(http://www NULL.rarbayarea NULL.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/molly_wertz NULL.jpg)Molly Wertz (molly NULL.wertz null@null rarbayarea NULL.org), Executive Director
Molly has worked tirelessly throughout her career to support partnerships between education, non-profits and community for the benefit of children and their families. She’s led Raising A Reader since it launched as a 501c3, and prior to that, served as executive administrator for the program in her role as Vice President of Community Investment at United Way of the Bay Area. From 2004 through 2010 Molly provided leadership for all United Way’s community programs, and served as Program Officer for education investments. While she was a consultant with New Ways to Work, Molly also facilitated the National Intermediary Project, which brought together teams of local business, government, education and the non-profit leaders with their peers from around the country to prioritize, plan and implement community wide programs to ensure success for all youth. At Petaluma City Schools Molly taught both primary and high school and was a founding teacher of Sonoma Mountain High School. She served as district level administrator responsible for development of community partnerships for school reform. Molly has a M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction from Dominican University of California, and a B.A. in English Literature from Sonoma State University. Molly is a proud grandmother of three emerging readers.
Jennifer Cabán (jennifer NULL.caban null@null rarbayarea NULL.org), Program Manager
Jennifer joins Raising A Reader with a strong blend of cross-sector experience amassed over 19 years of dedicated service to creating access and equity in education for youth and families in high-need communities. As the former Special Assistant and Education Policy Advisor to the Mayor of Oakland, she directed the Oakland Education Cabinet; an entity established by the Mayor to improve educational outcomes for children and youth in Oakland. During her time, Ms. Cabán was able to effectively build, manage and lead a cohort of 60+ community leaders to better understand and collaboratively work together to create change in policies and structures impacting early childhood and K-12 in the Oakland Unified School District. Jennifer is the co-founder of the Cypress Hills Collegiate Preparatory High School in Brooklyn, NY. Born and raised in the low-income sections of Brooklyn, NY, she is acquainted with the bureaucratic obstacles and the lack of opportunities and resources which limit access to quality early childhood and K-12 education. Jennifer is a National Urban Fellow and holds a MPA with a focus in public policy and BA in History from Binghamton University.
(http://www NULL.rarbayarea NULL.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/sara_rizik-baer NULL.jpg)Sara Rizik-Baer (sara NULL.rizik-baer null@null rarbayarea NULL.org), Lead Program Coordinator, Alameda County
Sara began her work with Raising A Reader in 2010. Prior to her role as Program Coordinator, Sara led a bilingual second-grade classroom in Oakland, and taught Ethnic Studies and Academic Leadership at a public charter high school in Hayward. She earned her B.A. at Oberlin College where she double majored in Comparative Literature and Hispanic Studies. She went on to earn her K-12 Multiple Subject and Secondary English Teaching Credentials at Alliant International University in San Francisco.
(http://www NULL.rarbayarea NULL.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Dulce NULL.jpg)Dulce Maria Torres (dulce NULL.torres null@null rarbayarea NULL.org), Program Coordinator, Alameda County
Dulce Torres joined Raising A Reader in 2012, bringing five years of experience providing education and case management services to underserved New York City residents. Her work with immigrants and struggling students helped her develop a deep sensitivity to the issues of low income families, which is critical when working with Raising A Reader families. Dulce earned her B.A. in Education from Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM).
(http://www NULL.rarbayarea NULL.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Michele-Headshot NULL.jpg)Michele Callwood (Michele NULL.Callwood null@null rarbayarea NULL.org), Program Coordinator, San Francisco
Michele Callwood joined Raising A Reader in 2011, after eight years as a Special Education teacher in a community setting. Michele’s experience supporting families, schools and community agencies to work together to ensure children’s academic and personal success proves a tremendous asset to RAR educators and families. Michele earned her B.A. in Sociology from U.C. Santa Barbara, and is currently pursuing her M.A. in Special Education at St. Mary’s College of Moraga.
(http://www NULL.rarbayarea NULL.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/jo-headshot NULL.jpg)Jo McConnell (jo NULL.mcconnell null@null rarbayarea NULL.org), Lead Program Coordinator, San Francisco
Jo has been providing program services for Raising A Reader since its launch as a 501c3 in 2011. Her background as Montessori pre-school teacher and Homeowner Development Associate at Habitat for Humanity prepared her to support the multiple stakeholders in children’s literacy development. Jo is a graduate of the University of Washington with a B.A. in English Literature.
Gabriela Rodriguez (gabriela NULL.rodriguez null@null rarbayarea NULL.org), Program Coordinator, San Francisco County
Gabriela’s experience includes teaching English for kindergarten public programs and teaching as a college professor in Chiapas, Mexico. Ms. Rodriguez is passionate about working with children and providing access to much needed educational resources. She holds a B.A. in International Relations from Instituto Tecnologico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM) and a Certificate in International Organizations from the State University of New York at New Paltz.
Ayesha Singh (ayesha NULL.singh null@null rarbayarea NULL.org), Development & Operations Coordinator
Ayesha comes from an international education background, having done education outreach in India, and most recently having worked at Room to Read, where she worked on grant writing and administration, database management, and volunteer management. Ayesha completed her Bachelor of Arts in English at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She is passionate about education on a local and global level, and is excited to contribute to Raising A Reader’s fundraising efforts.
Tom Meshishnek (Medo NULL.nasry null@null rarbayarea NULL.org), Accountant & Operations Manager
Tom has an extensive background in accounting and financial management of nonprofit organizations, both large and small. He has served in a variety of sectors, including marine conservation, reproductive rights, wildlife rehabilitation, performing arts, food cooperatives, residential real estate, and CRM solutions. He is a Bay Area native and currently lives in Berkeley, California.