The all-volunteer Board of Directors is responsible for New Haven Reads’ overall health and well-being, ensuring that it is following its mission and is financially sound. 100% of the Board contribute financially to the organization and many of them volunteer their time in an administrative capacity or as tutors.
Heather Samson Calabrese – President
Heather Samson Calabrese joined the Yale University Office of the Secretary in October 2013. As Director of University Events she oversees Baccalaureate, Commencement, Veterans Day and other major events; University lectures including the Grand and Terry lectures; and communications initiatives within the Office of the Secretary. Prior to joining Yale, Heather was an independent nonprofit consultant and the chief operating officer of United Way of Greater New Haven. She is active in Greater New Haven civic efforts and serves on several other community boards, including Elm Shakespeare and The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven’s Fund for Women and Girls.
Susan Netter – Vice President
Starting out as an English teacher in Manhattan and Vermont, Susan eventually became a business manager/owner. Throughout, her interest in children’s welfare and education has strongly persisted. Membership on the Children’s Center Board for over twenty years reflects her continuing interest, and tutoring students at New Haven Reads is a most gratifying way to have a direct impact on young minds.
Russell Outler is a Connecticut native who works with Webster Bank in the greater New Haven area as a Vice President Branch Manager. He was looking to work with non-profits looking to have an impact on the community, and chose to serve on the Board for New Haven Reads. Russell has been with the board since the Spring of 2012.
Geraldine Sullivan serves as Director of Employee Relations at the Yale School of Medicine. She served as the Co-Chair of the Yale Latino Networking Group from 2010-2013 and continues to serve in their Steering Committee. Yale Latino Networking Group is an Affinity Group through the Yale University Office of Diversity & Inclusion. Geraldine earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.
Ruth has volunteered at New Haven Reads as a tutor since 2009. She also has volunteered as a Reading Buddy at the Jewish Coalition for Literacy since 2013. From 2010-2013, Ruth volunteered at the New Haven Public Schools Foundation as a tutor. Currently, she is the WIKS-USA, Inc. Grants Coordinator, the Vice Chair, Member, and Alternate at various times at Bethany Zoning Board of Appeals, the Small Claims and Motor Vehicle Infractions Magistrate, and the Arbitrator for the State of Connecticut Judicial Department. Ruth has been active for many years in civic organizations for the town of Bethany, horse organizations throughout Connecticut, and the Episcopal Church. She has been a practicing attorney in Connecticut since 1984.
Lisa Gray is principal at Gray Organschi Architecture, a firm recognized for its technical innovation, sustainability and overall design excellence by state, regional and national awards programs for ecological building, residential and institutional design, material experimentation and landscape infrastructure. Lisa, who received her B.A. and M. Arch from Yale, launched the firm in 1994 with her partner and husband, Alan Organschi. Lisa learned about New Haven Reads from her son Augie, who tutored at NH Reads for three years.
Peter Goldsmith – Honorary Member
Peter Goldsmith is a 1955 Yale graduate who then spent two years in the army. Peter followed his service obligation working twenty years in manufacturing and another twenty years in sales. Upon retirement ten years ago, he became involved with Yale Project 55 and Dwight Hall (Yale University’s Community Service organization) and New Haven Reads, as well as a number of other New Haven charities.
Kirsten Levinsohn – Ex Officio
Kirsten has a Masters in Elementary/Early Childhood Education, a K-8 teaching certificate, and taught in the classroom for six years. Prior to coming to New Haven in 2010, she was the executive director of the Leslie Science and Nature Center for 20 years in Ann Arbor, MI. Kirsten is proud to be part of the dedicated group of staff, parents, and tutors at New Haven Reads who help the children in our community to become skilled readers. She has been tutoring two NHR students since 2010 and working with these students is one of the highlights of her week.
Laura Pappano is a Yale grad and journalist who has written for The New York Times, the Harvard Education Letter, The Christian Science Monitor, The Huffington Post, and The Boston Globe, among other print and online publications. She is author of three books, editor of the FairGameNews blog and a founder of the New Haven Student Journalism Project, which runs a summer institute for New Haven youth and, during the academic year, a school newspaper, The Celentano Sentinel, for students in grades 2-8. Her daughter Molly is a passionate volunteer tutor at New Haven Reads!
Victor De La Pas received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History from Rutgers University and his MBA from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He currently serves as the Chief Financial Officer for Achievement First Schools and has formerly held the same position at both New Haven Public Schools and Baltimore City Public Schools.
Jason is the Vice President – Wealth Management at Boone-Malcaluso Capital Advisors. A graduate of Providence College, he remains active in the Friar Alumni community and serves on the Business Advisory Council of the Providence College School of Business. He lives with his family in Killingworth.
Jodi Benjamin-Schneider graduated from The George Washington University. She worked in marketing for MCI in New York City. After spending time raising her two children, and helping to launch a pre-school, The Children’s New School in Madison, Ct. and then subsequently coordinating special programs there, she became a literacy tutor at the Mauro-Sheridan School in New Haven, where she has worked for the past 10 years.
Alexa is a native German and lives with her husband in the United States since 2006. She earned a Master of Arts Degree in Economics (in Germany) and is working at Yale University. Soon after coming to New Haven in 2009 Alexa learned about New Haven Reads and started to tutor and support the staff with regards to financial and administrative functions.
Senator Gary Winfield
Gary Winfield was elected to represent the 1oth State Senate District (New Haven & West Haven) in a special election held February 25, 2014, replacing former senator and now New Haven Mayor Toni Harp. Prior to that special election, Gary had served as a state representative for the 94th Assembly District of New Haven and Hamden since his election in 2008. Originally from Bronx, New York, Gary lives in New Haven.