Meet our Team

“My work at AR Kids Read has fueled my passion for educational equity in a new and exciting way. Every time I engage with a student we serve or one of our volunteers, I am reminded of the enormous impact one individual can make in a student’s life.”

Dionne Jackson, Ed.D,

Executive Director

I deeply believe in the mission of literacy equity and access, viewing literacy rights as a social justice initiative.

Sherra Bennett, MSW

Program Director

AR Kids Read allows me to be a part of the community and build connections through a literacy lens. We are developing our future leaders to become better readers, thinkers, and communicators.

Kanesha Adams

Out of School Program Director

“I am honored to take part in building and strengthening a community of tutors who give so freely of their time and talents to make a positive impact on our children’s education.”

Amber D. Jackson, MPS

School Program Consultant

“Every time I sit with our tutors I’m inspired. They genuinely love the kids they serve. They get to know who they are and spur them to love reading. It’s a privilege to be a part of the growth process that is happening with helping Arkansas children achieve grade reading level and I am very thankful for that.”

Joyce O. Ajayi, MPS

School Program Consultant

“My work at AR Kids Read has fueled my passion for educational equity in a new and exciting way. Every time I engage with a student we serve or one of our volunteers, I am reminded of the enormous impact one individual can make in a student’s life.”

Dionne Jackson, Ed.D,

Executive Director

I deeply believe in the mission of literacy equity and access, viewing literacy rights as a social justice initiative.

Sherra Bennett, MSW

Program Director

“AR Kids Read allows me to be a part of the community and build connections through a literacy lens. We are developing our future leaders to become better readers, thinkers, and communicators.” 

Kanesha Adams

Out of School Program Director

“I am honored to take part in building and strengthening a community of tutors who give so freely of their time and talents to make a positive impact on our children’s education.”

Amber D. Jackson, MPS

School Program Consultant

“Every time I sit with our tutors I’m inspired. They genuinely love the kids they serve. They get to know who they are and spur them to love reading. It’s a privilege to be a part of the growth process that is happening with helping Arkansas children achieve grade reading level and I am very thankful for that.”

Joyce O. Ajayi, MPS

School Program Consultant

Taylor Beevers

Program Fellow: Professional Development

“My hope is to provide support and useful resources for our tutors in order to help our students have the best experience with AR Kids Read!”

Nancy Velazquez

Program Fellow: Community Development

“I am most looking forward to continuing my work with the amazing AKR team. I am also excited to strengthen the relationship AKR has with the local community.”

Gigi Powell

Gigi Powell

Intern

“I am working on an honors thesis project centered around public libraries and their relationships within their communities, so I look forward to having some hands-on experience promoting literacy within the Arkansas community with AR Kids Read.”

Gigi Powell

Katharine Larson

Intern

“As a life-long Arkansan, I am elated and honored to join the AR Kids Read team. It is a true privilege to serve and celebrate our Natural State’s young readers on their educational journey.”

Gigi Powell

Michaela Storey

Intern

“I was a children’s librarian page in high school and loved to see the excitement from our young patrons when they found a new book to read. I look forward to working with AR Kids Read to help foster the love of lifelong literacy with our community.”

Gigi Powell

Olivia Varnell

Intern

“I wouldn’t be where I am today without the type of resources AR Kids Read provides. The tools I was given at a young age made me passionate about reading. Promoting literacy in Arkansas is at the forefront of my goals as a future educator, so I’m excited to be part of this team.”

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