Raising A Reader MA Welcomes New Executive Director

Seasoned entrepreneur, award-winning author and children’s literacy advocate assumes leadership position

BOSTON, April 21, 2015 – The Trustees of Raising A Reader MA (RAR-MA) are pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. Randy Houk as Executive Director, effective April 20, 2015. She succeeds the organization’s founding ED, Donna DiFillippo.

IMG_3221Ms. Houk is an accomplished executive, author and entrepreneur with a wealth of experience and demonstrated passion for children’s education and literacy. She comes to RAR–MA most recently from a leadership position at the financial literacy, credit-repair and car purchasing non-profit More Than Wheels where she forged hundreds of partnerships with other non-profit organizations and clients in four New England States. Prior to her most recent position, Ms. Houk has served as CEO of three organizations, most recently her own multi-media publishing company. Earlier in her career, she was the Director of Publishing for National Public Radio in Washington DC and was a Senior Editor for Addison Wesley in Menlo Park California. She has authored seven children’s books with environmental and animal protection themes.

“After a very thoughtful and thorough search process, we are so pleased to welcome Randy Houk as our new Executive Director,” said RAR-MA board chair Lisa Spadafora Thompson. “Randy has been dedicated to the cause of children’s literacy for decades and has demonstrated significant success in raising funds to support many associated causes. She is a fantastic relationship builder and an award-winning published author. All of her skills and accomplishments will serve RAR-MA well as we focus on growth of our funding sources so we can continue to bring our powerful and proven program to parents and children in Gateway Communities – and then to even more families in new cities and towns.”

“Leading RAR-MA as its Executive Director is a position that fits with my dreams and goals.” said Ms. Houk. “I am so excited to be joining this impressive and important organization. The passion of the organization’s staff and board is energizing in our shared belief that every child deserves the opportunity to arrive at school with the same level of preparedness for reading and future academic success. I look forward to building on the considerable success Donna and her team have achieved since the organizations founding in 2006.”

Ms. Houk and Ms. DiFillippo have begun collaborating to effect a smooth transition and to consider, with the board, ways in which Ms. DiFillippo may best support RAR-MA going forward.

Raising A Reader MA is an evidence-based early literacy program that helps families of young children (newborn through age six) develop, practice, and maintain habits of reading together at home. RAR-MA’s core program model, which both increases access to books and offers support for strengthening the culture of reading at home, is driven by 25 years of research that show the most significant factor impacting a child’s academic success is being regularly read to by a parent or other primary adult caregiver before starting kindergarten.

RAR-MA’s goal is to end the cycle of low literacy by helping families across Massachusetts develop high-impact home reading routines that lay the groundwork for a lifetime of learning, success, and productive, responsible citizenship.

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