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.
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.
Lydia Johnson, Interim Vice President of Support Services, 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.
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.
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.
Christina Binhack, Vice President of Program, joined Indy Reads in 2017. She earned a Bachelor’s of Applied Arts from Central Michigan University where she was a Leader Advancement Scholar (one of 40 chosen out of 3,500 applicants each year). She has always been a part of programming teams in nonprofits, starting with positions at the Ella Sharp Museum and the Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum. Living for three months on Mackinac Island was one of the best experiences of her life! After graduating from CMU, Christina worked at the Mt. Pleasant Discovery Museum as the Event and Marketing Director where she managed their large volunteer program, developed daily programming for all ages, and executed a new gala fundraising event to raise a record profit of $40,000 for the museum at that time. Working at the newly founded nonprofit during its few years of existence helped her realize that a career in the nonprofit sector is exactly where she needed to be and decided to return to school to earn a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs with a concentration in Nonprofit Management at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). During graduate school, Christina worked as a student research assistant and joined Indy Reads, where she found her passion for ensuring all adults have equal access to affordable education. Her favorite genres to read are historical fiction, memoirs, and fantasy.
Chris Simmons, Student Navigator, 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.
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.
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.
Trinity Brown, Program Coordinator, joined Indy Reads in 2022. She spent several years as a leader in the hospitality industry of Fountain Square. In 2019, she decided to follow her passion for service, and enlisted in AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps). She was part of a 10-person team that spent 10 months traveling the country, living in communities, and addressing their most pressing needs. She engaged in various projects, including providing crucial support to towns devastated by natural disasters, and helping rebuild communities throughout the South and the Midwest. When she concluded her service year, she knew she wanted to continue working with AmeriCorps members in a different capacity. Trinity has also run her own photography business over the last decade, and has recently found a passion for film photography. She’s a huge music buff, and has a soft spot for the 80’s.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Camille Arnett, an AmeriCorps WorkLiteracy Coach and Indy Reads’ Volunteer Liaison, joined the team in 2020. She graduated from Butler University in 2020 with an English degree and has started to pursue a graduate certificate in nonprofit management through IUPUI. She also represents Indy Reads in the Central Indiana Association of Volunteer Administrators (CIAVA). Having tutored in ELL, HSE, and Foundations programs with Indy Reads, she has fostered relationships with a diverse student body and is grateful to have made connections with so many people. Her love of literature and librarian mother qualify her to lead the Indy Reads’ staff professional development book club. (Make sure to check out her Book of the Month selection in the bookstore!) She has strong beliefs regarding education, literacy, the arts, and LGBTQ+ issues. A longtime band and orchestra musician, Camille loves music almost as much as she loves books and is working to catch her record collection up with her bookshelves. Someday, she aspires to pursue a Masters in Fine Arts for creative writing. Until then, she writes every day, reads books of all kinds, and enjoys obscure foreign films and sappy period romances.
Macy Barwick, an AmeriCorps WorkLiteracy Coach, joined Indy Reads in 2020. They have assisted with marketing and development, bookstore programming, and student outreach with the Indy Reads student newsletter. Macy primarily serves in ELL classes, including a class in partnership with the Immigrant Welcome Center’s Pathway to Literacy Program. They received their Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Spanish and Creative Writing from Hanover College. Macy is now attending IUPUI to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). They hope to continue to serve the immigrant and refugee population of Central Indiana after completing their AmeriCorps term of service with Indy Reads. On the weekends, Macy works part-time at Square Cat Vinyl as a barista where their passions for coffee and community come together. In their free time, Macy enjoys crocheting, reading, caring for their ever-growing houseplant collection, and showering their black cat Gideon, more commonly known as “Ma’am,” with all the affection in the world. For Macy, Indy Reads is important because no matter someone’s age, education can be an empowering and transformative experience.
Jeanette Huber, an AmeriCorps WorkLiteracy Coach, was a volunteer tutor for Indy Reads helping out in the pre-HSE classes before she joined the team full-time in 2021. She helps in an ELL class, tutors students individually in the Foundations Program, serves as our administrative data assistant, and helps at the bookstore. Jeanette has a degree in accounting and has worked and volunteered in the nonprofit sector for most of her life, so she knows firsthand how crucial education is for success. She loves being a part of a team making such a positive impact in our community and working directly with students. In addition to her love of reading, she enjoys being outside bicycling, hiking, and gardening.
Brittany Dugan, an AmeriCorps WorkLiteracy Coach, joined the team in 2021. She earned a BSPA in Sustainable Management and Policy through IUPUI in 2021. She is planning to continue her education by obtaining a Master’s in Social Work with a focus in Mental Health and Addictions. She works directly with students in classes and through one-on-one tutoring. She also leads Conversation Circles for our ELL students and helps with student enrollments. Brittany is grateful to be able to work with an organization like Indy Reads that makes such a positive difference in the community. The students she works with are some of the most amazing people she’s ever met! It’s such a fulfilling experience for her to hear about the students’ stories and how Indy Reads’ service helps them achieve their goals.
Annalia Hopper, an AmeriCorps WorkLiteracy Coach, joined the team in 2020. She serves as the Foundations Program Head and works with some of our lowest-level literacy students. Their passion is education. Annalia began working with Indy Reads because they are dyslexic and believe that all people can learn to read with the right resources! She graduated from Indiana University in 2020, and never got an actual graduation because of the pandemic. Her major was English with a concentration in Creative Writing and a minor in Folklore. She added Folklore on for fun because she’s a nerd and proud. She’s been obsessed with vampires, monsters, and ghosts since she learned to talk. Someday you’ll see her published books in the Indy Reads bookstore. You can pick up a signed copy of the best horror novel ever written by a mammal at the coolest bookstore in the world on a date TBD. If you can’t immediately tell, her Hogwarts house is Slytherin, and they plan to use that Slytherin gumption to someday take over the world on the platform that breakfast should be extended to stay open 24 hours. They also believe that if someone wants a pancake at any time, they should be able to have a pancake. She loves her cat and her niece more than anything in the whole world, and her phone memory is 99% cat and baby photos. Catch them walking around Irvington with her Cat, Nyx, strapped to their chest in a cat backpack, and ask her about the literacy issues in Indianapolis. Be careful: once she starts, they won’t stop.
Corinne Ebner, an AmeriCorps WorkLiteracy Coach, joined our team in 2021. She is often a first point of contact with students and works in two classes as a small group leader. She also facilitates the certification courses at Indy Reads, navigating students through the program from their first interest in a certification all the way through taking the certification exam. After graduating from Butler University in May of 2021 with an organizational communication degree, she wanted to connect more with the Indianapolis community and grow her roots in her hometown. Indy Reads seemed like the perfect way to get involved and gain some experience with nonprofit work, which she’s been interested in since her first year of college. Corinne loves working with our students and helping them reach their goals, whether to improve their English, add to their résumé, or learn to read confidently.
Andrew Tanner, AmeriCorps WorkLiteracy Coach, joined our team in 2020. He is also the Fast Track Advisor for our High School Equivalency (HSE) program. He has always loved reading and creating stories and believes it frees minds. Andrew is currently pursuing a degree in Creative Writing and joined Indy Reads to give back to the community through the gift of literacy.
Kate Owens is an AmeriCorps WorkLiteracy Coach who joined the team in 2021. She helps lead two ELL classes as well as coordinating the Job Readiness Skills program. Kate has her Bachelor’s Degree from the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and is passionate about nonprofit work that gives her the chance to connect with and help her community. As a lifelong reader, Kate loves how reading can open doors to other times and places. Her favorite thing about Indy Reads is that helping students gain literacy skills can help open actual doors for our students to have greater opportunities in life.
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.
Kelsey, an AmeriCorps WorkLiteracy Coach, joined the team in 2021. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Professional and Public Writing from IUPUI. She joined Indy Reads because she understands how valuable reading, writing, and communicating skills are for individuals of all backgrounds and identities and is committed to improving the literacy of her community.