Meet the Team
“If you are going to get anywhere in life you have to read a lot of
books.” – Roald Dahl
CEO, Co-Founder, & Board President
Leib and his wife, Barb, wanted to address the sad fact that just 34% of fourth graders are proficient readers, and in poor, black, and brown communities that number is less than 29%. Creating a nationwide, scalable, affordable, evidence-based, program that can serve every family in America was their goal in creating Kids Read Now.
Leib’s literacy roots run deep as his mother started a preschool neighborhood program in 1958 that grew to become a proven program used as the basis for Head Start. Leib is a serial entrepreneur. His prior firm, One Call Now, served 7,000 schools and districts, as well as tens of thousands of community and youth organizations, and Kids Read Now was built on the foundations of outreach to parents.
Co-Founder & Board Member
Barb began her post-secondary education as a classical piano major. After completing her Bachelor’s in Music, she completed her Master’s in Piano Pedagogy and Music Theory. Then she returned to college again and was certified as a classroom teacher, 1-8. Earning endorsements for Teaching Gifted Children K-12 and Teaching Reading K-12, she taught for many years in a variety of settings including classroom (predominately reading/social studies), reading pull-out, and gifted pull-out.
After “retiring” from teaching, she became the third Executive Director of Kids Read Now. She leads the Kids Read Now Book Selection Council and uses her years of teaching experience to ensure children will have the best books to read over the summer. Barb also uses schematic theory to develop each book’s Discovery Sheet for maximum kid and parent engagement.
In her spare time, she loves creating stained glass art, quilting, gardening, knitting, reading, and playing the piano. She enjoys spending time and travelling with her family.
Chief Operating Officer
Over the course of his career, Randy has more than 30 years of experience in management, training, project management, strategic planning, and operations. This includes 5 years with AT&T, managing a large midwestern call center, and a start up computer cabling business.
Kids Read Now is a company whose mission and values align with Randy’s own, making this a perfect fit for him at this time in his career. He joined the organization on October 8, 2018 as the Director of Client Success. Later, in September of 2021, he took on the role of Chief Operating Officer. His goal is to continue scaling the company, enrolling more schools in the program and getting more books in the hands of children.
Randy received an MBA in 2011 from Urbana University. Over the last 10 years he has taught business courses at a local university. He and his wife Jackie have lived in Vandalia and Butler Township, Ohio for more than 35 years.
Christina has 20+ years of graphic design and marketing communications experience with multiple Inc. 500/5000 companies, building brands from the ground up.
After receiving her Bachelors and MBA degrees, she intentionally chose a career path focused on organizations that make the world a better place. She finds spreading the word about improving literacy for America’s children with Kids Read Now’s proven programs incredibly rewarding.
In her free time, Christina loves to paint, read, take road trips, play with her pups, Parker & Boo, and brag on her Marine son. Christina also teaches marketing and design part time at a local community college and volunteers extensively in her community.
Partnership Development Manager
Josh is weird, but the cool kind of weird that matches his family. He has a loving wife of 5 years (Bonnie Lurie), and they have 3 beautiful daughters. Josh enjoys growing his coin collection, has a love of the theatre (where he met his wife), and enjoys working with wood.
He is a skilled carpenter who builds things like SASS carts for cowboys, custom furniture, and a 35’ long pirate ship playhouse for his daughters.
Partnership Development Coordinator
As a Client Success Account manager, Lauren wants to make sure every kid we send books feels that sense of personal connection and excitement with reading and our program by making sure everything runs smoothly.
She wants every student that takes part in our program to be able to experience the extensive knowledge, creativity, and fun that books offer.
Sr. Director of Outreach
Glen’s story starts in the woods as a camper. He continued to camp counselor, education major, Bachelor of Arts in Education, teacher, Camp Director, Master’s degree in Education Leadership, more Camp Director, more teaching, and finally literacy enthusiast as National Outreach Director with Kids Read Now. Glen has dedicated the last 40 years to serving kids, in the great outdoors and in classrooms.
Seeing the disparity from one group of people to another during that time reinforced his drive to even the playing field and amplified his dedication to the mission of Kids Read Now. Glen’s story began sharing nature with kids, where all are on equal footing. He believes that literacy is the means for making that happen outside of the woods.
In his spare time, he enjoys wildlife photography and playing music with his band.
National Outreach Director
Mike was born and raised in the southwest side of Chicago but has migrated south to have more quality time with children and grandchildren. This migration included an eastward journey to Ohio for 18 years and then down to Kentucky and finally Florida. His father worked at Rand McNally so as a child he had a personal library that consisted of three sets of encyclopedias, Lincoln Library of Essential Information, and about 500 books.
He has been married for 38 years with three children and ten grandchildren. Mike is a Marine veteran and worked in the police field for seven years, five years as Military Police. He spent 30 years in the office automation field with 14 years in personal sales and 16 years in leadership roles. His favorite pastime is playing disc golf, which he describes as a nice walk ruined by colorful discs.
Mike has been with Kids Read Now since 2019 and strives to bring reading help to the kids that need to most assistance.
Casey has been with Kids Read Now since we were a room within another company housing books in a loft warehouse, and she thinks it’s been exhilarating to be part of the incredible growth that KRN has achieved. Never before has she felt like a part of the solution, working closely with a group of people who are truly passionate about moving the K-5 literacy needle.
As an Outreach Specialist, Casey acts almost as a mortar between departments, adding research, communicating needs and ideas, and assisting wherever there is a lose end to tie up! She thinks the best part about working at Kids Read Now is knowing that she is helping make a difference in the lives of families.
A fun fact about Casey is she knows a very little bit about a very large amount of “things” and loves to pepper her friends with random knowledge. She has a great love for nature and ecosystems and strives to learn as much as possible about my environment.
Client Success Account Manager
One of Sheila’s best childhood memories is going to the library at the end of the school year and signing up for their summer reading program. She would read as many books as possible in order to receive a stamp or a sticker on her reading chart. Knowing that she was one of the top readers every summer at our local library was a great accomplishment!
As a Client Success Account Manager, she loves working with our existing accounts in continuing to provide their students with access to books over the summer. Reading played a large part in her own childhood and having the opportunity to help other children read is a true joy for Sheila.
Client Success Account Manager
Chante is a mother to one 22-year-old son and a grandmother to one 2-year-old girl and a keen traveller, shopper, and volunteer. Chante has a strong background in sales and has always been passionate about community service.
She served in the American Red Cross, AmeriCorps, and AmeriCorps VISTA programs where she found a lifelong passion for helping others.
Client Success Account Manager
Marissa is a mother of 3 and has been a Musical Theater Teacher in South Florida for the past 15 years. With her passion for education, she is dedicated to providing excellence to Kids Read Now families and their young readers.
Zoho Implementation Specialist
Jackie specializes in building the framework and providing training to key staff for Zoho modules and applications. She’s always coming up with creative ways to improve KRN’s existing Zoho processes and applications. She works closely with the Fulfillment Center team to ensure the inventory system has accurate inventory data.
She also works with the HR and Management staff to setup and maintain staffing requirements in Zoho People & Shifts. Jackie evaluates current data across different systems and generate reports to help managers and staff work more efficiently.
Outside of work, Jackie is a very active person and likes to keep busy. She enjoys pickleball, disc golf, hiking, biking, and spending time with family.
Fulfillment Center Manager
Jim is an extrovert who loves spending time with his family and friends. When he’s not hanging out with his crew, you might find him watching sports or doing a woodworking project. Jim is a proud father to two sons. His oldest is on his way to college and his youngest will be a junior and playing soccer in high school.
Jim has been with Kids Read Now since 2019. He has a professional background in Inventory/Personnel Management. Being someone that struggled with reading and comprehension growing up, he understands the importance of improving children’s reading comprehension every day.
Working for an organization that is helping improve kids’ ability to sit and enjoy a book and make themselves better, that is something that makes him want go to work.
Purchasing and Inventory Control Manager
Bonnie works to select and procure all the books that get shipped to our students. She then helps ensure the delivery and shipment of books to the hands of students.
Bonnie has a bachelor’s in theater from New Mexico State where she studied many aspects of theater, including script and story analysis. She has been working with children in some aspect for over 10 years. Bonnie is a Disney Goofy aficionado and fanatic.
Director of Human Resources
Joy’s child’s reading challenge early in life along with her life-long love of books prompted her to volunteer as a reading partner during the first summer reading camp hosted by KRN. Students began the summer recognizing only a handful of words but quickly became fluent readers.
A new generation of literacy lovers was born! From this camp, the current data-driven, in-home summer reading program was developed by Barbara and Leib Lurie and is growing nationwide today. Joy is honored to bring her years of experience in business/human capital management to the organization to direct all aspects of HR operations and contribute to its strategic direction.
An Associate Principal with MLA, Alicia leads our Accounting Support Team as the Controller for Kids Read Now. Specializing in helping startups establish a financial grounding, Alicia’s experience positions her to provide management, payroll, budgeting, forecasting, and staff development for MLA clients.
Alicia joined the MLA team in 2016, providing clients with transactional accounting and analysis, and working capital management. While she has done accounting work in several industries, including construction, music education, retail, and service, she has also managed customer relations, accounting, budgeting, and forecasting functions.
A Special Thanks to our Board of Directors
Dr. Paul von Hippel
Dr. Paul Von Hippel
Paul is an associate professor of public policy, sociology, statistics and data science at the University of Texas in Austin, known for his work on summer learning, summer weight gain, research design, replicability of research, and missing data.
He works on evidence-based policy, education and inequality, and the obesity epidemic. He has won three best article awards for his work on education and obesity, as well as the 2019 Leo Goodman Award for contributions to statistical methods within 15 years of receiving a PhD.
Dr. Glen Keifer
Dr. Glen Keifer
NY Native with decades of K-12 school administration experience and as retired superintendent for Troy City Schools, Glenn understands the complex relationships between staff, teachers, parents, students, and the community. He has his doctorate from The Ohio State University and has been an adjunct professor at OSU.
He and his wife Becky live in Cincinnati and Florida, but still bleeds Scarlet and Grey.
Josh is owner of Walsh LLC, a business consultancy focused on digital marketing technology and software development. Prior to teaming up with Kids Read Now, Josh was Editor-in-Chief at Jazz-Library, an educational publication in the music industry focused on developing performance techniques for jazz improvisation.
As KRN’s Independent Strategic Advisor, Josh is a trusted strategic counselor to our marketing executives. Building upon his experience as CEO of The Refinery, Josh provides expertise in digital marketing and vendor selection.
After graduating from Miami University in 2006, Jonathan spent several years in Chicago working in the commodities markets before moving back to Cincinnati, OH.
During his 10 years at Ft. Washington Investment Advisors, Inc., Jonathan led large teams and projects associated with the rapid growth, acquisitions, regulatory changes, and complex transactional activity.
When he left, Ft. Washington was managing over $47 billion across equity, private equity and fixed income strategies and leveraging many of the tools, teams and strategies Jonathan developed.
As SVP for Digital Marketplace Development, Amanda provides strategic business development, including e-book channel development, scaled marketing programs, ecommerce, partnerships, marketing platforms, analytics, tools, and training.
A graduate of Harvard University and the Stern School of Business, Amanda has also held positions of responsibility for Crown Publishing Group, Bertelsmann, Solomon Smith Barney, and Zefer/ Waite & Company.
An experienced Vice President of Sales in the technology and construction spaces, Todd brings to the KRN Board his analytical skills, coaching expertise, as well as his vast experiences in government, event management, and team building.
He is a strong sales professional with a Bachelor of Science (BS) focused in COM, MGT from University of Dayton. Passionate about literacy, Todd is motivated by facts: 75% of disadvantaged children are not proficient in reading when they start fourth grade, and most will never catch up. In fact, the summer reading slide is responsible for 65% of the learning gap between rich and poor.
Dr. Kamshia Childs
Dr. Childs is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Texas A&M University-Commerce near the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex where she teaches literacy courses to pre-service teachers and completes site visits into schools. She obtained an Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at Texas Southern University and also holds a B.S. in Elementary Education (ESL), and M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction (Reading and Language Arts) from Kansas State University.
Dr. Childs has been a literacy educator for over 20 years in public education, and has worked in urban and rural settings in K-12 and higher education, and recently was awarded the Dr. Chuck Arize Junior Faculty Award from the Texas A & M University-Commerce Faculty Senate and Texas Association of Black Personnel in Higher Education.
Dr. Childs has published numerous literacy and multicultural education articles in peer-reviewed literacy journals, written a self-published book, contributed to book chapters, a National Writing Project site Co-Founder, and she presents at various state, national, and international conferences on topics related to literacy, educator empowerment, parent involvement, and culturally relevant pedagogy.
Dr. Childs brings a wealth of literacy education experiences, and she has also worked with students and parents in diverse classroom settings and varying demographics–many of her students in the K-12 setting (and higher education) have been English Language Learners. Her touch in making instruction engaging, relevant, and meaningful is expertise that is needed to move the field of education past the challenges of the past few years of the pandemic. Dr. Childs is always posing ways to enhance the literacy learning experience by producing “outside the box” literacy research (such as the connection between social media and popular culture to traditional literacy literacy skills). Dr. Childs’ years of knowledge gained in schools as a paraprofessional, tutor, teacher, and now professor has made her a sought after expert in her field. She is poised to help tackle reading slumps and literacy disengagement in the future by mentoring new teachers, and continuing to explore best practices in forming partnerships with parents/guardians within underserved communities.
Dr. Childs loves to travel. Her furthest travel journey took her to Bora Bora!
Dr. Chandra Youngblood
Dr. Youngblood is currently the Director of Elementary Education for the Battle Creek Public Schools, where she oversees and supervises principals of seven elementary
schools, grades Pk-5th. Her 32-year career in three school districts has included positions as a teacher, Title I Director, Assistant Principal, and Elementary Principal.
She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Jackson State University in Jackson, MS, a Master’s degree from the University of California, Riverside, and has
completed her doctorate degree in Education from Walden University. Her dissertation, Kindergarten Literacy Readiness Before and After HighScope Implementation was a study of the GSRP students in her district from 2011-2014.
Her development of the Kindergarten Success Program has resulted in lasting effects on readiness skills for students. She is passionate about starting young learners on a trajectory of success through early literacy and has worked to increase kindergarten readiness in her district by 35% in the last decade.
Her professional interests are educational trends, literacy research, and teacher professional development. In her spare time, she is a paper crafter and participates in craft fairs during the holiday season.