Our staff

Come Read with Me Staff:

  • Must genuinely enjoy adults with developmental disabilities
  • Must honestly believe our students have the capacity and desire to learn

Lead Teacher requirements:

  • Must be kind
  • Must have a college degree
  • Must have teaching experience

Staff Members

Staff varies as teachers’ schedules allow and students’ needs arise.

Gillian Edwards

  • Responsibilities: Executive and Lead teacher
  • Courses taught: Reading, Computers
  • Education: BS (Honors) Chemistry, Management City and Guilds Teaching
  • Occupational Background: Training Manager for Residential Disability Care Home in London, England; Basic Skills Teacher for a college in London working with young adults
  • Other interests: I love traveling with my husband and two boys. I have a tiny chihuahua called “Princess Nri Bri”. Originally I came from London England but I love it here in Texas!

Marilyn Carter

  • Responsibilities: Office management
  • Courses Taught: Health Education, Gardening
  • Education: Leonard Business School, El Centro College
  • Occupational Background: Professional background in management
  • Other Interests: Decorating, gardening, fishing

Cindy Harvey

  • Responsibilities: Advisor to the Director; Office Support
  • Occupational Background: Medical offices
  • Other interests: art

Mary Jones

  • Responsibilities: Reading tutoring and assessments, Math, Library
  • Course(s) taught: Reading, Math
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree – SWOSU Weatherford, Okla., M. Ed – UNT – Denton, Texas, Endorsement for the Barton Reading Program, Certified in Preschool through 12th grade
  • Occupational Background: Teacher for twenty-five years in public school, Teacher in private schools also for several years
  • Other interests: Family and Grandchildren, Reading, Crafts, Unique Learning Materials, Sewing, Making jewelry & wooden puzzles

Rod Green

  • Responsibilities: Educational Diagnostician and Lead Teacher
  • Courses taught: Math, Science, Social Skills
  • Education:
    • Bachelor of Science, Psychology & Social Work, Texas Christian University
    • Master of Business Administration, Management Information Systems & Marketing, Texas Christian University
    • Master of Education, Special Education & Educational Diagnostics, University of North Texas
    • Principal Certification, University of Texas at Arlington
  • Texas Educator Certifications:
    • Principal (All Grades)
    • Educational Diagnostician (All Grades)
    • Special Education (All Grades)
    • English as a Second Language (All Grades)
    • Elementary (Grades Pre-K – 6)
    • Secondary Science (Grades 6 – 12)
    • Secondary Mathematics (Grades 6 – 12)
  • Occupational Background:
    • Special Education Teacher & Educational Diagnostician – 21 years
    • US Navy Chief Hospital Corpsman – 24 years
    • Healthcare Administrator – 14 years
  • Other interests: Travel, Cinema, Music, Collegiate sports (TCU and N*) and proud parent of a black & tan Dachshund and a Midshipman at the United States Naval Academy

Joan Pruit

  • Responsibilities: Lead Teacher; Guidance to director
  • Course(s) taught: Reading; Math
  • Education: East Carolina University: Politics major; Graduate School at University of Dallas, Political Philosophy and Literature
  • Occupational Background: Advocate
  • Active volunteer at schools of my teens Cistercian Preparatory School and Ursuline Academy
  • Member of Stewardship Committee at St. Francis
  • Catechist for RCIA and CCD program at same church
  • Ministries–Marriage preparation, Adoration, Holy Communion to nursing home residents, Gabriel’s Angel for expectant mothers
  • Other interests: Born in Asheville, North Carolina. I have 7 children, ages 30-14 yrs. Member of St. Francis Catholic Church, Grapevine. Culture studies, history of ideas, religion, art, politics, theology, special needs of persons with disabilities, culture of life issues–abortion and medical research using moral means. Scripture study, and, of course, READING, POETRY AND WRITING

Linda Quinn

  • Responsibilities: Lead Teacher; Come Read with Me Advisory Board
  • Course(s) taught: Drama and dance
  • Education: Texas Women’s University: BA Drama/English; Ph.D. Dance/Humanities
  • Occupational Background: teaching drama, dance, creative writing

Barbara Svoboda 

  • Responsibilities: Various accounting duties
  • Education: BSBA Accounting Major/ Drake University/ Des Moines, Iowa; CPA (inactive at this time)
  • Occupational Background: KPMG Public Accounting firm from 1980 – 1995; Senior Manager/Auditing
  • Other interests: Church, family, pets, music and watching a variety of sports

Martha Kate Downey

  • Responsibilities: Founder and Board Member
  • Education: Bachelor Degree in Social Work Texas Tech University 1973
  • Occupational Background: Author, speaker, educator but mainly just Mom (including some fairly boring information for those needing background material)
  • Caseworker for Tarrant County Child Protective Services (State of Texas)
  • Easter Bunny…don’t ask!
  • Homeschooler 24 years
  • Instructor of life skills and decision-making skills in Texas high schools, Temple Junior College, Temple, Texas
  • Instructor for creative writing course for Texas homeschooling students via classroom and internet sites
  • Developer and co-instructor for Grapevine-Colleyville ISD Texas summer program for maintaining math and reading skills through the summer (Just for Fun classes)
  • Reading tutor for struggling learners since age 12. Volunteering in schools, churches and with clients of MHMR (Mental Health Mental Retardation – State of Texas)
  • Owner of stained glass studio “Glass by MK” 14 years – did lots of front doors and church windows
  • Author and illustrator of:
    • If you’ve ever wanted to crawl in the closet with an OREO…(first and second editions) copyright 2000, 2003
    • TAP DANCING in the night copyright 2001
    • The People in a Girl’s Life copyright 2002
    • What Do I Do About Hitting?! copyright 2003
    • Travelling Grace as I meander with God copyright 2004
  • Public speaker, educator for and about autism and the more general special needs population around the United States and the UK
  • Member of and past moderator for DANISH (Dallas Asperger Network for Information, Support and Help)
  • Advisory Board Member – North Texas SNAP, Inc. (Special Needs Assistance Partners)
  • Board Member – DIAL (Developing Independent Adult Living) in Tarrant County
  • Founder of Steps to Support for All – an association working to promote funding and programs for those who are aging or have special needs in the state of Texas
  • Member of the Family Support Council of Tarrant County MHMR
  • Founder and Executive Director of the Come Read with Me program
  • Other interests: Music, art Most important interest: Grandmothering!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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