Staff Members

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(512) 472-1791

Phone Extensions: Communications Director 102 • Director of Finance & Operations 120 • Director of Development & Marketing 104 • Program Manager-Ed & Rx 110 • Program Manager-Go 101 •  Book & Supply Manager 111 • Executive Director 106 

Emily Ball Cicchini

Emily Ball Cicchini, PhD
Executive Director

Emily balances BookSpring’s hopeful vision for the future with its strong tradition of promoting reading in the home.  She’s inspired by the important 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 non-profit and education sectors, including leadership roles with Texans for the Arts, VSA Arts of Texas, and Zach Theatre.  A strong interest in social justice for access to knowledge for all and a deep passion for language and stories drives her work.  As a lifelong learner with an MFA and Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, she loves poetry and likes to garden and space-watch with her family.

Shefali Tewari
Director of Finance & Operations

Shefali manages the Finance and Operations at BookSpring and brings her love for numbers and books with her. She has a strong commitment to non-profits. She has an MBA in Finance from Texas State University and a Masters in Accounting and Business. She has worked with non-profits for the past 25 years and consulted with various finance and accounting companies. She seeks out non-profits as she enjoys working with organizations that make it a mission to primarily serve the community.

Andrea AngeloAndrea Francesca Angelo
Director of Development & Marketing

Andrea brings her public library background, nonprofit expertise, entrepreneurial spirit, and years of service on education and artboards nationally and internationally to BookSpring. Her love of books began early with story hour at Martin Memorial Library in York, Pennsylvania. Fast forward many years later, her first professional position out of graduate school was Extension Librarian at this very same library. Andrea imagines a world where every child has a stack of books to call his or her own with the belief that literacy is not only an essential human right but also a springboard to a life full of possibilities. Her focus is on creating sustainable cultures of engagement and support through effective communication and relationship building – the key to advancing the critical mission of BookSpring.

Mariela RodriguezMariela Rodriguez
Communications Director

Mariela oversees BookSpring’s book drives, public relations, social media, and brand and community awareness programs. She grew up in Laredo, Texas, and has a BA in Communication. Growing up, Mariela enjoyed reading the Goosebumps and The Boxcar Children series. She reaffirmed her commitment to literacy during her AmeriCorps service, with Literacy First as a bilingual literacy tutor for K-2nd grade students at Title 1 elementary schools. Mariela enjoys playing video games in her spare time, reading graphic novels/comic books, and spending time with her family. Her favorite children’s book is The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros.

Shannon Thorne
Program Manager – Ed & Rx

Shannon Thorne, BookSpring Ed & Rx Program Manager, grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, and taught Pre-K there for over 10 years. She’s designed an evidence-based program to promote the emotional wellbeing and resilience of children aged 4 – 6 and is adept at computers and data management. Establishing herself as a loyal BookSpring volunteer upon coming to the United States 3 years ago, then program assistant Shannon became program manager in 2019.

Katie MathewsKatie Mathews
Program Manager – Go

Katie joins the BookSpring team as the lead of community programs. A Seattleite turned Austinite, Katie graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in History in 2014. She put it to use shortly after graduation as a Bilingual Literacy tutor for AmeriCorps in Austin. She spent three years in the non-profit and education sectors here before going overseas this past year to serve in mission work. She is passionate about educational equality and is excited to be back in Austin and empowering our community through literacy. When she’s not at work, you can probably spot Katie around East Austin on her bike, hanging out with her high school girl mentees, or perhaps on stage at a local improv theater.

Clare BresnanClare Bresnan
Book & Supply Manager

Clare manages all things book and material related at BookSpring. She grew up in New York but embraced Texas as her home many years ago. She woke up every day as a child wondering, “What can I make today?” and “What can I learn about today?” thoughts that still guide her in her adult life. She was a professional student at UT Austin, earning a Fine Arts degree and then a Masters degree in Instructional Technology and Library and Information Science. She spent twenty-five years as a Children’s Librarian, both in Texas and Europe, raising three readers along the way. Clare continues to pursue her daily dose of making things in her pottery studio and absorbing ideas.

Evan Rosenblum
Fund & Awareness Development VISTA

Born in San Antonio and raised in Northern Virginia, Evan graduated from Northeastern University with a finance degree.  After working in financial services for a few years, he found himself increasingly drawn to the world of books that has enthralled him since—and because of—childhood. Evan believes that books are a critical tool in better understanding ourselves, our world, and each other. He is thrilled to support BookSpring’s mission of empowering children through literacy. Otherwise, you might find Evan watching movies, biking, or trying to convince his friends to do karaoke.

Gayle Haven
UT Work-Study-
Family Literacy Program Aide

Gayle is a second-year undergraduate student at the University of Texas at Austin. She is currently majoring in Political Communication Studies with a minor in Education. After she graduates, she plans on attending law school and wants to work closely with children. Gayle wants to find ways to improve children’s literacy and American education through the legal system.

Alex Geremonte
UT Work-Study-
Family Literacy Program Aide

Alex is a sophomore English major at the University of Texas at Austin. As an aspiring librarian and author, he is thrilled to share his love of reading alongside BookSpring’s mission of encouraging early literacy in children. In his spare time, you can find him reading, writing, and exercising.

SelinSelin Karsi
UT Work-Study-Family Literacy Program Aide

Selin is a Texas-native, born and raised in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. She is now a senior studying International Relations and Global Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. After graduation, she plans to move to Baltimore, Maryland, to help create equitable opportunities for all students by joining the Teach for America Corps. In her free time, she deepens her yoga practice, explores the outdoors, and expands her knowledge through self-help books and podcasts.

Vanessa Herrera
UT Work-Study-
Family Literacy Program Aide

Vanessa is a senior at the University of Texas, majoring in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. She wants to work with English-Spanish speaking children as a Speech-Language Pathologist. Vanessa joined BookSpring to serve further the community she grew up in and wants to work with in the future. She is excited to join our community!

Samantha Alley
UT Work-Study-
Family Literacy Program Aide

Samantha is a sophomore Biochemistry and Spanish double major at the University of Texas at Austin. She hopes to go to medical school and study women’s health to one day become a reproductive endocrinologist/fertility specialist. She joined Bookspring to learn more about community outreach and non-profit work because she is dedicated to starting her own low-cost clinic for medical and fertility services in the future.

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