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Meet Our Team

Rowan Childs
Founder & Executive Director


As a mother of two children I know how important reading is for kids and adults and how it can also be a struggle. For many kids in our area that isn’t a choice. Over two thirds of children living in poverty do not have books at home. I was alarmed by this statistic and in 2013 I founded Madison Reading Project to address the low literacy rates among underserved children.  


Seeing our nonprofit flourish with community support and help kids get excited to read is a testimony to the hard work and love we have dedicated. There is a big need out there for even more kids to get their hands on books and literacy support.  

Deirdre Steinmetz
Program & Operations Director


Deirdre’s passion for books began in her childhood, her mother was the local librarian giving her access to an infinite world of reading and storytelling. With over 15 years of non-profit experience working with children, education, and after school programs she brings extensive knowledge and resources to Madison Reading Project.


After a long career in Portland, Oregon Deirdre has returned home, originally a Wisconsin native with B.S. in Child Development from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. When not reading books with her daughter, Deirdre enjoys traveling, camping, skiing, gardening, and spending time with her nearest and dearest family and friends.  

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Sarah Burke
Fundraising Coordinator

Sarah is a former school psychologist who loves books and kids. Those passions led her to Madison Reading Project where she coordinates the events and works with individual donors and corporate sponsors.  She has her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Notre Dame and her M.S. in Educational Psychology from Indiana University.   She is thrilled to be helping get books into the hands of children throughout south central Wisconsin.

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Tom Kobinsky
Grants & Development Coordinator

Tom and his wife, Darcy, are the parents of three grown children and live on a farmette in the Town of Cross Plains, where they now raise three horses. Using his degree in journalism, Tom is Madison Reading Project's grant writer and researcher. In his spare time he occasionally freelances for "Isthmus," Madison's weekly newspaper, plays guitar, bikes, hikes and kayaks. "I've always loved books and make time daily to read," he says. "The best books are those you read to children, especially to our granddaughter, Rosie."

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Natalie Holdahl
Program Coordinator​

Natalie grew up in Minneapolis, MN before moving to Madison to attend the University of Wisconsin. It was there that she graduated with an Elementary Education and English as a Second Language degree. While earning her degree, she realized the profound impact reading has on a child’s life and the inequality surrounding access to books. Natalie is looking forward to making a difference for kids in our communities and working with others who have a passion for reading, learning, and children. 

Natalie enjoys reading books about social inequities, especially young adult novels. She has recently read On The Come Up and I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter. She is always looking for books to add to her “must read” list! When she is not reading, Natalie loves to go camping, play cards, attend Badger games, and play softball.

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Maria Oachs
AmeriCorps VISTA - Operations Development

As a child growing up in rural northwestern Wisconsin, Maria had a ravenous appetite for reading, leading her to read every book and magazine she could get her hands on. This early love of reading has since transformed into a lifelong passion. 


Maria is currently taking a gap year before attending law school and is spending her gap year working for the federal public service AmeriCorps. Her love of reading drew her to working for the Madison Reading Project as an AmeriCorps member. In her free time, Maria enjoys reading, painting, riding horses, learning, and spending time with family and friends.

Lindsey Hinebaugh
Literacy Specialist

Lindsey is a Los Angeles native who recently relocated from NYC to Madison. She has taught early childhood education in a variety of underserved communities over the past ten years, and is passionate about instilling a love of reading in our youngest learners. In her classroom, she makes sure her students see positive representations of people who look like them, and also provides her students with opportunities to get a glimpse into other people’s lives and cultures.


She believes all kids deserve access to high-quality literature and knows that books can be truly transformative for people. Lindsey is excited to apply her enthusiasm for and knowledge of children’s literacy to her role at the Madison Reading Project. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, baking, spending time with her friends and family, and of course, reading!

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Ricardo Marroquin Santos
Program Leader

Ricardo is a returning student earning his HSED/ GED diploma at Madison Area Technical College and he's taking some non credit and credit classes. He also attended the Odyssey Project in 2018-2019. During that time he served free kids meals every Sunday at Dickey’s Barbecue Pit since its grand opening. 


Ricardo's passionate about lifelong learning and helping people. He's fluent in Spanish and English language. During his time off, he enjoys walking his dog, biking, roller skating, playing soccer, and reading. This Summer he looks forward to volunteering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison “Jail Library Group.”  It’s rewarding to work at the Dane County Library Services as a Library Clerk. You may recognize him from the “Dream Bus”, a mobile library that provides library services in Madison locations where’s there not a library near by. He's very happy to be part of the Madison Reading Project.

Gloria Heiss
Program Leader

Gloria was not always an avid reader, however, once she gained confidence she took off running, reading book after book everywhere she went. Gloria is channeling that same tenacity now in working for the Madison Reading Project because she is a walking example of the difference reading can have on a child.

In high school, Gloria organized a community book giveaway of over 1,500 books and 5 handmade and painted bookshelves. During that time she continued her love of volunteering by being a reading buddy for the School District of Beloit.


That event and volunteer experience will always be a driving force behind what she does while pursuing a degree in business at UW-Madison. Gloria hopes to further the Madison Reading Project mission as a student by helping spread the joy of reading to kids in Dane County and back home in Rock County one book at a time.

Summer Schultz
Volunteer Coordinator

Summer is from Northern Wisconsin and now attends UW-Madison seeking a degree in Linguistics, Spanish and a certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. She plans to graduate in the winter of 2020 and she wants to spend her remaining time in Madison helping the local community. Literacy was an important part of her childhood and she looks forward to helping kids get the same opportunity to find the joy of reading through the Madison Reading Project.


She also spends time volunteering and tutoring English at the Literacy Network and participating in English Conversation Time at the Christ Presbyterian Church. Summer finds great significance in helping people and communities at a local level and understands that change can often start with something seemingly small, like free books or language. When she has free time, Summer also enjoys cooking, reading, traveling and drinking coffee. 

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