Board of Directors and Advisory Council Members

Read to Me Project Board of Directors

Linda Lannon, Chairman of the Board, is the co-founder of PeopleTowels, an environmental company that is a pioneer in waste reduction, introducing the U.S. market to a sustainable alternative to paper towels.   Linda began her career as an elementary school teacher in CT.   After relocating to the New York City area, her passion for children’s literature led to a career in children’s book publishing where she spent 15 years in marketing positions of increasing responsibility with Scholastic, Golden Books and Bantam Doubleday Dell, now Random House.  While at Scholastic she was the liaison for the Reading Is Fundamental Program, experiencing first-hand the impact books can have on the lives of disadvantaged children.  A deep concern for our educational system and the number of children not succeeding within the system, led to a career transition into educational technology. Linda was responsible for creating and marketing new technology solutions for companies such as Riverdeep Interactive Learning and CTB-McGraw Hill, providing teachers and students with new tools for success. In 2009, Linda and her business partner launched PeopleTowels, a certified women owned business, whose mission is to reduce the waste and environmental impact of paper towels.

 Cynthia Hertlein, Treasurer, has been the president of The Upjohn California Fund since 1992.  The Upjohn California Fund has supported non-profits on the Central Coast since 1973 including many youth-serving organizations.  As a CPA, Cynthia was on the professional staff of Touche Ross & Co. in San Francisco for 7 years before moving to private industry.  Cynthia is the current board President for the Friends of Carmel Valley Library and has served as a director (and officer as noted) for a number of non-profit organizations including The Girl Scout Council of South Wood County Wisconsin (treasurer),  The Arts Council of South Wood County (President), and Carmel Valley Scouting Inc (CFO).  Since 1989, she has had her own business providing accounting, financial and tax services to a limited number of private clients.

Janel Yamasaki, Secretary, is a veteran teacher with 35 years’ experience providing bilingual education to the children of the Alisal Union School District in East Salinas. She is highly respected by both administration and colleagues and has provided school-site and district level leadership. Raised in the Salinas Valley by parents who were both Special Education teachers, Janel has a passion for teaching and a deep commitment to her community.

 Sonia Aramburo, Member, has served as an educator for almost 30 years. She has worked at the elementary, middle and high school levels as a teacher, counselor and administrator. Currently, Sonia serves as a principal for the Greenfield Union School District. Sonia arrived at Vista Verde Middle School five years ago to serve as an assistant principal. Discipline rates were high at the school and when students were asked to read, she observed that students had great difficulty. She was asked by Greenfield’s California State Trustee to take the position of Principal at Mary Chapa Literacy and Technology Academy. Sonia is responsible for significantly raising state assessment scores (211 points in two years) propelling Mary Chapa to exit Program Improvement Year 5. Sonia prides herself in providing leadership, vision, and professional development opportunities for her teachers; helping them to maximize instruction and support for the students and families of Greenfield.

Barbara Greenway, Member, is the Founder and Executive Director of the Read to Me Project. Until 2013, she was a public school Speech and Language Specialist working closely with teachers, children and families in East Salinas to develop and provide language-rich interventions and experiences to promote learning and literacy. She holds Masters Degrees in Educational Administration and Speech, Language and Audiology. Barbara’s thirty years of experience in the field of language development and education led her to finding an innovative and powerful approach to helping children enter school with the essential readiness skills needed to succeed and to become literate and successful adults.

David M. Taggart – After retiring from McGraw-Hill in 2006 as president, David has worked with a start-up company in Santa Cruz, CA, (PredictWallStreet.com) and not-for-profit organizations. He is currently volunteering his time to design and develop Read to Me Project’s Program Evaluation with CSU Monterey Bays head of its psychology department. David believes that the Read to Me Project’s work is closely aligned with his career commitment of finding ways To Help the Teacher Help the Child, and, going beyond that, on helping students, families, teachers, schools, and communities ensure that students come to school ready to succeed. David holds BA degrees in English literature and French literature from the University of Connecticut and Columbia University.

 

Advisory Council

Letitia Bennett, Librarian with experience in sales and fund raising. Her professional life includes work as a library administrator, software development manager, and sales executive. She retired from University of California at Santa Cruz where she served as Associate Director, Library Development.

Judge Jonathon Price, Retired Monterey County Judge – Jonathon is a renaissance man of many talents.  He received his Law degree and Juris Doctorate from Western State University School of Law. He served as a Deputy Public Defender and Deputy County Counsel for Monterey County before becoming a Judge. He was appointed Municipal Court Judge in 1989 and appointed Superior Court Judge in 1994 where he served until his retirement at the end of 2009.  He handled many cases involving Juveniles and became the Presiding Judge of the Juvenile court. Judge Price is known and respected throughout the State of California as an expert in Juvenile delinquency and dependency law, procedure and requisites. He has served as Chairman of the Children’s Council’s Violent Injury Prevention Committee, founded the Community Alliance for Safety and Peace (CASP) and is a past Board member for the Monterey County Boys and Girls Club.  He currently serves as a Board member for United Way of Monterey County, the Monterey County Hospice Giving foundation and the Salinas Valley Leadership group.   He is also a licensed pilot, a scuba certified diver, and a certified wine educator.

Lori Stewart is an award-winning author of multi-generational books and a range of other works. Born and raised in northern California, she graduated from Santa Clara University with a degree in economics and headed East for careers in finance and technology. She returned to her California roots in 2004 and currently lives and writes in Carmel. In addition to writing, Lori ran AFTA Associates, a non-profit organization she founded to support wildlife conservation through community enterprise. She also works with the recently launched Ceca Foundation, which promotes quality patient care through programs that recognize exceptional caregivers.

Michael Covey, Ph.D., President and Board Director for the Lois Lenski Covey Foundation (a foundation that supports small libraries and innovative literacy programs) – After earning a Ph.D. in Geology from Princeton University he spent twenty years as a research geologist for Exxon. He then changed careers and spent a decade teaching high school general and AP chemistry. Today he continues his work in the field of education and is currently engaged as a middle and high school math and science tutor and school garden facilitator in Sacramento, where he resides. He advocates for literacy, education, and opportunity for all children.

Benita L. Low, A retired educator with a wide range of experience including bilingual classroom teacher, ESL and Bilingual Resource Teacher, Project Coordinator, Principal, Superintendent, Curriculum and Staff Developer, and Teacher Trainer.  Her areas of special interest and expertise are language teaching and learning and promoting the academic success of students whose first language is not English.

 Alex Lilley – A member of the Stanford Alumni Consulting Team for the past ten years, he has provided pro bono consulting for Monterey County non-profits including the Read to Me Project. He received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University, and a few years later his MBA from Stanford University. He worked for IBM in management for more than thirty years and as Chairman of the Board of a family owned real estate property management business.  Now retired, he continues to provide expertise to non-profit organizations in management, marketing, development, and strategic planning.

Libby McMahon, Manager of nonprofits since 2005, serving as Finance Direction at the ACTION Council of Monterey County from June 2008 through April 2015.

Dr. Elizabeth (Betsy) Taleporos is a measurement and test development expert working in New York City. She was responsible for all assessments administered in New York City, handling all aspects of test design, test development, analysis, and psychometrics. She retired in 2011 and since then has been consulting for a variety of clients regarding developing assessments, providing professional development for teachers and school leaders, and working with individual schools on their assessment and data analysis needs. She has a keen interest in using information from assessments to improve teaching and learning and in using data from formative assessments to inform teaching. She holds a Ph.D. in measurement, research design, and statistics from New York University.