Executive Director
nursery books

About the Executive Director

Emily Ball Cicchini
Executive Director

Emily Ball CicchiniEmily joined BookSpring in March, 2015 and is a strong believer in the long-term benefit of early childhood interventions that encourage intrinsic motivation, she’s seen first-hand the positive impact of children’s exposure to self-selected stories and sensory-rich thematic materials. Emily shares BookSpring’s passion for access to books and envisions extending these benefits to all children, no matter their cultural background, ability, or economic status.

Before coming to BookSpring, Emily produced two Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and companion enhanced e-books, Age of Globalization and Ideas of the Twentieth Century, and helped launch the Center for Open Educational Resources in Language Learning (COERLL). She launched and ran an inclusive early childhood literacy program called Start With the Arts for VSA (Very Special Arts) Texas and enlisted 74 partner districts and agencies statewide to train over 3000 teachers in inclusive, arts-based education in all subject areas. She served as Development Director of ZACH Theatre from 1999-2003, and wrote and managed many successful grants and sponsorships for the University of Texas Performing Arts Center (now Texas Performing Arts).

As a former teaching artist in creative drama, she draws upon many years of classroom experience at the college level and informal education programs through community-based organizations such as The O. Henry Museum, The Cleveland Play House and The Michigan Young Playwrights Festival, often using high-quality children’s literature as the basis for making, sharing, and reflecting upon stories. Often, this work was inclusive of children with disabilities and focused on culturally diverse, low-income and at-risk youth.

In 1996, she co-founded the local writer’s membership organization ScriptWorks and led a statewide multicultural creative writing program for at-risk middle and high school students called The Texas Young Playwrights Festival. A collaborative with the City of Austin, the program was recognized nationally for excellence by the President Clinton’s Committee on Arts and Humanities “Growing up Taller” award.

A published and award winning author, she writes often for a variety of publications about the arts, education, and the Internet. Emily has been resident playwright of The Pollyanna Theatre Company since its inception, which produces and tours new plays with professional adult actors for young audiences.

A true lifelong learner, she’s currently pursuing a doctorate in Organizational Communication and Technology from the Moody College of Communication.

She looks forward to growing with BookSpring and enhancing the love of reading in Austin.