National Board of Directors

Who’s behind our leadership and governance.

DeWittThomas G. DeWitt, M.D., F.A.A.P.- Chair

Professor and Associate Chair for Education,
Department of Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

Thomas G. DeWitt, M.D., FAAP, is the Carl Weihl Professor of Pediatrics, Director of the Division of General and Community Pediatrics and Associate Chair for Education, in the Department of Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.  He has served as President of the Academic Pediatric Association and Chair of both the American Academy of Pediatrics Steering Committee of the Pediatric Research in Office Settings (PROS) network and Committee on Pediatric Education. Dr. DeWitt has served as a member of the United States Preventative Services Task Force and the ACGME Transition Year and Pediatric Residencies Review Committees. He has pursued innovative and effective approaches to graduate education, including an innovative online Masters in Medical Education program.  With over ninety-five peer reviewed publications and senior editor of two general pediatric textbooks, he is nationally and internationally known for his publications and presentations in the areas of faculty development and community-based education and research. 



Claudia Aristy, B.A.
Director, Reach Out and Read and the H.E.L.P. Project
Children of Bellevue, 
New York, NY

Claudia Aristy has been Director of Children of Bellevue's Reach Out and Read Program and The HELP Project since 2013. Her career at Bellevue Hospital began in 2000 as a bilingual Parent Educator in both programs.  Aristy was instrumental in developing all aspects of HELP including its Instructional DVD's.  She was also responsible for training bilingual HELP volunteers and for translating and field-testing Spanish language materials for HELP and for the HELPix low literacy medication sheets. 

Currently, Aristy oversees both programs--from administration to staff and volunteer training.  Her passion for her work inspires staff and volunteers as well as the many professionals and media representatives who visit the programs. She serves on the Advisory Board of Leyendo Juntos-a National Reach Out and Read initiative, as well as on the Advisory Board of Reach Out and Read of Greater NY. In 2018, Aristy was awarded the prestigious Joan H. Tisch Prize from Hunter College. Aristy has a Bachelor's of Arts Degree from Hunter College.   


GrayCurtis L. Gray, M.B.A.
Senior Vice President, Human Resources & Administration
BAE Systems, Inc.,
Arlington, VA

Curt Gray is Senior Vice President, Human Resources & Administration for BAE Systems, Inc., responsible for all human resources and employment-related activities for the company's U.S.-based operating groups, which collectively employ some 50,000 employees in the U.S., U.K., Sweden, Israel, Germany, Mexico, and South Africa and generate annual sales in excess of $10 billion. His background encompasses a broad array of businesses including information and communications, commercial airplanes, and both commercial and defense electronics. Previously, Gray was director of the People organization for the Boeing Company's Phantom Works. He also supported the Engineering Process Council and represented Phantom Works on the Company People Process Council. Gray holds a bachelor's degree in personnel administration from the University of Colorado, and an M.B.A. and a master's degree in organization development from Pepperdine University.


Robie HarrisRobie H. Harris
Children's Book Author
New York, NY

Robie H. Harris has written award-winning and internationally acclaimed picture books and nonfiction books. She is known for writing about serious issues with honesty and humor. Her picture book titles include Turtle and Me, Maybe A Bear Ate It!, When Lions Roar, Mail Harry to the Moon!, Goodbye Mousie, I'm Not Going To School Today, Don't Forget to Come Back!, and other earlier titles. They center on the emotional life of young children. Her nonfiction books for preschoolers to teens, It's Perfectly Normal, It's So Amazing!, It's Not the Stork!, Who Has What?, Who's In My Family?, What's So Yummy?, and What's In There? and Who We Are!provide accurate, up-to-date, and age-appropriate information for children as a way to help them stay healthy and safe. Her picture books Crash! Boom! A Math Tale  and her first infant board book, Who?,were published in 2018.




HastingsJeremy Hastings, M.B.A.
Chief Operating Officer,
Boston, MA

Jeremy Hastings joined Alegeus as Chief Operating Officer in January 2019.  In this role, Hastings will lead the company to deliver better solutions, differentiation, and winning outcomes for Alegeus and its clients.  Prior to this, Hastings served as Chief Operating Officer, Northeast Region at Beacon Health Options, where he led all client operations, clinical and quality teams, implementations and was responsible for meeting both health and business outcomes.

Before joining Beacon, Hastings was a senior manager at Bain & Company, serving in Bain's Global Healthcare Practice. He led projects in the payor/provider, medtech, and healthcare services spaces, in addition to significant advisory work supporting private equity due diligence projects.

He received his MBA from Carnegie Mellon University and his BA in biology from Clark University.


HildrethSusan Hildreth, M.L.S., M.B.A
Library Consultant
Walnut Creek, CA

Susan Hildreth, M.L.S., M.B.A., currently a library consultant with a variety of clients, recently completed serving a term as the inaugural Gates-funded professor of practice at the Information School at the University of Washington in Seattle. She served as  the Treasurer of the American Library Association from 2016-2019 and is a fellow at the Aspen Institute's Dialogue on Public Libraries. Hildreth served as Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) 1/11 -1/15. Prior to that she served as City Librarian San Francisco Public Library, State Librarian of California, and City Librarian of Seattle Public Library in a distinguished 40-plus year career as a leader in public libraries.  Active in professional associations throughout her career, Hildreth is past president of the Public Library Association (PLA), and has served as a member of the PLA Board of Directors and an at-large member of the governing Council of the American Library Association. She is also a long-time member of the California Library Association, for which she served as president and treasurer. She led efforts to integrate Reach Out and Read with California public libraries and has been a strong advocate for Reach Out and Read for many years.

Hildreth graduated cum laude from Syracuse University and holds a Master's degree in Library Science from the State University of New York at Albany, as well as a Master's degree in Business Administration from Rutgers University.




KeyserEvan Keyser, M.B.A.
Director, Global Healthcare Group
Citi Corporate and Investment Banking,
New York, NY

Evan Keyser joined Citi in 2011. In his current role as Director with the Healthcare Investment Banking group, Keyser is focused on evaluating new, and maintaining existing, client relationships with large- and mid-cap Healthcare Services companies, specifically acute and post acute care providers. In addition, in this role, he serves as the lead execution banker driving the development, preparation and presentation of client-specific M&A and capital market financing strategies.

Before joining Citi, Keyser spent three years with the Healthcare Investment Banking groups at Cowen and Company and Stifel Nicolaus, both middle market financial services firms. With these firms, Keyser focused on equity offerings and M&A transactions across all healthcare sectors.

Keyser received his MBA from The Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University and his BS in Architectural / Structural Engineering from Kansas State University. 




KlassPerri Klass, M.D., F.A.A.P.
National Medical Director
Professor of Journalism and Pediatrics
New York University,
New York, NY

Perri Klass, M.D., F.A.A.P., led the National Center from 1993 to 2006, during which time Reach Out and Read grew from a single program into a national network of more than 3,000 program sites. She is a professor of journalism and pediatrics at New York University, where she works in the pediatric clinic at Bellevue Hospital. Klass received her M.D. from Harvard University and completed her training in pediatrics at Boston Children's Hospital, and in pediatric infectious diseases at Boston City Hospital. She received the 2007 American Academy of Pediatrics Education Award for her work with Reach Out and Read, and the 2011 Alvarez Award from the American Medical Writers Association. She writes frequently about children's issues, including the weekly "The Checkup" column for the New York Times.


LebovitzLisa Lebovitz, M.B.A.
Board Member
Weston, MA

Lisa Lebovitz has been an active volunteer with Reach Out and Read since 1999, providing strategic and marketing counsel to the organization. Lebovitz also serves on the Board of City Year Boston and as a member of the Advisory Board at Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University. Her work experience includes Bronner Slosberg Humphrey (Digitas), Loyalty Management Group (AirMiles), and Bain & Company. Lebovitz, who was honored as Reach Out and Read's 2013 Literacy Champion, is a graduate of Tufts University and Harvard Business School.








Jessie LyonsJessie Lyons
Vice President of Government Relations and Strategic Partnerships
Scholastic Inc.
New York, NY

As head of government relations for Scholastic, Jessie Lyons engages directly with the CEO and other members of the Management Executive Committee and their senior vice presidents, identifying risks and determining opportunities for their respective businesses. She is regularly in Washington, D.C. advocating for education policy and funding that will have a positive impact on the lives of those children most in need and at risk. In addition to the advocacy work, Jessie regularly identifies or creates strategic public-private partnerships for the company that furthers the mission of encouraging the intellectual and personal growth of all children, beginning with literacy.

Prior to joining Scholastic, she was a principal with the Dewey Square Group (DSG), a full service public affairs firm, where she focused on strategic communications and grassroots campaigns, including work with major corporations, non-profit organizations, and trade associations. 

Before returning to Boston and DSG, Jessie served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for United States Senator Jeanne Shaheen in Washington, D.C. She has years of experience in political campaigns at the state and national levels. Before working in the United States Senate, she served as a Political Advisor to Jeanne Shaheen on her 2008 senate race. Prior to joining Senator Shaheen's race, Jessie worked as a Senior Associate at the Dewey Square Group.

Previously she worked in Washington, D.C. with CNN analyst and political strategist Paul Begala, managing his day-to-day operations. Jessie served as a liaison between Begala and various political organizations. During the 2004 general election campaign, Jessie worked as a national scheduler for Senator John Kerry on the Kerry/Edwards campaign, coordinating and implementing message and event vision with national advance teams, state, communications, and political directors. 


Terri McFaddenTerri D. McFadden, MD, FAAP
Medical Director
Reach Out and Read Georgia
General Pediatrician & Associate Professor
Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine
Medical Director of Primary Care
Hughes Spalding Campus, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta
Atlanta, GA

Dr. McFadden is a General Pediatrician and an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics of the Emory University School of Medicine.  She serves as Medical Director of Primary Care at the Hughes Spalding campus of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta where she sees patients and teaches medical students, pediatric residents and allied health students.  She is also the Medical Director for primary care with the Emory Department of Pediatrics PARTNERS for Equity in Child and Adolescent Health program.  She is board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) where she serves on the Executive Committee of the Council on Early Childhood.  She also serves as Vice-President and President-Elect of the Georgia Chapter of the AAP. McFadden has served as the Medical Director Reach Out and Read Georgia for over 10 years and worked to strengthen the Reach Out and Read program at her on site for more than 20 years. Her academic and professional interests include comprehensive care for the underserved, early brain development and preschool literacy promotion, breastfeeding promotion, childhood injury prevention, and medical education.  She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Spelman College and a medical degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.


Leora MogilnerLeora Mogilner, M.D.
Associate Program Director,
Pediatric Residency Program
Director, Advocacy and Community Pediatrics rotation
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
New York, NY

Leora Mogilner is a pediatrician in the Division of General Pediatrics at Mount Sinai. She started Reach Out and Read at Mount Sinai, an early childhood literacy program based in the pediatric outpatient department, in 1998. She is the director of ROR at Mount Sinai and oversees the program, which distributes over 12,000 books per year to patients, teaches parents about the importance of early childhood literacy, and provides volunteer readers in the waiting room.

She has conducted research looking at the impact of literacy programs on early childhood language development. She is also involved in the Family Friends Program, an intergenerational program providing senior citizen volunteers to families at risk. She has been on the Board of Directors of the Reach Out and Read Coalition of New York since 1999 and is on the Board of the Mount Sinai Children's Center Foundation. She is married to Richard Linhart and is the mother of Ariella, Eitan and stepmother of Tobey.


NavsariaDipesh Navsaria, M.D., M.P.H., M.S.L.I.S., F.A.A.P.
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
Medical Director, Reach Out and Read Wisconsin

Dipesh Navsaria is an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and practices primary care pediatrics at Access Community Health Center. He is the founder and director of the Pediatric Early Literacy Projects at the University of Wisconsin, and is also the founding medical director of Reach Out and Read Wisconsin. Dr. Navsaria is the director of advocacy training for the pediatric residency, and is frequently involved in medical student and physician assistant education from the clinical arena. He also serves as the faculty advisor for the Pediatric Interest Group and is the director of the MD-MPH program at the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Navsaria received his Master's in Public Health from Boston University and his Physician Assistant training from The George Washington University in DC. He practiced as a pediatric physician assistant in East Central Illinois before attending medical school at the University of Illinois in Urbana. He also completed a master's in library and information science at the University of Illinois, focusing on children's librarianship.


NeedlmanRobert Needlman, M.D., F.A.A.P. - Co-Founder
Professor of Pediatrics,  Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Pediatrician,  MetroHealth Medical Center,
Cleveland, OH

Robert Needlman, M.D., F.A.A.P., is co-founder of Reach Out and Read and President of the Greater Cleveland Reach Out and Read Coalition. He is the author of "Dr. Spock's Baby Basics" and co-author of the ninth edition of "Baby and Child Care," Dr. Benjamin Spock's classic parenting manual. He has also been a columnist for Parent and Child Magazine, and has written for parents online at,, and as a Yahoo health expert. His published academic work includes studies on pediatric literacy promotion, the effects of prenatal cocaine exposure, iron deficiency, maternal depression, and resident training. A graduate of Yale College (English Literature) and the Yale School of Medicine, Needlman practices and teaches Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland and is Professor of Pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.


Todd NicoletTodd Nicolet, PhD
Vice Dean
UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
Chapel Hill, NC

Todd A. Nicolet, PhD, senior associate dean for administration at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, provides administrative leadership, with direct oversight of six units (finance, Gillings Global Gateway™, human resources, instructional and information systems, North Carolina Institute for Public Health, and strategic analysis and business intelligence). He also leads a variety of strategic initiatives and special projects that advance the Gillings School's mission.

From 2007 to 2016, as associate dean for operations at the UNC School of Government, Dr. Nicolet led six units, including the library, information technology, publications, marketing, events management and registration, and support services areas. He also directed and played a central role in the launch of MPA@UNC, the University's online Master of Public Administration degree program.  

Dr. Nicolet previously worked at the Gillings School from 2001 to 2007, initially providing project management for the "CDC Responds" webcast series and eventually serving as manager of the online instruction group and associate director of instructional and information systems. Earlier in his career, he filled varied roles at a startup company that provided turnkey solutions for online education at higher education institutions across the country.

At UNC, Dr. Nicolet has served on numerous campus committees, most recently as chair of the Chancellor-appointed policy and procedures working group, which developed recommendations for an ecosystem to manage all institutional policies.



Kyu Rhee, M.D., M.P.P.
Chief Health Officer, IBM 

Dr. Rhee serves as Chief Health Officer of IBM, where he has global responsibilities for Watson Health and assuring a culture of health at IBM.  Prior to joining IBM, Dr. Rhee was Chief Public Health Officer at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), where he served on and led numerous national initiatives related to prevention, quality, and public health. Dr. Rhee also served as the Director of the Office of Innovation and Program Coordination at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where he led initiatives related to eliminating health disparities and promoting health equity.  Prior to his federal government service, he worked in community health settings as the Chief Medical Officer of Baltimore Medical System Inc.  Dr. Rhee performed his medical residency training in both internal medicine and pediatrics at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He obtained his medical degree from the University of Southern California and holds a master's degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.



SomerfieldBenita Somerfield, M.A.
Chair of the International Committee of the Library of Congress Literacy Awards
Vice-Chair of the Governing Board of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), Hamburg, Germany
New York, NY

Benita Somerfield was the Founding Executive Director of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, serving the Foundation from 1989 to 2012.  Prior to that, Benita held several roles at Simon & Schuster Publishing, including Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications; and President, Workplace Resources. Her government work includes serving as Special Advisor in Adult Literacy at the U.S. Department of Education, and member of the Presidentially-appointed Board of the National Institute of Literacy. In addition, Benita has worked for a number of public/private literacy programs in workplace, community, and prison settings.

Contact Reach Out and Read
Reach Out and Read National Center
89 South St, Suite 201
Boston, MA 02111