Governing Board

Mouse over each board member's image to learn more.

Jenny Volpe headshot

CEO

Make Way for Books

Governing Board Chair

Jenny Volpe

Jenny holds a B.A. in literature from the University of Chicago and a M.A. in education from the Johns Hopkins University. Believing in education as a means to achieve social change and equity, Jenny began her educational career as a Teach For America teacher and taught for five years before entering the curriculum development and nonprofit sectors. She has traveled the globe and helped to design literacy programs for children across the United States and in other countries.

Jenny is proud to lead Make Way for Books as CEO. Make Way For Books is an early childhood literacy nonprofit organization that impacts 30,000 children, parents, and educators annually. For the past ten years at the organization, Jenny has dedicated her time working to ensure that children in our community have the chance to realize their full potential.

Jenny is skilled in non-profit leadership and organizational development and is an expert in leading-edge strategy design. Jenny is passionate about helping children gain access to quality educational opportunities and believes in the power of literacy to change lives.

Artem smiles at the camera

Accounting Policy

Silicon Valley Bank

Governing Board Member

Artem Tretiakov

Artem Tretiakov is Read Better Be Better’s Volunteer Finance Coordinator and a member of the RBBB Governing Board, addressing a variety of matters including budgeting, accounting, reporting, and internal controls. Artem has been engaged with the RBBB team since the program started in 2014.

Previously working at BDO USA and Western Alliance Bank, Artem is currently in an accounting policy role at Silicon Valley Bank where he provides technical accounting guidance to U.S. and global operations.

Artem joined Read Better Be Better to help brilliant educators build a society in which all children master the foundational skills necessary to become independent learners.

Carol Rhodes headshot

Volunteer HR Director

Read Better Be Better

Governing Board Member

Carol Rhodes

Carol recently retired from her role as HR Director at Pace, an international provider of technology solutions to the pay TV and broadband industries. Previously, she had worked for companies ranging from large international companies such as Tyco International and Stanley Black and Decker to small local startups in the dot-com and banking industries.

Carol earned a BA in Communication Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Following her graduation, she worked at HELP of Southern Nevada, a local non-profit, where she established an educational program that helped prepare disadvantaged women for the workplace.

She moved to Reno, Nevada two years later when her husband, Bob, was transferred there. Carol and Bob, a pharmacist, have embraced the flexibility that their careers offered them and have called Houston, Las Vegas, Reno, Dallas and Phoenix home at various times. They returned to Phoenix for the second time a few years prior to their retirement.

As an HR professional, she believes strongly that creating a culture of respect, learning, fairness and transparency plays an integral role in the success of an organization.

Dawn Wallace headshot

Vice President

AZ Center for Civic Leadership, Flinn Foundation

Governing Board Member

Dawn Wallace

Dawn has a rich background in education, budget, and state government operations. She began her public service career in 1999 as a Senior Budget Analyst for the Arizona Governor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting for Governor Jane Dee Hull and Governor Janet Napolitano. She then served as Deputy Director of Research Staff in the Arizona State Senate and Majority Policy Advisor for Speaker Kirk Adams and Speaker Andy Tobin.

Prior to joining Governor Doug Ducey’s staff in 2015, Dawn was the Director of Government Relations for the Maricopa Community Colleges. Most recently, she worked for Governor Ducey as the Senior Advisor for Education and Strategic Initiatives and as a Special Assistant to the Governor. Dawn also spent over a decade in the private sector, specializing in finance, budget, and accounting.

She received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in History from Arizona State University and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix with an emphasis in accounting. Dawn is an adjunct professor at Northern Arizona University in the Public Administration and Justice Studies Program.

Dawn is currently the Vice President of the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership at the Flinn Foundation. She lives in North Central Phoenix with her husband Andy and their daughter, Finn.

Gary Linhart headshot

Founder & Owner

WestHawk Capital

Governing Board Member

Gary Linhart

Gary is the founder and owner of WestHawk Capital, a platform incubator for emerging real estate managers based in Phoenix. Gary was also a Founding Partner of ViaWest Group, a Phoenix-based commercial real estate investment and development firm where he led the capital markets activity from 2003 until early 2020.

Gary earned a B.A. in Economics from Northwestern University and an MBA in Finance from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is fluent in Japanese and proficient in Spanish. He is currently active in the Arizona Chapter of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO), serves as the Vice Chair of the Executive Committee of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Arizona Chapter and is the Chairman of a ULI national product council.

Gary is passionate about improving education in Arizona. He leads a real estate industry advocacy group for Expect More Arizona. He lives in Phoenix with his wife Julie and their two sons, Zachary and Matthew.

Patty Tate headshot

Former Superintendent

Osborn School District

Governing Board Member

Patty Tate

Patricia Tate is passionate about teaching and learning, especially when it comes to the inner-city students she served for almost 40 years in her hometown of Phoenix, Arizona.

Beginning her career as a teacher of the deaf at the Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind in Tucson, Patty returned to Phoenix in 1978 and accepted a teaching position in the Osborn School District. For almost four decades it was her second home. She worked as a volunteer, parent, special education, and science teacher. In 1997 Patty was honored as an Arizona Teacher of the Year Ambassador. That same year, she was chosen as the Arizona recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Education. She retired as Osborn Superintendent in 2017.

In addition to her commitment to public education, Patty also serves as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and CASA Peer Coordinator. Appointed by a judge, she speaks up for abused and neglected foster children in court and supports other CASAs in this work.

Patty’s husband Don is also a retired educator. They raised their sons in Phoenix and with five young grandchildren, they are more committed than ever to help improve the health, security, and education of all Arizona children.

Rachel Aja headshot

Manager

Government & Regulatory Affairs, Cox Communications

Governing Board Member

Rachel Aja

Rachel Aja is a native Arizonan, and attended the University of Arizona in Tucson. She has been involved in a variety of volunteer organizations, including the Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Program and the Luke Air Force Base Honorary Commander Program. An active member of Fighter Country Partnership’s Blue Blazer Squadron, Rachel was recognized as the 2019 Volunteer of the Year. In 2020, AZ Business magazine named Rachel as one of 14 Diverse Business Leaders to Watch.

Rachel currently works as the Government & Regulatory Affairs Manager for Cox Communications, and in her free time she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and watching her seven nieces and nephews play and learn. Rachel has volunteered as a Program Coach for Read Better Be Better since 2016.

Rachel and her husband Joe live in the Foote Addition of Central Phoenix and enjoy spending time raising a garden and chickens in their backyard.

Sophie Allen Etchart headshot

CEO & Founder

Read Better Be Better

Governing Board Member

Sophie Allen-Etchart

Sophie Allen-Etchart was born in Connecticut but raised and educated in England, receiving her B.A. in Modern Languages from the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. Upon graduation, Sophie joined a financial services agency specializing in board-level strategic HR consulting. Soon after, Sophie moved to Peru and began managing SKIP, an international development organization.

Sophie met her husband, an Arizona native, in Peru and moved to Phoenix in 2012. Once in Phoenix, she spent 2 years managing the JA BizTown® team at Junior Achievement. There, Sophie identified the need for basic reading comprehension support. The JA BizTown® program serves over 20,000 students per year, an alarming number of whom had neither the focus nor the foundational reading skills to obtain the most value from the experience. In 2010, when Arizona’s “Move On When Reading” law was announced, Sophie decided that the timing was critical to support those 3rd graders at risk of not being promoted to 4th grade because of a lack of reading proficiency.

In 2017, Sophie was recognized as one of Phoenix Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 and was nominated for the Greater Phoenix Chamber’s ATHENA Award in both 2019 and 2020. Sophie currently lives in Downtown Phoenix with her husband, her son Cody, and daughter Joey. In her free time she is driven to continue to advocate for those causes about which she is passionate – either by canvassing locally or participating in lively discussions with friends and neighbors.