Staff Members Make BookSpring Strong and Reliable
nursery books

Staff Members

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(512) 472-1791
Staff Phone Extensions: Amanda Shaver (Program Director – Go): 101 • Mariela Rodriguez (Communications Director): 102 • Emily Ball Cicchini (Executive Director): 106 • Rachel Elliott (Program Director – Rx): 107 • Joel Gross (Program Director – Ed): 110 • Clare Bresnan (Book & Supply Manager) 111 • 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 the workings of non-profits. 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)

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. 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 Last 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.

Rachel Elliott

Rachel Elliott
Program Director – Rx

Rachel works with healthcare professionals to get books into the hands of children and families through their doctors. She spent most of her childhood between the pages of books. She did her undergrad in History and Scandinavian Studies and worked in online education at the University of Texas at Austin. She completed a Fulbright in Norway and speaks Norwegian. When she isn’t reading, she can be found scouring the internet for cute animal videos.

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.

amanda shaver

Amanda Shaver
Program Director – Go

Amanda organizes civic, corporate, and student group volunteer efforts for BookSpring. As a child, she fell in love with reading when her elementary librarian introduced her to the Nancy Drew series! Amanda holds a bachelor’s degree in social work and a teaching certification in English. Amanda’s hobbies include reading, traveling, and mountain biking with her husband and son.

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.

(photos by Bill Hamblen)