Staff Members Make BookSpring Strong and Reliable
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Staff Members

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(512) 472-1791
Staff Phone Extensions: Mariela Rodriguez (Communications Director): 102 • Emily Ball Cicchini (Executive Director): 106 • Andrea Angelo (Director of Development & Marketing): 104 • Joel Gross (Program Director – Ed): 110 • Clare Bresnan (Book & Supply Manager) 111 • Catharine Helmers (Program Associate) 108 • Amy Edwards (Development Associate) 123

Emily Ball Cicchini
Executive Director

Emily balances BookSpring’s vision for the future with its strong tradition of promoting reading, spiced up with her knowledge of and experience with the dynamics of non-profit organizational communication. At the age of four, she made an exhibit on bookmaking with her father that was displayed at the local public library and featured in the weekly newspaper. She holds a BFA and MFA and professional certificates in fundraising, web technology, and inclusive practices, and is pursuing a doctorate in organizational communication from the University of Texas Moody College of Communication. She’s a published children’s playwright and likes to garden, sew, cook, and read aloud with her family. (more)

Andrea Francesca Angelo
Director of Development and Marketing

Andrea brings her public library background, nonprofit expertise, entrepreneurial spirit, and years of service on education and arts boards 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 – key to advancing the critical mission of BookSpring.

Mariela Rodriguez
Communications Director

Mariela oversees BookSpring’s 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 committed to literacy during her AmeriCorps service, with Literacy First as a bilingual literacy tutor for K-2nd grade students at Title 1 elementary schools. In her spare time, Mariela enjoys playing video games, 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.

Amy Edwards

Amy Edwards
Development Associate

Amy supports BookSpring’s development work by maintaining our donor database and donor correspondence.  She grew up in Texas and has a BS in Integrated Marketing Communications from Abilene Christian University.   Amy joined the BookSpring team after many years as a stay at home mom and is excited to bring her marketing and customer relations background to the non-profit community.  Amy’s favorite things include good food, quilting and going on adventures with her husband and two sons in their family’s Volkswagon camper van.  Her favorite children’s book is Fortunately by Remy Charlip.

Joel Gross
Program Director – Ed & Evaluation

Joel directs all educational programs for BookSpring.  He grew up in Dripping Springs, Texas (10 minutes from the famous Salt Lick BBQ) and attended the University of Texas.  His discovered the real joy of reading post-college and enjoys a wide range of genres, particularly short stories and new fiction.  Joel has had a diverse career with roles at The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta, the United States Senate in Washington, D.C., and teaching English in Costa Rica.  In his free time he can be found playing racquetball at UT, writing short stories, and cooking new dishes that he saw on MasterChef.

Catharine Helmers
Program Associate

As the Program Associate, Catharine will be assisting the Program Directors with implementing the Ed and Go programs. Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, she bounced around, moving from Miami to Denver to now happily landing in Austin. She has a BA in International Affairs from the University of Colorado at Boulder, a legal background, and is excited to bring a new outlook to BookSpring. She discovered her love of reading through Tolkien’s works, and believes that a love of reading opens up life’s possibilities in a way nothing else does. When she’s not reading in a coffee shop, she can be found kicking around a soccer ball or exploring new recipes in the kitchen.

Clare Bresnan
Book and 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 Masters degrees in both 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.

Lili Cantu

Lili Cantu
Facilitator, Parents & Early Childhood

Lili coordinates Parent Book Clubs and trains other educators in professional development workshops. Lili grew up in Mexico and has a love for the oral storytelling tradition that goes along with reading in the Mexican culture. As a parent, she has continued to develop this appreciation and expanded her interest in the magic of the read-aloud. Lili has a degree in Latin American Studies from Brown University and a Primary Teaching Certificate from the Association Montessori Internationale. In addition to reading, she enjoys spending time with family, traveling, photography, and scrapbooking.