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

Bancroft Law/ Fennemore Craig

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
Director of Community Engagement

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

Kristina Burdine
Finance Manager

Kristina Burdine is passionate about helping others and is an avid volunteer in our community. She enjoys crafting, spending time with her friends and family, playing soccer, and can be found hiking in Sabino Canyon every chance she gets!

Email: kristina@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

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

Daniela Buchberger
Early Literacy Coach

Daniela is excited to be working for Make Way for Books and support her community through its mission. She is passionate about sharing books with children and their families. When she’s not reading professionally or privately, Daniela enjoys hiking, traveling, cooking and yoga-ing.

Email: daniela@makewayforbooks.org

Lina Armijo
Early Literacy Coach

Email: lina@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

Tiffany Simon
Early Literacy Coach

Tiffany has worked in the Early Childhood profession for over ten years in various positions from teacher to infant-toddler specialist. She is ecstatic about joining the Make Way For Books team and is looking forward to enhancing the early education experience for Pima County’s youngest citizens. In her spare time, she enjoys singing, reading, dancing, traveling, attending concerts and musicals, eating delicious Thai food prepared by her talented husband, and relaxing with him and their two dogs and two cats.

Email: tiffany@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

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

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

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.

Alyshah Kanji
Family Literacy Specialist

Email: alyshah@makewayforbooks.org

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.

Monique Perez
Family Literacy Specialist

Monique Perez is a native Tucsonan and proud Arizona Wildcat! Her interests include bi-literacy and children’s literature (she loves “Pete the Cat!”.) During her free time, Monique enjoys spending time with her sorority sisters, scrapbooking, mentoring high school students, and serving as a board member for the Tucson High Badger Foundation (Go Badgers!) and the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

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

Melina Rodriguez
AmeriCorps Member

Email: melina@makewayforbooks.org

Elisa Cruikshank
AmeriCorps Member

Email: elisa@makewayforbooks.org