the ability to read and giving them the best tools to accomplish these goals.

Tamisha Hudson
Reading Interventionist

Tamisha earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Houston-Downtown, while raising her two young boys. She has over seven years of experience working with children with disabilities in public schools. She has a passion for helping students achieve the necessary educational tools needed to be successful in life.

Ezinne Iquanyanwu
Reading Interventionist

Ezinne received her bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Austin in Philosophy. She has experience working with elementary students as a volunteer instructor at Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas and Give Girls a Chance (Nigeria). She also has experience with older students as a college mentor and essay coach at Breakthrough Houston. Ezinne has a passion for education and enjoys working with nonprofits because she has seen firsthand the power they have to improve student achievement.

Monike Jan
Reading Interventionist

Monike received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She is also a Certified Academic Coach from NTA, and an ADHD and Dyslexia Specialist from PESI, Inc.

Monike has lived in Asia, Africa, Europe before moving to the USA. She is an avid reader and passionate about learning. Teaching ESL while living abroad helped give her the skills to then work for almost 8 years as a Language Facilitator for Katy ISD in the Deaf Education Department. Monike strongly believes in the power of a positive attitude and embracing new challenges as it has served her tremendously throughout her career.

Cynthia Johnson
Reading Interventionist

Cynthia graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a BBA in Marketing. After working in sales for a while, she realized her true calling was to teach children. She participated in the Alternative Certification Program with Houston Independent School District and has never looked back. With 19 years of experience teaching children, she is excited to join the team of Literacy Now and begin helping children be successful, confidant readers.

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 and Site Coordinator

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.

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.

Rebecca Minnock
Reading Interventionist and Site Coordinator

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.

Yvonne Mitchell
Reading Interventionist

Yvonnie received her B.S. degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Special Education from Stephen F. Austin University. She has worked in Special Education for 20 years in public schools and has virtually tutored/taught students in Reading/ ELL from other cities, states, and countries. When working with children her motto is you have to teach the whole child. Yvonnie has been tutoring others since high school and is passionate about helping others that are in need. She is also a proud member of Iota Phi Lambda Sorority.

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.

Emma Murillo
Reading Interventionist

Emma received her bachelor’s in French and Spanish Secondary Teacher Education from the University of Houston. She began her career in education as a high school teacher of French and Spanish in Houston and Alief ISDs. Throughout her life, Emma has served as educator, administrator, and corporate contributions professional. Her passion has always been in serving our community through volunteering in ESL and citizenship education. Emma wants to guide each child to his or her full potential. She joined the Literacy Now team in August 2022.

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.

Kevin O'Neal
Reading Interventionist

Kevin’s professional life didn’t start in Education as he spent over a decade writing and editing scripts for television. After returning to Houston, he found himself working with teachers and elementary students and quickly realized that his time teaching new employees how to write to be understood and his experience as a public speaker, would be useful assets in the classroom. Years teaching people to write gives him a way of looking at the author’s intentions in the way another writer would. Combining this with his ability to hold an audience’s attention have served him well in the classrooms of HISD and he is excited to focus on helping young readers. When not teaching, he can be found trying to finish his own stories, spending time with his wife and children, or attempting to find deeper meaning in his favorite music.

Nathalie Pierroz
Early Childhood Outreach Specialist & Reading Intervention Substitute

Nathalie attended Ott College in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she achieved her Certificate of Bilingual (English/Spanish) Administration. She has years of experience in administration, logistics, and nonprofit fundraising both in Houston and abroad. Nathalie also served as a volunteer in a school for refugee children in Malaysia where she gained valuable experience serving vulnerable populations. Nathalie is currently an active volunteer member along with her daughter with the National Charity League (NCL) here in Houston. She believes in the power and positive impact we can have in a child’s life during the early years and works constantly toward leaving a footprint and making a difference in people’s everyday lives. Nathalie joined Literacy Now in October 2021.

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.

Maria Quijas
Reading Interventionist

Maria received her bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Language Arts and Reading from the University of Houston. Her background is in teaching scholars primarily in the lower elementary grades. To further her skills, she obtained certification in Occupational Therapy Assisting across the lifespan. She is glad to be part of the village that will strive to make a lasting difference in the lives of early at-risk readers and their families. Maria joined the Literacy Now team in 2022.

Dr. Norma A. Ramos
Area Program Manager

Norma earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Education with a double major in Elementary/Bilingual Education from Texas Southern University where she later went on to earn her Master of Education degree in Educational Administration. She then continued her education at Sam Houston State University where she earned her Doctor
of Education degree in Educational Leadership/Superintendency.

Norma has worked in several organizations and has served in various roles such as Research Associate, Special Populations Manager, Interim Principal, Adjunct Faculty, and other roles. She was awarded 3rd place by a prestigious bilingual national organization for her dissertation. Norma believes that all students should have an equal opportunity to the best educational
opportunities. She is excited to begin her tenure with Literacy Now in 2022 and looks forward to making an impact on learners, parents, and the community in her current role.

Silvina Rappi
Reading Interventionist and Site Coordinator

Silvina received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Houston. She worked in the corporate field for many years before starting her career in education with HISD. Silvina worked as a bilingual teacher in first and third grade. She later became a Reading Interventionist for Pre- K through fifth grade students. Silvina loves cooking, especially foods from Argentina (her native country), salsa dancing, and spending time outdoors. She truly loves to help children acquire and master the skills needed to become life-long readers and learners. Silvina has been a part of the Literacy Now team since August 2022.

Tresha Render
Reading Interventionist and Site Coordinator

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.

Araceli Rodriguez
Reading Interventionist

Araceli attended The University of Houston and graduated in 2015 with a degree in Psychology. She started an alternative Teaching program with Inspire Texas-Region 4 in 2018 and obtained her bilingual Teaching Certification in the Spring of 2021. Born in Mexico, Araceli lived in San Diego California before coming to Houston and looks forward to working with students who have many challenges learning to read. She truly believes that every child is capable of learning anything!

Rachel Sanchez
Reading Interventionist and Site Coordinator

Rachel earned her Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies and her Master of Science in Human Services Counseling from Southwestern Assemblies of God University. With over 7 years of experience in education, Rachel enjoys working with children and watching them grow. She joined Literacy Now in 2022.

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.

Robin Stewart
Reading Interventionist and Site Coordinator

Robin received her bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and her master’s degree in Educational Administration from the University of Houston. For a combined total of 28 years, she has taught elementary grades 1st through 4th, and middle grades 7th and 8th, been a Math Coach and an Assistant Principal all in Aldine ISD. Robin’s philosophy is, “All children can learn if given the right opportunity.” Reading is like dreaming with your eyes open, the possibilities are endless!

Valarie Swoin
Reading Interventionist

Valorie is U.S. Army veteran of 22 years as well as a retired teacher of 23 years. She earned her A.S with Early Childhood Education, B.S. in Vocational Educational Studies and a M.S. in Business and Human Resource Development. Valorie has worked in Aldine for 23 years as a PreK teacher, Special Education teacher and Kindergarten teacher. She loves watching students grow and become successful. Valorie prides herself as a “Lifelong Learner.” She loves quilting!

Sally Tavassoli
Reading Interventionist and Site Coordinator

Sally received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri – St. Louis in Elementary and Middle School Education with a concentration in Science. Sally believes that embracing one’s curiosity is an important part of becoming a lifelong learner. Being an avid reader, Sally has worked as a Youth Librarian and helped to write a grant bringing an early childhood reading readiness program to communities in need. Sally enjoys and thrives in working with diverse populations and helping build bridges in order to connect people to their full potential. Most recently Sally taught ESL to adults at Santa Fe Community College. She joined Literacy Now in 2022.

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.

Sharon Thomas
Reading Interventionist Substitute

Sharon received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from North Texas State University. She retired from HISD in 2015, after 40 years of teaching elementary aged students. During her teaching career, she mentored many teachers and received the Excellence In Education Award as well as Teacher of the Year award. Sharon enjoys seeing the students’ progress through stimulating, creative and nurturing teaching techniques. She is excited to be a part of the Literacy Now team so that she can continue to enhance the lives of young children.

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.

Megan Vondra
Reading Interventionist

Megan earned her Bachelor’s degree from Tulane University in Spanish and Latin American Studies. She returned to Houston, earning her teaching certification at UH then taught 2nd and 3rd grade in Spring Branch ISD from 2005-2009. Megan spent 11 years raising her two girls while also serving on the board of CanCare and assisting in fundraising for various non-profits in the Houston area. She and her partner Garry have 4 children ages 9-12. She is looking forward to returning to her passion and working with kids again as a Reading Interventionist.

Vivian Vy Nguyen
Reading Interventionist

Vivian is an experienced teacher in the ELA and ELL fields and has experience teaching diverse student populations at variety of grade levels. She used to be an English professor at Vietnam National University and Adjunct faculty at the TESOL department at Lone Star College system. In addition, she used to teach ESL to refugee students coming to Houston from around the world. Recently, she has been working as a STAAR test reading intervention teacher and ICS teacher to middle school and elementary school students at HISD, CFISD and Harmony school systems. Vivian has a B.A. degree in ELA earned with Vietthe nam University of Education, an M.A, in Applied linguistics earned with Curtin University (Australia), a TESOL diploma earned with SEAMEO-retract (Singapore) and she is currently in PD path at the University of Houston Downtown to be certified teacher in EC-6 with ESL and Special Education supplementals.

Ursula Wanza
Reading Interventionist

Ursula received her BA in English from The UT Austin, and her Master’s degree in Human Sciences (Psychology/Sociology) from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, where she graduated summa cum laude. She has worked with students of all ages for 25+ years, from early childhood to post-secondary education. She was an academic advisor for Lone Star, North Harris, and Tomball Colleges. She is the owner and operator of her own tutoring business, Writeous Tutors. She enjoys reading, writing, acting, singing, dancing, and hiking. Ursula is dedicated to being a bright light in the lives of the underserved by making sure that every child knows his/her worth and limitless capabilities.

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.

Phyllis Wilson
Reading Interventionist Substitute

Phylliss retired from the Houston Independent School District as a Special Education Program Specialist in 2012. She provided administrative support to campus principals, teachers and parents of students with disabilities. She received a BA in Elementary Education from the University of Missouri Kansas City and her MA in Educational Supervision and Administration from Texas Southern University. Before becoming an administrator, Phyllis was a teacher of 3-5 year olds in the Preschool Program for Children With Disabilities (PPCD) where she taught students identified as having intellectual delays, autism, visual impairments, speech impairments and other health impairments. While teaching in the 90’s, Phyllis’ passion for helping children inspired her and her husband to become foster parents where they positively impacted the lives of more than 50 children.

Jessalynn Worden
Reading Interventionist

Jessalynn is a career educator. She received her bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, with an emphasis in Reading from the University of Houston. She has 12 years of classroom teaching experience in grades first through third, and 2 years as an elementary school librarian. Jessalynn has taught in several Houston area school districts, a charter school, along with teaching out of state and overseas while her husband was serving in the United States Air Force. Jessalynn is passionate about instilling a lifetime love for learning and reading in her students. She is looking forward to her next chapter with Literacy Now and her students.