Staff Phone Extensions: Katie Mathews (Program Manager-Go) 101 • Mariela Rodriguez (Communications Director) 102 • Andrea Angelo (Director of Development & Marketing) 104 • Emily Ball Cicchini (Executive Director) 106 • Gina Morales (Program Manager-Rx) 107 • Catharine Helmers (Program Associate) 108 • Shannon Thorne (Program Director-Ed) 110 • Clare Bresnan (Book & Supply Manager) 111 • Donna Eberhart (Development Associate) 123
Emily balances BookSpring’s vision for the future with its strong tradition of promoting reading together in the home. She’s inspired by the important work of BookSpring to get a steady stream of the right books to the right kids at the right time. 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. More recently, she produced massively open online courses and published e-books for a global audience. What drives all her work is a sense of social justice for equal access to knowledge and a deep passion for language and stories. She’s a lifelong learner with a BFA and MFA and is pursuing a doctorate the University of Texas Moody College of Communication. As former teaching artist and award-winning children’s playwright, she loves to play with words and likes to read aloud with her family. (more)
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 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 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.
Donna brings a wealth of nonprofit experience to her role as the organization’s “detail person.” Her past positions have included membership services and client management along with event planning and sponsorship. Donna has had a lifelong love of books and reading. As a child, she raised money for UNICEF over the summers by holding her own read-a-thons. When she got older, she worked at the library. She relocated to South Texas after graduating college to take a job as an AmeriCorps volunteer with Communities in Schools. Her appreciation for her New England education was deepened with this experience and heightened her desire to help others with their lifelong learning. Donna continues to read whenever possible and sends her completed novels to her father in Florida who reads them and passes them on to his community library. Good books deserve to be shared!
Shannon Thorne, BookSpringEd Program Manager, grew up in Cape Town, South Africa and taught Pre-K there for over 10 years. She’s designed an evidence-based programme 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.
Gina joins BookSpring as the Rx Manager. Originally from El Paso, she moved to Austin to attend St Edwards University where she graduated with a degree in education. She has worked in public schools, ad agencies and has owned a STEM preschool, bringing a diverse set of experience to help further BookSpring’s mission. Her passion for reading and learning has been the driving force behind all her work and she is very happy to be joining BookSpring. When not working, she enjoys cooking, trying new restaurants and pretending she can dance at dance class.
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 and 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 missions 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.
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 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 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.