Meet the BookSpring Staff
Emily Ball Cicchini, PhD
Executive Director, ext 106
Serving as the Executive Director, Emily has balanced BookSpring’s hopeful vision for the future with its strong tradition of promoting reading in the home since 2015. She’s inspired by the critical work of sustaining a steady stream of the right books to the right kids at the right time. She has over 30 years of experience in nonprofit and education sectors, including leadership roles with Texans for the Arts, VSA Arts of Texas, ZACH Theatre, The University of Texas at Austin, The International Centre for Women Playwrights, and One Voice Central Texas. Her work is guided by a strong interest in social justice, access to knowledge for all, and a deep passion for language and stories. She’s a prolific and award-winning writer in a variety of genres. As a lifelong learner with a BFA in Theatre, MFA in Dramatic Writing, and Ph.D. in Organizational Communication and Technology, she loves poetry and enjoys gardening and space-watching with her family. Her favorite children’s book is The Golden Books of Poems for the Very Young by Louis Untermeyer, pictures by Joan Walsh Anglund, and also the Basher Science Series.
Development Director, ext 104
If you’re wanting to join the Flying Book Society with a recurring gift or become a sponsor of BookSpring Fest, Bianca is your contact! Bianca grew up in Brownsville, Texas, and has a BA in Communication and a minor in writing. After college, she decided to pursue a life of nonprofit work. Having all four of her parents dedicated their lives to educating children, Bianca was instilled in the importance and joy of reading and writing from a very early age. She’s thrilled to be a part of the BookSpring team working to build up literacy in Central Texas. Bianca enjoys gardening, crafting, and spending time with her friends, family, and 5 fur babies in her spare time. Her favorite children’s book is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault.
Bookkeeper & Donor Manager, ext 100
As the lead bookkeeper, proofreader, and support for fundraising activities and events, Sarah brings her knack for organization to BookSpring by handling the little things that keep the wheels turning. A native Austinite, she grew up surrounded by overstuffed bookshelves and believes every child should have that same opportunity. As a kid, some of her favorite books included Go, Dog, Go!, and Stellaluna. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2020 with a passion for precision and a love for literature. When she’s not working at BookSpring, Sarah enjoys editing manuscripts, gardening, and painting.
Operations Manager, ext 107
Filling the need to keep day-to-day operations smooth, Jimmy manages the facilities, things, and all Work Study programs of BookSpring. Raised in Bastrop, Jimmy attended Bastrop High School and later the University of Texas at Austin. During high school, he wrote music with several bands. This was when he realized and embraced his skill to manage others, resolve conflicts, negotiate, and fulfill a sustainable environment for others to enjoy during their time in a shared mission. After that project dissolved, he went on to manage multiple small businesses. There’s a saying, “never work for free.” Jimmy disagrees, saying one can volunteer in roles to gain experience and knowledge that become priceless later in life. Jimmy still makes music and enjoys the therapeutic experience it gives him.
Esteban (Steve) Renaud, PhD
Impact Manager, ext 102
Steve believes in lifelong learning. Originally, from South Texas, he is the youngest of nine. After high school graduation, and honorable military service, he began an earnest and successful pursuit of a Ph.D. in education. Soon afterward, he was employed at several universities throughout Austin, most memorably as a compliance officer, as department head for admissions, as dean of students, and finally, as director of criminal justice and psychology. He has four sons and fondly recalls their pleasure when he read to them Jazz Cats by David Davis and anything from the Fancy Nancy series.
Program Coordinator, ext 103
Serving as the lead for our flagship programs, Books for Me, Summer Success, and ReadWell, Alex brings an appreciation of the power of language to his work. While in school, working in the construction industry, he saw how many people were struggling with literature. After graduating, Alex decided to teach children and adults English literature in his community when he wasn’t busy working. From first-hand experience, he knows it’s hard learning a new and foreign language, especially in a new country. “I believe by teaching children how to read at a young age, they will grow not only their vocabulary skills but also their comprehensive skills. Reading is a tool we all need in day-to-day life. Once older, this will benefit them in school and their careers.” Children need our help now more than ever. Alex enjoys watching movies, cooking, playing piano, and having fun with friends and family in his free time.
Early Childhood Coordinator, ext 101
In addition to being the partner lead for our Books Beginning at Birth program, Idali plans, coordinates, and delivers programs that build early literacy and cultivate family engagement in reading through community partnership collaborations through Early Books for Me. Originally from El Paso, she moved to Austin shortly after graduating from the University of Texas at El Paso with a BA in History. Idali was a tour guide with the State Preservation Board and served as a bilingual tutor with Literacy First, helping 2nd, and 3rd-grade students develop their reading skills in Spanish. She was a dedicated BookSpring volunteer before joining the organization as an Early Childhood Coordinator. Idali enjoys cooking, painting, and spending quality time with loved ones and her dog when she’s not in the office. Her favorite books included Heidi and the Bailey School Kids series growing up.
Volunteer Coordinator, ext 105
No matter if you’re an individual looking for a way to give back or leading a group of volunteers for a team building event, Jessy is the person to reach for helpful activities across all programs and book donation deliveries. Jessy recruits, trains, and oversees all BookSpring volunteers, and also manages our Open Book and BookSpring Days community based partnerships. She helps manage book donation requests and coordinates with our partners to connect the books we receive with those who need them. Before joining this staff, Jessy worked as a Literacy Tutor through AmeriCorps, helping students in first and second grade improve their reading skills. Outside of her role at BookSpring, she likes to make new clothes, repurpose secondhand items into unique pieces, play guitar, and practice yoga. Her favorite children’s books are the Madeline series.