The Community Advisory Council is committed to increasing opportunities for academic success for students facing these equity challenges. Click here to learn more about our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts. The council is chaired by Marica Del Rios who serves on our Board of Directors.
Meet the Council
Crystal was born and raised in South Austin and still resides there with her family. She is a former Head Start teacher and knows firsthand how important it is to introduce books and reading to children at an early age. She used to teach an after-school computer program through AISD called Wiggle Works, which helped children to learn and enhance their reading skills. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Social Science, with a Concentration in Education and a minor in child development from Ashford University. She is currently homeschooling her two children and introducing them to the wonderful world of books.
Why do I serve? I am currently a stay-at-home mom and have a child with dyslexia. Reading is a struggle for him at times. Letting him know and understand that others too may have dyslexia, and that reading is fun and can be easy, helps give him the confidence to enhance his own reading ability and hopefully will help others too.
Favorite Children’s Book: Ramona Forever by Beverly Cleary
Genevieve is the librarian at Volma Overton Early College Prep in Austin. She is a native Austinite who graduated from Trinity University and got her Master of Science in Information Studies degree from the University of Texas at Austin. In previous careers, she worked with survivors of domestic violence, managed a school admissions office, and taught first grade but as far as she is concerned, being an elementary school librarian is the best job in the world! Genevieve was introduced to BookSpring three years ago when a generous benefactor offered to sponsor her school to participate in the Books for Me program. After seeing her students’ faces light up when they received their own brand new books to keep (“forever books” as we call them), she knew she had found something special in this wonderful organization! In her spare time, she enjoys traveling with her husband, doing jigsaw puzzles, and, of course, reading!
Why do I serve? I believe in the mission of BookSpring and have seen firsthand the life-changing power of putting books in kids’ hands. I am thrilled to serve on the BookSpring Community Advisory Council to support and advance BookSpring’s work and impact on our community.
Favorite Children’s Book: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Scott Wille is the director of the Del Valle ISD Child Development Center, a 4-Star Texas Rising Star center, with national accreditation through the National Association of the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Scott earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in early childhood education. He has worked as a kindergarten, first, and second-grade public school teacher. He is a certified School Librarian and served in that capacity for seven-year, before becoming the director of the Child Development Center in 2012. Scott has presented at national and local conferences, including the National Council of Teachers of English, Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association, and the Austin chapter of the Texas Association for the Education of Young Children. Scott enjoys reading books to young children. Some of his favorite authors include Pat Mora, Todd Parr, Patricia Polacco, Chris VanAllsburg, and Mo Willems. He enjoys working with colleagues in the teaching profession and is motivated by the art of teaching and learning. Scott enjoys cooking, traveling, biking, and kayaking. He is a caregiver to an amazing dog, who also enjoys stories.
Carmela Valdez is currently an early childhood, a dual language teacher at L.Cpl. Perez Elementary School in Austin, Texas in her 15th year of teaching. She has a B.A. in Theatre from The University of Texas at Austin and an M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Texas State University. This summer, she will co-teach the Heart of Texas Writing Project’s Summer Institute. Carmela firmly believes that every student comes with their own existing literacies and worthwhile experiences that make them who they are. She is passionate about her students using their voices and writing to enhance their communities and families lives. Carmela continues to advocate for the rights of every multilingual student and believes that language is a civil right.
Mikayla was born in Hawaii on the island of Oahu but moved to Texas at a young age. She grew up just south of Austin in the small town of Kyle where she met her husband, Christopher Balderas. She attended Texas State University in San Marcos, TX where she pursued her undergraduate degree in physics and mathematics with a teaching certificate. Mikayla was an infant, toddler, and preschool teacher at the Texas State University Child Development Center but is currently enjoying being a stay-at-home mom to her two young children, Leilani (3 years old) and Kekoa (6 months old). She enjoys spending time with her family and friends playing games, watching movies, reading books, and playing outdoors. She is involved in her local church and serves in their community outreaches and local missions such as the BreadBox and serving as the church liaison for TruChoice Pregnancy Resource Center.
Why do I Serve? As a teacher and mom, Mikayla understands the importance of exposing children to reading at an early age. Reading can spark a child’s imagination and influence their dreams. She loves the sweet bond that reading with her children has created and wants others to create that same bond. Mikayla wants to help share the opportunity for children to experience the joy and wonder of reading.
Favorite Children’s Book: Love you Forever by Robert Munsch