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Staff & Board

Staff

Reach Out and Read Minnesota's staff and board members are strongly committed to promoting early literacy across Minnesota. 

Reach out to us if you'd like to learn more. 


  • Kris became the Executive Director in April 2018, after serving as Reach Out and Read Minnesota's Program Director and with fifteen years of experience in the nonprofit sector. She has a bachelor’s degree from St. Olaf College and a master’s degree from The University of Chicago, as well as a certificate in nonprofit management. Having two young daughters has reignited Kris’ passion for books and she is thrilled to work with our board, partners, and donors to promote early childhood literacy.

  • Dr. Chawla is a pediatrician and hospitalist currently serving as Chief of General Pediatrics at Children's Minnesota. Dr. Chawla has been involved with Reach Out and Read Minnesota throughout her 18 year tenure at Children's and became the program's Medical Director in spring of 2020. Dr. Chawla has worked extensively to engage the public on issues of children's health and to integrate behavioral and developmental health into pediatric care. She is regularly called upon by the media to share her expertise, including regular appearances on WCCO and a column for Minnesota Parent magazine. Her clinical areas of interest are the outpatient and inpatient care of complex special needs patients, premature infants, and ventilator dependent children.

  • Janice is a licensed teacher and has spent her professional career serving and working on behalf of children and families. Her work began teaching kindergarteners in Minneapolis and then continued on at nonprofits. With nonprofits, she dedicated herself to developing, implementing, and managing various programs for targeted populations of youth and their families. At the core, Janice's work has focused on strengthening the entire family by providing skills and resources families need to thrive and succeed intellectually, physically, and emotionally. Janice shares her love of literacy with her family and has instilled this ideal in her daughter, Lyuda, by singing, music, games, and reading. Lyuda now loves to read and is reading in French and Ukrainian! Janice is grateful to be a part of an organization that provides the ability to impact young children’s health and development for a lifetime of literacy and learning.

  • Liam is a writer and educator who believes in the power of language to transform the world for good. He earned his Bachelor's degree in English at DePaul University in Chicago in 2015. Prior to joining Reach Out and Read Minnesota, Liam lived in Santiago, Chile, where he worked for the education centered social enterprise Beyond English, teaching English in vulnerable populations, leading creativity workshops for children, and developing original educational curriculum and materials. He has also worked as a freelance editor and translator for several academic and educational publications. Some of his fondest childhood memories are of his father reading books to him in exaggerated Bert and Ernie voices. Liam joined the Reach Out and Read Minnesota team in 2019, and he is thrilled to be back in his home state of Minnesota to help bring the brain-building, transformative power of books to young children and their families.

  • Eleanor graduated with a degree in Music Education from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa and began her career as an Elementary music teacher with the Osseo Area Schools-District 279. Eleanor continued her work in music education as the Youth Engagement and Education Manager at The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra for the past 9 years where she led and produced children and family programming and coordinated school and community partnerships. Eleanor is an enthusiastic advocate for children and families and is excited for the opportunity to connect with her Twin Cities community in building a love for reading within young families and promoting the power of literacy. Eleanor loves finding new books to enjoy with her family and two young daughters and sharing in the joy of reading together. She is thrilled to join the team!

  • Faisa is from the Twin Cities and a large Somali family. She graduated with her bachelor's from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities where she also served as a student leader, mentor and volunteer tutor for a non-profit. At the U of M, she served on a board that started a mentorship program for minority pre-medical students. Faisa has had a passion for reading since she learned how and has passed that passion on to her younger siblings. She has an interest in medicine, public health, and health equity. She looks forward to working with Reach Out and Read Minnesota to promote literacy in families.

  • Cate has spent 35 years as an educator in Wisconsin, Minnesota, New Zealand and Kyrgyzstan. She served as Director for Gifted Education on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation in Cass Lake, a STEM Outreach Director at Leech Lake Tribal College, and served on many boards for arts and science non-profits over the years. She is co-founder of the Bemidji Sculpture Walk with her artist husband, the founder of Mask and Rose Women’s Theater and Belle Thalia Creative Arts Space. She served as a travel writer for “Northwoods Woman” for three years, and is compiling her essays into a photo essay book after kayaking all 294 lakes of her beloved Beltrami county. She believes in the power of early literacy and looks forward to working with Reach Out and Read Minnesota to open up the magic of books with families and our littlest citizens.

  • In addition to her role with Reach Out and Read Minnesota, Danette Kubit works at Hawthorne Education Center as an ESL and GED instructor in Rochester, MN. Danette obtained her Master’s in TESOL from Winona State University and has been working with English as a second language learners since 2014. Danette is passionate about improving literacy services for English second language learners in her community. She understands the importance of daily reading with children in order to improve their cognitive and communication skills. She also sees reading together as reinforcing meaningful connections with parents and children, particularly multilingual families where parents are also learning English. She sees the Reach Out and Read program as an opportunity to integrate family connections alongside promoting literacy skills within the whole family unit.

    In her free time, Danette loves all things related to plants and reconnecting with nature. Danette is active in a local community garden project that connects food insecure families to locally grown, organic produce weekly.

Our Impact

Our 2022/23 Executive Partner

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