Meet our team of talented and compassionate educators, readers, and professionals. Want to join the team at Indy Reads? Check out our current open positions. Sarika Agarwal Instructor Sarika Agarwal, an Indy Reads Instructor, 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. Maria Thereza Bastos Academic Operations Coordinator Maria Thereza is Indy Reads’ Academic Operations Coordinator. She holds a PhD in Literacy, Culture, and Language Education from Indiana University in Bloomington, an MA in Teaching English as a Second Language from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an undergraduate degree in English and Portuguese from the Universidade Federal do Pará in Brazil. Thereza has previously taught English as a foreign language (EFL) in Brazil and China to learners of all ages and has a background in K-12 ELL/ESL/EFL and World Language teacher education. She worked in higher education as a graduate student teaching courses at Indiana University in second, foreign, and bilingual education, as a project manager, and has additionally worked to include theater and drama in ESL /EFL instruction. As the Academic Operations Coordinator she is responsible for supporting Indy Reads’ academic programs ensuring a beneficial learning environment for each student enrolled at Indy Reads. She also oversees student post-testing, data tracking and management, volunteer training, student enrollment and progress, and success in certification programs. Thereza enjoys traveling, learning about different world cultures, dancing, photography, and spending time with her family. Anne Beal Instructor 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. Catherine Cardwell Community & Family Program Director Cat Cardwell, Community & Family Program Director, joined the Indy Reads team 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. Casey Culp Bookstore Manager Casey Culp, Bookstore Manager, obtained her Bachelor of Arts from IUPUI in Writing and Literacy during the Spring of 2021. Currently, she is pursuing her Master of Arts in English with a concentration in Literature, from IUPUI and will complete that degree at the end of the summer. She is very excited! Casey has previously interned for genesis, and The Ray Bradbury Center. Before finding Indy Reads, Casey worked for two small independent bookstores on the Northside of Indianapolis. Sam Ferrante Communications & Development Manager Sam Ferrante, Communications & Development Manager, received her Bachelor of Arts in English from the State University of Fredonia not a small amount of years ago and earned a Master of Fine Arts 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 towards a vision of 100% literacy for all. Paul Finegan Instructor Paul Finegan, ELL Instructor, 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. Sarah Guthrie Bright Instructor Sarah Guthrie Bright, an Indy Reads Instructor, received a BS in Business from Indiana University in Indianapolis. After working in banking and insurance for several years, she decided to pursue a career in education. Sarah completed a transition-to-teaching program in Secondary English Education at Indiana Wesleyan University. In 2015, she completed her MA in Secondary Education from Ball State University. Sarah has ten years of experience teaching English literature and composition writing in private, public, and virtual schools. She enjoys reading, traveling, going to concerts, and spending quality time with her husband and cat, Frodo. Devan Heiber Instructor Devan Heiber has been an educator for a decade and a coach of all ages for over 25 years. She earned her Bachelor’s from IUPUI, her Master’s from Marian University and is currently finishing her Doctorate in Education from American College of Education. Born and raised in Indianapolis, Devan has taught in urban schools with diverse student populations. She strongly believes in giving every learner equitable educational opportunities. Outside of education, she is dedicated to her five rescue dogs and attending live music events around the city. Lydia Johnson Vice President of Operations Lydia Johnson is Indy Reads’ Vice President of Operations. 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 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. Jennie McDowell Community Engagement & Volunteer Coordinator Jennie, Community Engagement & Volunteer Coordinator, holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Exceptional Needs Education and a Master of Arts degree in Adult and Community Education from Ball State University. Jennie has a background in the non-profit disability services field in the Indianapolis area. She also served as the Vice President of Philanthropy for Indiana Zeta’s chapter of Pi Beta Phi, in which she had the opportunity to coordinate their philanthropic efforts for children’s literacy. Jennie is a servant at heart and strives to assist in eliminating barriers for all humankind. Trent Moore Vice President of Community Impact Trent Moore is the Vice President of Community Impact. Prior to joining Indy Reads, Trent worked in the Goodwill Industries network serving in Central Texas, Southwestern Virginia, and Northern Indiana. These roles allowed Trent to oversee grant programs, develop curriculum, and assist individuals in obtaining training that yielded higher wage careers. Trent has also worked in higher education serving as a Residence Life Coordinator at Texas Tech University. Trent is a lifelong learner and has earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Administration focusing on Nonprofit Administration from Western Illinois University, a Master’s of Education in College Student Personnel from Ohio University, and a Master’s Certificate in Leadership from Texas Tech University. Trent is currently enrolled to earn his Doctorate of Education in Leadership with a focus on Educational and Community Organizations at American College of Education. Raquel Ravinet Finance Manager Raquel Ravinet, Finance Manager, 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 Instructor Lauren Reed, ELL Instructor, 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 Instructor Cindy Reinhard, ELL Instructor, 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 Chris Simmons, Student Services Manager, 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. Toby Stark Chief Development & Communications Officer 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. Gyalene Torres Program Associate Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Gya moved to Indiana in 2018. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Art History from University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Campus. Working in the coffee industry for nine years, she developed her customer service, training, leadership and organizational skills. Some of her passions are community service, reading romance novels, social justice, and spending time with her family. Gya’s name once appeared in a book. This is special to her, because no one else has the same name as her. After crossing paths with Indiana author, Jennifer Niven, she promised to include her name in her next novel, Breathless, and she did. David Turner Instructor David Turner, HSE instructor, 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 Daisy Velez Collazo, Intake/ELL Coordinator, 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.