Who We Are

From our past Board President

Our past Board President, Brian Sonnleitner, speaks on the innovative grassroots efforts of Make Way for Books to create a culture of literacy in homes and classrooms throughout our community.

 

Our Board of Directors

Patricia Clay, Board President, Current Voting Member

Firm Administrator, Neff & Boyer, PC

Donie Gignac, Board Vice President, Current Voting Member

Branch Manager, Pima County Public Library

Sesaly Stamps, Secretary, Current Voting Member

DeConcini McDonald Yetwin & Lacy, P.C.

Kevin Marshall, Treasurer, Current Voting Member

CPA, Better Office Solutions

Mark Alvarez, Current Voting Member

TUSD Interim Assistant Superintendent of Elementary & K-8

Veronica Avila, Current Voting Member

Parent Representative

Mary Jan Bancroft, Ph.D., Current Voting Member

Founder of Make Way for Books and Chief Visionary Officer

Paul D. Bancroft, Esq., Current Voting Member

McDonald Carano

Autumn Ruhe, Current Voting Member

Mildred and Dildred, Owner

Crystal M. Soltero, Ph.D., Current Voting Member

Assistant Professor of Practice, University of Arizona College of Education

Jennifer J. Stewart, M.B.A., Current Voting Member

Emeritus, award-winning children's author

Greg Curtis Wakefield, Current Voting Member

Morning Radio Host, 94.9 MIX FM

Our Staff

Jenny Volpe
Chief Executive Officer

Passionate about helping children gain access to quality educational opportunities, Jenny began her career as a Teach for America teacher. She believes in the power of literacy to change lives. When she is not making way for books, she can be found reading, writing, or practicing yoga.

Email: Jenny@makewayforbooks.org

Ally Baehr
Chief Operating Officer

Ally is passionate about volunteering, spending time with her family, helping with her daughter’s Girl Scout troop, biking, camping, traveling, and it brings her great joy to spread the message about Make Way for Books and the great work they do in the community.

Email: ally@makewayforbooks.org

Joel Benson
Director of Finance

Joel is excited to be at Make Way for books and support the mission that contributes so much to the community.  He is passionate in his belief that everyone should be treated with respect and be given equal opportunity to become the best that they can be.  Joel enjoys baking, working in his yard, and being in the beautiful surroundings of Tucson.

Email: joel@makewayforbooks.org

Melinda Englert
Creative Director

Melinda is passionate about education as a means for social change and enjoys writing and designing as a way to share that passion with others. She loves biking, hiking, traveling, and reading, of course.

Email: melinda@makewayforbooks.org

Monica Farmer
The Story Project Impact Director

Monica is a third-generation library professional and is passionate about making a difference in our community’s preschools and child care centers. She enjoys exploring our city by bike, spending time with her nephews, gardening, baking, and hot chocolate.

Email: monica@makewayforbooks.org

Tania Hinojosa
The Story Project Education Director

Tania has been involved in the education field for twenty years with a commitment to Early Childhood Education for the last 5 years, she is passionate about empowering people, giving them the right tools to develop their full potential so they can become agents of change, improving their lives and their communities. Tania loves the magic children’s books bring to the world, and enjoys reading, dancing, having conversations with babies and snuggling with her son and daughter.

Email: taniah@makewayforbooks.org

Cynnamon Woodberry
Early Literacy Coach

Cynnamon loves working with our youngest children. Her focus has been on infant and toddler development during her career and is a passionate advocate for early literacy and education. When she is outside of the classroom, Cynnamon enjoys reading, crafting, doodling, swimming and bullet journaling.

Email: cynnamon@makewayforbooks.org

Gloria Osborne
Early Literacy Coach

Gloria E. Osborne loves to work with children and the community to implement her love of reading and emergent/emotional literacy. She enjoys spending time with her son, Jacob, husband, Donald and good friends. Her true passion is walking early in the mornings to self-reflect and get ready for whatever adventures may come.

Email: gloria@makewayforbooks.org

Maria Elena Iturralde
Early Literacy Coach

Email: mariaelena@makewayforbooks.org

Lina Armijo
Early Literacy Coach

Lina is a Tucson native who has been involved in the education field forty years. She is thrilled to be working for Make Way for Books. She is passionate about empowering educators by inspiring and motivating them to be their ultimate best. Lina loves traveling and spending time with family. Her greatest joy is watching her granddaughter learn and grow every day!

Email: lina@makewayforbooks.org

Lori Cady
Early Literacy Coach

Working with children has always been a passion for Lori, being a part of the Make Way for Books Team is a dream come true. Lori is overjoyed to be making a difference in young children’s lives through positive experiences, imagination, early literacy and language in the community. She has been working with children since she was a child and professionally for the last 10 years in different capacities.  When she is not working with young children, she enjoys spending time with her husband, son and family, dancing, shopping and home projects.

Email: lori@makewayforbooks.org

Jessica Rubio
Early Literacy Coach

Email: jessica@makewayforbooks.org

Diane Altieri
Volunteer Coordinator

Diane Altieri loves children’s books and is always excited to share new books, puppets, and props with our volunteers. The mother of three and grandmother of eight, Diane enjoys crafting as well as spending time with her family, her husband Len, and their tuxedo kitty Mr. Maxwell Binks.

Email: diane@makewayforbooks.org

Nikki Potter
Neighborhood School Readiness Assistant

Nikki received a Make Way for Books baby-bag after her daughter was born and the information she received as a new parent was a tremendous help to her! After learning about Make Way for Books, she became a volunteer and is now our Neighborhood School Readiness Assistant. Nikki loves giving back to her community.

Email: nikki@makewayforbooks.org

Lana Bruno
Office Assistant

Lana is a retired Peace Corps Training Director who has experienced the power of literacy in various countries during 25 years of international life and work. She welcomes the opportunity to support the Make Way for Books team to empower children and families in our community. Personal passions include family, a collection of international arts & traditional crafts and Lana never tires of cooking recipes gathered in travels or new ones learned through cookbooks and friends. Her dog, Luna, figures prominently in this chapter of her life.

Email: lana@makewayforbooks.org

Natalia Hoffman
Family Literacy Impact Director

Natalia is a native Tucsonan who is committed to sharing her love of books with families in our community. She enjoys reading, jogging, and playing with her four beautiful dogs.

Email: natalia@makewayforbooks.org

Dianette Plácido
Family Education and Literacy Education Director

Dianette attributes her love of books and learning to childhood experiences rich with culture, love, and stories.  Her free time is occupied with sporting events, family-get-togethers, and downtime with her husband & Yorkie.

Email: dianette@makewayforbooks.org

Fernando González
School Readiness Program Specialist

Fernando is passionate about teaching everything from languages to martial arts. He loves to travel and learn, and loves books because they allow all people to do both, no matter where in the world they find themselves.

Email: fernando@makewayforbooks.org

Thania Mayorga-Shull
Family Literacy Specialist

Thania is dedicated to sharing the joy of books and loves presenting fun, interactive storytimes and literacy workshops for families. She enjoys spending time with her husband and exploring Tucson.

Email: thania@makewayforbooks.org

Xochitl Coronado-Vargas
Family Literacy Specialist

Xochitl comes to us with a background in public health.  She considers literacy a right and believes cultivating a culture of reading can have the potential to address many social and economic issues in our society.  Xochitl loves connecting with children over books.  Xochitl enjoys hiking, biking, eating pho, watching her son play the guitar, gardening, cooking chicken tortilla soup, camping with friends, dancing with her husband, playing capoeira with her husband and sleeping.

Danae Pineda
Family Literacy Specialist

Coming from a family of teachers, Danae has the love of learning and books in her blood! She loves working with families by singing, playing, reading and talking with all of them. In her spare time she loves to play the ukulele, sing and be around her family.

Email: danae@makewayforbooks.org

Beatriz Lugo
Family Literacy Specialist

Beatriz loves to work with children. She thinks that as children learn, she learns with them. She received her Childhood Development Associates Credential and she is a semester away from finishing her Associates Degree. She has been working with children since 2010. She loves to go to work and not having to work because of the enjoyment she has when she works with kids.

Stephanie Carl
Family Literacy Specialist

Stephanie is passionate and dedicated to the mission of Make Way for Books and its ability to positively influence the lives of the Tucson community. Being a mother of three beautiful children she fully understands and sees firsthand how wonderfully sharing books impacts the lives of families. When she’s not reading she enjoys running, playing guitar, and rummaging through thrift stores and yard sales. Recycle, reduce, reuse!!!

Email: stephanie@makewayforbooks.org

Suzannah Herron
Family Literacy Specialist

Suzannah grew up reading books with her family as a young child and hopes she can instill that love with other families. She loves working at Make Way For Books to help create a positive impact on her community.  In her spare time, she loves to play and watch tennis, read, go to the movies, play board games with her friends, and travel.

Email: suzannah@makewayforbooks.org

Frances Romero
Family Literacy Specialist

Frances has over 30 years’ experience in early childhood education as a lead teacher, family literacy teacher, health specialist and center manager. She loves working with preschool-age children and their families.

Karina Estrada
Family Literacy Specialist

Karina is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education at Northern Arizona University. With her family, Karina enjoys visiting the park, playing board games, listening to music, and reading books.

Zoey Petitt
AmeriCorps Member

Zoey is an undergraduate student studying linguistics, neuroscience, and cognitive science at the University of Arizona. She loves reading and is passionate about creating positive literacy experiences for children throughout the community. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, yoga, and hiking.

Email: zoey@makewayforbooks.org

Illeana Alexander
AmeriCorps Member

Illeana is a lifetime Girl Scout, recent graduate of the University of Puget Sound, and new to the city of Tucson. She is passionate about investing herself in her community and excited to be a part of such an amazing and important organization. In her free time, she enjoys exploring the city, hiking, and searching for a new favorite coffee shop.”

Email: illeana@makewayforbooks.org

Mia Ruiz
AmeriCorps Member

Mia started at Make Way for Books as a parent participant. After three years of joining her daughter, Brisssa, for several of the programs; she credits Make Way for Books for instilling more love into her family beyond the scope of literacy and is now a Parent Leadership Associate, Advocating for and co- designing a strategy in the community for parents, as an ambassador. Dedicated to supporting parents in recognizing their power to create opportunities for their children. Mia’s other passions include time with her partner Adrien, daughter Brissa, and their dog Vader.

Email: mia@makewayforbooks.org

Melina Rodriguez
AmeriCorps Member

Melina is an undergraduate student studying History and English at the University of Arizona. Melina is extremely proud to work with an organization creating great change while spreading joy and kindness through the community. In her free time, you can find her enjoying art, books, and spending time with her dogs

Email: melina@makewayforbooks.org

Elisa Cruikshank
AmeriCorps Member

Elisa discovered a love of reading as a child and has since enjoyed sharing the magic of reading with children. After teaching elementary school for 12 years, Elisa stayed home with her young children for 4 years and recently graduated with her master’s degree in Literacy from the University of Arizona. She feels it is important for families, educators and community members to collaborate and build a strong  community, and has been involved in organizations dedicated to this goal for many years. Elisa enjoys spending time with family, traveling, cooking and reading.

Email: elisa@makewayforbooks.org