Ready Readers serves more than 116 early childhood centeres in low-income areas throughout St. Louis.
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Board of Directors

Katie Abbott, Teacher at University United Methodist Preschool in University City; M.Ed in Elementary and Secondary School Counseling and former elementary school counselor; regular volunteer at John Burroughs School and New City School.

Ross Conner III, Field Sales Consultant, Henry Schein Medical; active member of National Sales Network St. Louis Chapter; B.A. in Marketing from Lindenwood University, St.Charles, MO and four-year men’s basketball letterman; Conference Scholar athlete, 2003 and 2004.

Jeanne Crawford, Community Volunteer; Member of the Board of Directors, Missouri Botanical Garden; Friends Board, Great Circle (Edgewood Children’s Center); Co-President, Saint Louis University Hospital Auxiliary; North Kirkwood Middle School PTO; former member, fundraising, Junior League; Ready Readers volunteer reader and 2012 Ready Readers Volunteer of the Year.

Ryan C. Easley, Vice President – Finance/Treasurer, Ready Readers; Vice President and Fiduciary Manager for Northern Trust – St. Louis; certified trust and financial advisor; member of the City of St. Peters Parks, Arts and Recreation Advisory Board, Ronald McDonald House, Charities of St. Louis Planned Giving Committee and the Estate Planning Council of St. Louis.

Linda MacCarthy Finerty, Past President, Ready Readers; Certified Financial Planner; former bank officer; Former Board of Directors, The Magic House ; Members Board of Directors, Missouri Botanical Garden; Board of Directors, AIM High; member, St. Louis Art Museum Friends’ Board; Board of Directors, Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund; former member, Board of Directors, Moneta Foundation; former member, Board of Directors, Junior League; former member, Board of Directors, Elliot Chapel Preschool; Ready Readers volunteer reader.

Jackie Gold, Director, Centralized Hiring Operations, Teach For America;  former Regional Recruitment Director, Teach For America; former teacher; raised in St. Louis and a proud graduate of the St. Louis Public Schools; Ready Readers volunteer reader.

Phillip Hearn, Vice President – Governance, Ready Readers; Strategic Account Executive, CenturyLink; member of the Regional Business Council’s Young Professionals Network and member of their YPN Leadership; born and raised in St. Louis; currently completing a second Master’s in Healthcare Information at Saint Louis University.

Taj Jackson, Human Resource Business Partner, BJK People’s Health Centers; graduate of Morehouse College;  Master’s Degree recipient of International Commerce and Policy, George Mason University School of Public Policy; Former Board Member, CBC Black Alumni Society; Morehouse College Parent’s Association Rising Star in Education recipient, 2013.

Jayne Langsam, Concierge for Families with Young Children for the Jewish Federation of St. Louis; former Director of Operations for Developmental Child Care; former President of the Ladue School Board; former Ready Readers volunteer reader; current member of the advisory board of Nishmah.

Brian Matlock, Vice President Commercial Banking and Relationship Manger, PNC Bank.

Matthew Leppert, President, Ready Readers; Associate Attorney with Schuchat, Cook & Werner specializing in Employee Benefits; active member of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis (BAMSL) where he is a member of the Board of Governors and past Co-Chair of the Motion for Kids Committee; recipient of the President’s Outstanding Service Award from BAMSL; Ready Readers volunteer reader.

Jenny McPheeters, Community Volunteer; Independent Website Consultant; Marketing, Bowood Farms, Inc.; active volunteer and Auction Chair, New City School; Fundraising Team Leader, Delta Gamma Center for Children with Visual Impairments; former private homeschool teacher and tutor.

Helen O’Connor, President – Program Committee, Ready Readers; Community Volunteer, Board Member of The Woman’s Exchange, former early childhood teacher at Villa Duchesne/Oak Hill School and at Ladue Chapel Nursery School, and a Ready Readers volunteer reader.

Whitney Panneton, Senior Analyst at Integra Realty Resources; graduate of University of Chicago; completing master degree in Urban Planning and Policy from University of Illinois at Chicago; City of St. Louis native and resident.

Julie Ralph, Vice President – Program, Ready Readers; Community Volunteer; former teacher, Community School; extensive volunteer fundraising experience.

Marilyn Ratkin, Community volunteer, former Board member of the  National Council of Jewish Women, Shaare Emeth Congregation, American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League and the American Cancer Society; current active member of the United Way’s Youth Development Allocations Panel, The Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund, and participated in Leadership St. Louis 2008-09; retired elementary school teacher, Creative Project Manager at Maritz Inc. and Domestic Issues Director at the Jewish Community Relations Council.

Megan Nangle Riley, Vice President – Development, Ready Readers; Professional Consultant, Moneta Group; licensed attorney; member of the Missouri Bar Association and the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis.

Linda Rohde, Independent Media Consultant; former Manager of Broadcast Production, Nestlé Purina; Community Volunteer- active Board Member, The Half Fund; former Board Member and event Chair, KidSmart; former President, Keystone of St. Louis; former Diamond Ball Co-Chair, Leukemia Society; former auction committee member, Mercy Children’s Hospital; former Friends of Wings committee member, BJC Hospice; Winter Story Festival Co-Chair 2014, 2015, Ready Readers.

Brad Schlaggar M.D., Ph.D., the A. Ernest and Jane G. Stein Professor of Developmental Neurology and Professor of Neurology, Radiology, Psychiatry, Anatomy & Neurobiology, and Pediatrics, at Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri.  Dr. Schlaggar received his MD and PhD degrees from Washington University School of Medicine in 1994. He has received a number of awards, including the Wendel S. Krieg Cortical Scholars Award (1993), the Child Neurology Society Young Investigator Award (2003), the Tourette Syndrome Association Humanitarian of the Year Award (2007), the Norman Geschwind Prize in Behavioral Neurology by the American Academy of Neurology (2009), the E. Mead Johnson Award from the Society for Pediatric Research (2013), and the Frank Hatch Award for Outstanding Community Service from the John Merck Fund (2014). He has been listed annually in the “Best Doctors in America” since 2005 for Child Neurology. Dr. Schlaggar’s research efforts are directed at understanding the development of the brain’s function, with a special focus on reading, in both typical and atypical development.

Laura Villa, Attorney specializing in corporate, employment and international law.  Former Senior Vice President, Human Resources at Aegion Corporation.   Previously General Counsel and Director, Human Resources at bioMerieux, Inc.  Member, Cor Jesu Academy Advisory Board; Chairperson, Cor Jesu Center for Law and Leadership; Leadership Committee, Our Lady of the Pillar Faith in Action capital campaign; Member, United Way Women’s Leadership Committee; former Big Sister; Co-Chairperson, SLU Law MS HR Law Advisory Board; St. Louis Business Journal “Most Influential Business Women” 2014.  Graduate of St. Louis University and Notre Dame School of Law

Daniel Willingham, Tax Attorney, UHY Advisors; LL.M. in Taxation, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law; J.D., University of Missouri School of Law; B.A. in Political Science and History (with honors), University of Missouri

Lana Wright, Secretary, Ready Readers; Community Volunteer; former Marketing Manager, Business Risks International; former Marketing Coordinator, Farm Credit Banks; member, Board of Trustees, Kirkwood United Methodist Church; Chair, Family Network, John Burroughs School; former Alderman, City of Frontenac (1997-1999); former Ready Readers volunteer reader.

Pat Simons, Founder, Ready Readers;  Former Executive Director of Ready Readers (1997-2009);  Attorney in private practice- St. Louis area (1974-1998);  President, Women’s Bar Association of Greater St. Louis (1989-1990);  Adjunct Professor, SLU & Wash U Law Schools;  author of State & City legal journals (1974-1988), poetry for children and adults (1960-ongoing), and the historical novel, Brothers on the Run (2013); St. Louis Jewish Light  “Unsung Hero of the Year” (2012); Ready Readers volunteer reader.



Erica Bailey

Karen Berger

James Bogart

Harvey Citerman

Ann Grove Dillon

Linda Finerty

Audrey Fleissig

Susan Goldberg

Nahid Hashemi

Jennifer Howard

Sandy Jaffe

Carol Kaplan-Lyss

Paul Lints

Lisa McLaughlin

Suzie Nall

Mary Riew

Sally Schoenecker

Pat Simons

Lynn Yearwood