Caroline O’Neal has more than 20 years of experience in educational leadership. She negotiates school contracts and is responsible for all aspects of Reading Assist’s organizational strategy and the implementation of the Reading Assist Intervention Program. Before joining Reading Assist, Caroline helped Uncommon Schools – one of the most successful charter school networks in the country – open its first middle school in Camden, New Jersey, as Camden Prep’s director of operations. Prior to her work with Uncommon Schools, Caroline spent 15 years in international education. She started in the classroom on a Fulbright teaching assistantship in Austria then spent 10 years working with EC English Language Centers, an international group of 25 English language schools across five countries. As part of EC’s executive team, she led the product development group, responsible for the group’s portfolio of digital and face-to-face programs for over 140,000 students annually. Her non-profit work includes serving as vice president of outreach and then president of EnglishUSA, the American Association of Intensive English programs, and as a board member on the Pennsylvania Branch of the International Dyslexia Association.
Deborah DeGrosky, Reading Assist’s director of instruction, has more than 30 years of experience in teaching reading. In addition to her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and her master’s in reading, Deb holds multiple certifications, including Certified Acadience® Mentor, CERI Structured Literacy Dyslexia Interventionist, New Jersey certified reading specialist, and LETRS Local Certified Trainer. Deb has logged over 600 hours teaching students with severe reading challenges. At Reading Assist, Deb oversees the coaches who support the Reading Assist Fellows as they deliver the intervention, as well as the instructors who design and lead training. Deb monitors all aspects of student learning data analysis.
Leigh Fairley, Reading Assist’s director of operations, is responsible for day-to-day operations and the AmeriCorps member experience. Leigh graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in political science and sociology and has extensive experience working in public service and education. Following graduation, Leigh served as the STEM Education Coordinator for Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. After working for Morehead Planetarium, Leigh first moved to Liberia to serve as an education volunteer with the U.S. Peace Corps, then moved to Botswana, where she served as a health educator for two years. She expanded her public education experience by working at a high-needs middle school in Camden, New Jersey, as part of the administration and compliance team. Leigh oversees all AmeriCorps compliance including background checks, references, service hours, and serves as Reading Assist’s partner school liaison.
Judith Graham KaneManager of Outreach and Communications
Judith Graham Kane, Manager of Outreach and Communications
Judith Graham Kane, Reading Assist’s Manager of Outreach and Communications, has more than 20 years of communications and marketing experience across sectors including government, education, nonprofit, and financial services. Judith is a graduate of Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. After starting her career in journalism, she led the NYC Emergency Management communications office for more than a decade, where she was instrumental in introducing several public education campaigns. Since moving to Wilmington in 2014, she’s done communications and marketing work for organizations including Wilmington Montessori School, BlackRock, Inc., and the Rockefeller Foundation. Judith oversees communications, marketing, and recruitment for Reading Assist.
Jerisha Parker Gordon joined Reading Assist in 2019. As the director of development, Jerisha is responsible for securing philanthropic support from corporations and foundations. She also directs the annual giving program and manages donor relations campaigns for the friends and donors of Reading Assist. Before joining Reading Assist, Jerisha worked in Philadelphia for Elsevier, a global scientific and medical publisher, as an editorial assistant. She later supported advancement communications and donor relations efforts for The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Foundation, The Franklin Institute, and Ursuline Academy. Jerisha is an accomplished writer and holds degrees from the University of Delaware and Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Lauren DeGrosky is a Delaware native. She graduated from Ursuline Academy and obtained a bachelor’s degree in information technology from Curry College, graduating magna cum laude with distinction in the honors scholars program. In 2012, Lauren earned a master’s degree in science in information systems technologies from Wilmington University. She began working at Reading Assist in 2013. As the administrative coordinator, Lauren manages and coordinates documentation for the AmeriCorps and Reading Assist Fellows program.
Virginia (Ginger) Lanier Biasotto is a native of Delaware and a graduate of the University of Delaware (1959). She is the founder of Reading Assist Institute and has authored ten Reading Assist textbooks as well as the autobiographical book, Educating Andrew, A Promise Fulfilled. In 1994, Ginger was the first recipient of The Janet L. Hoopes Award from the Philadelphia Branch of the International Dyslexia Association. In 2005, she received Delaware’s Jefferson Award for her contribution to the community. She and her husband, Lawrence, are semi-retired and spend half of each year in Wilmington, Delaware, close to children, grandchildren and his mother, and the other half in Palm City, Florida, where she enjoys the luxury of time to paint.
Pamela J. Scott has extensive experience with nonprofit organizations, having served on the boards of several nonprofit organizations over the last 15 years, including two terms as board president of Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County. Pam is currently an assistant general counsel for Pepco Holdings, Inc., serving in the role of regulatory counsel for Delmarva Power & Light Company and Atlantic City Electric Company. Prior to that, she was a partner with the law firm of Saul Ewing, LLP representing clients in commercial transactions and complex land use matters. Pam is a native Delawarean and a graduate of the University of Delaware and Widener University School of Law.
Israel Mercado is the Reading Assist board treasurer. He has been a member of the board since 2007 and has helped guide the organization on financial matters. A CPA, Israel works for the Santora CPA Group as an auditor. Israel is a graduate of the University of Delaware and has been involved with and volunteered time for various professional organizations and Delaware charities.
Kae Keister served for 33 years in public education as a preschool and middle-level math teacher in the Smyrna School District and the Cape Henlopen School District, as well as an elementary and middle level administrator in the Milford School District. As an educator, she attended Virginia Biasotto’s Reading Assist course in Georgetown at the Owens Del Tech Campus, and later worked with Reading Assist staff to gather empirical evidence for the effectiveness of the Reading Assist program. She is now an Associate Professor at Wilmington University in the College of Education, where she teaches in the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs, and is a board member for Schools That Lead. She graduated from Pfeiffer College, Salisbury State University and Nova University, and is a native Delawarean.
Darren is one of the co-founders of CompassRed, a data analytics company with offices in Wilmington and Philadelphia. He is on a mission to grow their world class analytics team. In late 2020 he helped launch the Delaware Data Innovation Lab, a 501(c)(6) organization. His efforts included hiring a team of 22 professionals and directing their work on COVID-19 related problems.
Prior to CompassRed, Darren led the bank marketing operations team at Capital One, and the digital marketing team at ING DIRECT. He is married and has two children. His parents, both teachers, raised him and his brother in the suburbs north of New York City. Darren completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Virginia in 1997, and received an M.B.A. from the University of Delaware. In his down time, Darren enjoys coaching youth lacrosse, which he has done for the past 8 years with The Wilmington Wings, Greene Turtle Lacrosse Club, and 302 Lacrosse. He joined the Reading Assist board in 2013.
Darryl Scott was elected to the Delaware General Assembly in 2008 and served three terms as State Representative for District 31. During his tenure in the Legislature, he was an advocate for public education and access to higher education for Delaware students. One of his most significant legislative accomplishments was the creation of the Inspire Scholarship program which provides Delaware students tuition assistance for up to six semesters to attend Delaware State University. Since its creation, more than 1,000 Delaware high school graduations have received Inspire Scholarships. Beginning in 2012, Darryl was named to represent Delaware as a board member for the Southern Regional Education Board. In 2014, he joined the Rodel Foundation Advisory Council, and in 2016 the Delaware Campaign for Achievement Now (DelawareCAN) advisory board. Darryl has degrees in economics and marketing from Eastern Kentucky University. Darryl and his wife Carol live in Dover and have two sons.
Reading Assist is a US tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization (Tax ID Number: 51-0317415). Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.
Reading Assist continues to adjust its response to COVID-19 based on guidance from local health officials, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and partner schools.
As our staff is working remotely until further notice, please direct all inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org for the fastest response.
In response to continuing school closures due to the pandemic, we have adapted our program so we can provide remote one-on-one intervention to students and training to educators.
At Reading Assist, we believe diversity of thought and ideas makes our work stronger. To achieve this, we must draw from a wide range of perspectives. Reading Assist aims to ensure the children we serve see themselves reflected in those who teach them. We serve a diverse population, and are committed to ensuring our organization reflects and celebrates diversity of culture and thought. We strive to include people in our organization from all backgrounds, inclusive of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, and national origin.