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Read to Lead

"“Brings a clear level of expertise and joy to the work….""

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Read to Lead is a free and proven blended learning solution for students in grades 5 through 9 across the U.S. Based in New York City, Read to Lead enables teachers to spend more time teaching and less time planning. A library of online learning games, lessons and projects support CASEL’s Social-Emotional Framework and align to reading comprehension standards. These activities allow students to build literacy and social-emotional competencies within the context of an immersive “day at work” that helps them to connect the dots between school and their future. The result is a corps of 124,000 confident student readers who are prepared to succeed in 21st Century careers.

Nine months after Christina Oliver was promoted to Executive Director, her world “imploded,” as she recalls, when the COVID pandemic struck. YPTC had already been assisting the organization and Oliver, who had been the VP and Chief Program Officer, was quite familiar with YPTC Associate Kate Urmeneta who was providing a financial framework that supported the organization’s strategy. A former educator, Oliver freely admits that accounting isn’t her strongest point and she appreciates YPTC’s services even more today.

“My job is to create the vision, lead the team and help Read to Lead deliver scale and impact for teachers and students. I can’t be successful without someone like Kate who can help me operationalize that vision,” Oliver says. “Kate has the essential ability to translate finance in a way that makes sense. She’s helped educate me as an Executive Director and expanded my own skill set. She’s not just a partner but also an instructor. She crafted new ways to look at the budget which helps the Finance Committee and the Board of Directors to better understand how and why we are allocating resources to achieve our goals. She’s really, really valuable – and she brings a clear level of expertise and joy to the work, which is especially important in these challenging times.”

When the pandemic struck, Read to Lead – like so many organizations – was faced with extreme uncertainty and forced to pivot to a remote format. “Having a partner like YPTC has been particularly important in leading an organization during these last couple of years under COVID and having to go through the rollercoaster of uncertainty,” she says. “In the early months of the pandemic we implemented cost management measures like freezing and cutting salaries, but YPTC helped us maintain our talented team. YPTC helped us peel back every layer of our budget so we could continue to thrive and meet the needs of teachers and students nationwide.”

YPTC helped Oliver to reallocate investment and accelerate innovation during the pandemic. “When many organizations were slowing down, we did not skip a beat. Kate gave me options as we had a lot of unknowns in front of us,” she recalls. “She helped us pivot and quickly develop new tools to operate remotely which became even more effective. She developed new processes that would keep our team safe and be more efficient during these difficult months. This accelerated our progress as an organization, and it’s been awesome!”

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