Sarika Agarwal, Literacy Instructor, joined Indy Reads in 2017. She teaches a Pre-HSE and a High School Equivalency class for adult students who are working toward attaining their High School Equivalency diploma. Sarika was an elementary and special education teacher before joining Indy Reads. She loves watching her students gain confidence after improving their skills.
Anne Beal (she/her) has been an HSE Adult Educator several years, after a decade working in K12 education as a Language Arts teacher. She earned her Bachelor’s from Indiana University, and her Master’s in Education from Indiana Wesleyan. Anne has taught in regions of Indianapolis, both urban and suburban, as well as across the country, in Las Vegas, spanning diverse experience working with families and cultural backgrounds. She believes that all learners can achieve success when given the opportunities and support to nurture their journey, and with the bravery to push through challenges. She has a love for senior rescue pets, contributes as a writer to the local Indianapolis Moms online publication, and is journeying the Autism Spectrum with her son who is her tour guide as he navigates life.
Cat Cardwell, Bookstore Program Director, joined the team in 2021 with over 15 years of experience in both the public and private sectors. She is proud to have worked with important local organizations, such as the Indiana Repertory Theatre and the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis, forming wonderful relationships with our community. Her time as a Congressional Legislative Correspondent, a Women Build Leader for the Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity, and an HIV Awareness and Outreach Leader in D.C., have provided her with skills in communication and development that support the Indy Reads team. Cat co-founded the nonprofit EclecticPond Theatre Company and became the Managing Director and Board President, creating accessible and inspiring adaptations of classic works for the public and schools. She co-directed its first production, Romeo & Juliet, and directed a gender-reversed production of Julius Caesar. Cat graduated with honors from Indiana University, majoring in English and Political Science, before obtaining her Postgraduate Diploma with Merit in Shakespeare, Stratford upon Avon and the Cultural History of Renaissance England from the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham, UK. She returned to her Indiana home after working as a manager for Blackwell’s Bookshop, the oldest bookstore in Oxford, UK. Cat is thankful for a family that knew the importance of reading to her before the letters made any sense. When she isn’t sharing her love of reading and knowledge through Indy Reads, Cat enjoys spending time with her husband and two senior pups, Yorick and Olivia.
Bryant Coffing, the AmeriCorps Coordinator, oversees the recruitment, training, and daily tasks of AmeriCorps members at Indy Reads. Bryant is a former educator with a Reading Specialist focus, and taught for nearly a decade across two corporations. Bryant worked in 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grade classrooms specialized for students with special needs and English Language Learners. Through getting to know his students and their families, he wanted to continue his education and direct his career towards working to aid in ending generational illiteracy and help families rise above poverty. In 2021, he graduated from the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs with his MPA and concentration in Innovation and Social Change. During his time in graduate school, Bryant also worked for CRISP (Center for Research on Inclusion & Social Policy) as a research assistant. Here, he helped research and write briefs that highlighted inequalities within Marion County. Bryant joined Indy Reads in 2021. He enjoys trying new restaurants around Indy, Karaoke nights, and spending time with his family and two dogs.
Emma Creveling (she/her)
AmeriCorps WorkLiteracy Coach
Emma Creveling, an AmeriCorps WorkLiteracy Coach, joined our team in 2022. She graduated from Boston University in 2020 with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. She has experience working in a college writing center. It was during college, while focusing heavily on current and historical sociology, that she decided education should be accessible and not exclusive to traditional academic settings. Emma took a step towards this goal by volunteering with Indy Reads in an ELL classroom. It was only a few months into class that she decided to apply for the WorkLiteracy Coach position so that she could further help to make literacy possible for all.
Sam Ferrante, Development & Communications Coordinator, joined Indy Reads in 2021. She received her BA in English from the State University of Fredonia not a small amount of years ago and earned an MFA in Creative Writing with a focus in Poetry from Butler University in 2020. Sam has spent the last decade writing, editing, teaching, and facilitating workshops and events in New York, San Diego, Paris, Belfast, and Melbourne. She hopes to spend the next decade right here in Indianapolis, continuing to work with Hoosiers as they empower themselves and their families through literacy.
Paul Finegan, ELL Instructor, joined Indy Reads in 2017. He graduated with a BA in English and Economics from IU Bloomington in 1987. Prior to joining Indy Reads, he was a professional guitarist. He’s also gigged as a home builder and financial analyst. Empowering his students to succeed and leading a dedicated team toward that end is his raison d’etre. Motto: a student’s reach should exceed her grasp or what’s an education for? In his spare time, Paul enjoys listening to Shostakovich at high volume until his wife can’t stand it anymore. Otherwise, he’s usually hiking, running, biking, traveling or reading a book. Thus far, he has visited 20 countries.
Oceanik Garrett, Bookstore Program Coordinator, who joined Indy Reads in 2022, facilitates the implementation of all events and programs in our community bookstore. She is currently finishing up her bachelor’s at IUPUI’s O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. She spent 3 years creating programing for students through a scholarship called Social Justice Education. Oceanik also interned with O’Neill for their Nonprofit career Expo providing connections and opportunities for students. She is a devoted reader who has recently taken up collage art and roller-skating.
Lydia Johnson, Vice President of Operations, joined the team in 2017. Previously working in an administrative capacity at a for-profit college in Indianapolis led Lydia to seek a way to use her organizational and system-making skills in the nonprofit sector. She has a background in English/Creative Writing and holds an MFA in Creative Writing with a focus in Poetry from Butler University. She is a freelance writer and poet who also teaches writing workshops and leads book discussions for the Indiana Writers Center and other organizations in Indianapolis. Lydia loves music, thrifting, collecting records, and reading. Her favorite genres are poetry, self-help, and romance. She believes that the work we do at Indy Reads matters because not only are we helping students learn and grow via adult education, we’re helping families become more stable and strong.
Ruba Marshood, Chief Executive Officer, oversees strategic planning, management, and implementation of Indy Reads’ programs, brand, and growth to reach the 1 in 6 adults across Marion County whose English literacy and fluency is below the 5th grade level. A social justice leader, Ruba previously served as Director of Partnerships and Community Engagement with the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia (LCNV), Virginia’s oldest and largest adult literacy organization. In her 10+ years with LCNV, Ruba fostered strategic relationships with other nonprofit, civic, government and corporate entities to expand the organization’s mission, fund development, and impact, including the launch of its trademark Destination WorkforceⓇ program. Ruba has spent over 15 years working with global and local organizations, ranging from the United Nations to small organizations in different parts of the world, cultivating collaboration across community levels and sectors to organize and advocate for their interests. An alumna of the Princeton AlumniCorps’ Emerging Leaders program, she received her BSc from University of Maryland and her MA from Duke University. Ruba is a first-generation American, fluent in Arabic, and a published photographer and photo-editor. She also enjoys exploring Indy with her kids, dancing, and good food with great company.
Raquel Ravinet, Finance Manager, has been with Indy Reads since 2017. She was a volunteer for the Greater Indianapolis Literacy League in the 1980s, which went on to become Indy Reads. When the opportunity came back around to work toward literacy in Marion County, she jumped on it. With more than 30 years of experience in the Indianapolis nonprofit sector, we are so lucky to have her here.
Lauren Reed, ELL Instructor, joined the team in 2019. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with a minor in English from Purdue University in 2014. After graduating, she was able to volunteer with a program where she tutored an ELL student one-on-one. Wanting to learn more about the world of ELL instruction, Lauren enrolled at IUPUI and received her certificate in TESOL in 2019. During her time at IUPUI she became aware of Indy Reads and got the opportunity to intern with the organization, in the ELL classes, before officially becoming an instructor in 2019. One of the things Lauren loves most about teaching is getting to know the students and building a community within the classroom. She feels honored to be one small step in their journey to accomplish their goals.
Cindy Reinhard, ELL Instructor, joined the team in 2018. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Purdue University. Ever since she can remember, she has always been a teacher at heart. After graduating college, she taught adults with developmental disabilities and while her children were small, she taught preschool. Finally, after volunteering to teach adult immigrants and doing graduate coursework, she discovered a love for working with ELL students and a fascination with language development and sociolinguistics. She received her certificate in TESOL from IUPUI, and is planning in the near future to complete her masters in TESOL (hopefully). She loves research and learning about the best methods and materials for teaching ELL adults. She is thankful everyday to wake up and do what she loves.
Chris Simmons, Student Services Manager, started with us in 2016. He holds the Bachelor of Science degree in Education and the Master of Education degree in Occupational Education, both from the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky, where he was a member of the National Honors Society, 1995-2000. Chris has a background in K-12 special education, occupational education, adult education, financial credit consulting, and informational technology sales. Chris is committed to community service and to making the world a better place from the grassroots up, often one person at a time. He has served in public schools, community agencies, and corporate America, but even then found ways to engage in outreach to the schools and community. Chris is from a family of educators and believes everyone needs an educational advantage to compete in today’s world. He views education broadly, including formal schooling, co-curricular activities, and life lessons that are a natural part of an individual’s everyday experiences of challenges and progress. As he tells students, you learn from day-to-day activities unknowingly. You do not fail at something, you learn from the unknown. Chris enjoys cars, cooking, sports, celebrations, working, and relaxing with his wife, two sons, extended family, and many friends. His greatest joys come from helping others to improve their life situations.
Bio: Erica Spohr joined IndyReads as an ELL instructor in 2022. She has over 20 years of experience teaching adult learners from 65 countries! She holds a bachelor’s degree in Linguistics, a master’s degree in TESOL, and an Indiana Teacher’s License. Erica enjoys empowering students to set and reach a wide range of personal goals. She enjoys traveling and learning about music and food from other countries. She has taught in Russia, Romania, Portugal, and Japan, and she recently moved to Indy from Michigan. When not teaching classes, she can be found walking, reading, or playing with her cat.
Toby Stark, Chief Development & Communications Officer, provides strategic leadership to shape and ensure Indy Reads’ fund development strategy and goals. With a Master’s in Mass Communications from the University of Houston and more than 25 years of experience in public relations, development, and communications in the nonprofit and corporate sectors, Toby joined Indy Reads after leading Stark Consulting Group LLC, for four years. Before that, she was the Director of Safe Sport for USA Gymnastics and was also the Executive Director of child advocacy organization, Chaucie’s Place. Named a State of Indiana Bicentennial Torchbearer in 2015, Stark, born and raised in Indianapolis, returned from Houston more than ten years ago and has been developing Indy’s nonprofit scene ever since.
David Turner, HSE instructor, joined the team in August of 2020. He has a range of teaching experience since graduating from University of Indianapolis in 2004. His degree is in music education, and he taught elementary music for 10 years prior to teaching adult ed in a correctional facility for 6 years. It was in a prison that he realized that he enjoyed working with the adult population and helping those that needed a second chance be successful. He had also worked with Central Nine Career Center in a very similar capacity, teaching HSE classes. He has very little spare time these days, but he does still do some occasional musical activities, which include working in community theaters as either an actor or a musical director. He also is a worship leader at his church. David has a wife and 3 children (11, 13, and 16).
Daisy Velez Collazo, Intake/ELL Coordinator, joined the team in 2022. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Elemental Education. Daisy graduated from Dietetics school and is also a Certified Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Advocate in the State of Florida. She is a member of the Brown County Rock Club and the Indiana Archaeological Society.In her free time, she enjoys photography, hiking, geode hunting, camping, traveling, painting, gardening, yoga, and dancing.
Addison Wolfe, an AmeriCorps WorkLiteracy Coach, joined our team in 2021. He is attending Indiana University for his undergraduate degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences and plans to pursue a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate. Additionally, he is an opera singer with a background in Italian, German, and French. He has performed in multiple productions with both the Indianapolis Opera and IU Opera Theatre. He intends to combine the different aspects of his education and work experience to help people that have speech and communication issues, especially ELL students that want to sing opera. He joined Indy Reads to gain experience working with people of various backgrounds and cultures, and to help do his part to promote English literacy.