Board of Directors

Mary K. Athridge

Mary K. Athridge

Director, Corporate Communications, Legg Mason

Mary Athridge is Managing Director, Corporate Communications for Legg Mason, Inc. In that role, she works with the senior leadership at Legg Mason and at its principal investment subsidiaries to develop and implement communications strategies to enhance brand value and drive business initiatives. She also has oversight responsibility for financial and transaction communications, crisis communications and investor communications support. Ms. Athridge joined Legg Mason from Citigroup Asset Management in the transaction to acquire that business from Citigroup in December, 2005. Previously, she was with Salomon Smith Barney and Salomon Brothers, and began her career in Washington in political positions in the White House and U.S. Small Business Administration. She has a B.A. from Georgetown University and a M.B.A. from George Washington University. She is also on the Board of the Angelica Patients Assistance Program. Ms. Athridge lives in New York City.

Amanda G. Baldwin

Amanda G. Baldwin

Senior Vice President, Catterton Partners

*Board Vice Chair

Ms. Baldwin is the Senior Vice President of Marketing at StriVectin, an independent prestige skincare company, and a member of the operating team at Catterton Partners, a consumer/retail private equity firm. Previously, Ms. Baldwin held several senior marketing positions at LVMH, Inc. and The Estee Lauder Companies, and began her career in finance as a member of the Consumer/Retail Group at Apax Partners and the Communications, Media and Entertainment team at Goldman, Sachs & Co. Ms. Baldwin has been involved in her New York City community from a very young age, starting as a volunteer at a food pantry in elementary school, as a founding employee of the 9/11 United Services Group, and most recently as a member of Juniors Undertaking Manhattan Pleasures, a program organized by the Grand Street Settlement House. She earned an A.B. magna cum laude in Social Studies from Harvard College, received her M.B.A. with honors from The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania, and currently lives in Manhattan with her husband and son.

Shawna Hamilton Doster

Shawna Hamilton Doster


*Chair Emeritus

Shawna Hamilton Doster is the Chair Emeritus of the Board of Directors of Books for Kids. Ms. Doster also worked for two years as the Executive Director. Currently she works as the CEO of GLOSquad in Greenwich, Connecticut. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas in Marketing and Finance and her J.D. from the University of Houston. Ms. Doster has been involved with Books for Kids for over 12 years and also volunteers with her children’s schools. She lives in Greenwich, Connecticut with her two children.

Kay Du Fernandez

Kay Du Fernandez

Vice President, Strategic Business Development, Konica Minolta

*Board Secretary

Kay Du Fernandez is the Vice President, Strategic Business Development for Konica Minolta, a leader in advanced document management technologies and IT services. Prior to joining Konica Minolta, Ms. Fernandez spent over twelve years at Toshiba America Business Solutions, holding positions in all aspects of product management, including Vice President of Marketing. Kay has a bachelor of arts degree from the University of California, San Diego and a masters of business administration from Pepperdine University. She currently serves on the board of directors for the Orange County Ballet Theater (OCBT) and is a supporter of Oceana. She has also led the marketing efforts at St. Mary's School, a 501(c)(3) International Baccalaureate Day School in Aliso Viejo, California. Ms. Fernandez is passionate about reading and cultivating our future generation of business and technology leaders. She resides in Franklin Lakes, NJ with her husband, Frank, and three daughters.

Adam Klein

Adam Klein

Principal, Crestview Partners, LLC.

*Board Treasurer

Adam Klein is a Principal at Crestview Partners, a value-oriented private equity firm. He works with the energy team and specializes in oil-field services and unconventional energy investments. Prior to Crestview, Adam worked as an analyst at Centennial Ventures where he evaluated, executed and monitored investments in early to mid-stage companies across multiple industries, as well as at Compass Partners and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. Adam is currently a director of FBR & Co, Select Energy Services, Silver Creek Oil & Gas, Synergy Energy and Texoma Transportation and Crude Marketing. He is also a board observer at Samsom Resources. Adam received his A.B. cum laude from Harvard College and his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He lives in New York City with his wife and two children.

Robert Stein

Robert Stein

Senior Partner, Blank Rome LLP

Robert Stein is a senior partner at the law firm of Blank Rome LLP and is co-chair of the Firm’s Financial Services, Restructuring and Bankruptcy Practice Group. Bob primarily represents senior secured lenders in leveraged acquisition financings and recapitalizations. He has previously been a partner at the law firm of Wolf Block LLP and in-house counsel at Bankers Trust Company and at Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company. Bob earned his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and his law degree from Albany Law School at Union University, and brings strong management and analytical skills developed over the past 30 years of his legal practice. He has had an abiding interest in addressing through early childhood education the needs of disadvantaged children. Bob is the proud father of three grown children and one son-in-law and resides in Manhattan with his wife Paula, who is the Director of Development for the Randall’s Island Park Alliance.

Graham S. Stephens

Graham S. Stephens

Managing Director, DTZ

Graham Stephens is a Managing Director for DTZ, a full service commercial real estate brokerage firm. He is an integral part of DTZ’s Capital Markets business and leads the Tri-State team. He advises clients in investment sales, mortgage brokerage and structured debt and equity placement. Mr. Stephens has a BA from Hamilton College and resides in New York City with his wife Lauren. They are active members in the NY Public Library Young Lions Program and a Patron of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Apollo Circle.


Ron Sussman

Ron Sussman

President of Sales Division, Sussman Sales

*Board Chair

Ron is the President of the Sales Division for Sussman Sales Company, a leader in K-12 digital and print sales distribution that has served New York City schools for over 40 years. In 2011 he helped launch Lightswitch Learning, a national K-12 sales organization that has recently published several best-sellers in the parent engagement arena.  Mr. Sussman graduated from Binghamton University with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and currently lives in New York City. Ron had a 60-23 career record for Binghamton University Tennis. Sussman Sales was recognized in 2011 as one of "'s Fastest Growing Companies."

Executive Advisory Board

Gavin R. Berger

Director of Business Development, Yorke Construction

Anne DesBarres

Owner, Keep Me Company

Heather Hay

Talent Acquisition, Ogilvy & Mather Advertising

Tamar E. Ogburn

Event Planner, Emblem Health

John M. Toriello, Esq.

Partner, Holland & Knight

Scott H. Tornek

Co-President and CEO, So Smart! Productions

Osei A. Van Horne

Professor, New York University

Rick Viton

Partner, Inter-Atlantic Group

President’s Early Childhood Education Board

Christopher Cerf

President, Sirius Thinking Ltd.

Patricia A. Edwards

Professor, Language and Literacy
Michigan State University

Eugene E. Garcia

Vice President, Education Partnerships
Mary Lou Fulton College of Education
Arizona State University

Susan B. Neuman

Professor, Educational Studies
School of Education
University of Michigan
Former Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education (2001-2003)
*Chair of the President's Early Childhood Education Board

Sheila Smith Ph.D.

Director, Early Childhood National Center for Children in Poverty
Mailman School of Public Health
Columbia University

Dr. Tamara G. Spencer

Assistant Professor, Early Childhood,
Elementary, and Literacy Education
Montclair State University

Childhood Literacy and Author Board

Steven Braunstein

Muriel Feldshuh

Judy Gitenstein

Denise Lewis Patrick

John Graham Tucker


Amanda Hirsh

Amanda Hirsh

Executive Director

Amanda Hirsh is the Executive Director of Books for Kids since November 2012. She comes to Books for Kids from the Montclair Kimberley Academy in Montclair, New Jersey, working on alumni events, annual giving, and new initiatives, and before that as a Sales Representative for children’s books at HarperCollins Publishers. Amanda graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied Comparative Literature, and the Trinity School in New York, where she currently serves as a class representative, raising money for the Trinity Fund. Amanda lives in New York City with her husband and son.

Laura Conrad

Laura Conrad

Program Officer

Laura is the Program Officer at Books for Kids. Prior to joining Books for Kids, she interned with the Aga Khan Foundation in Tanzania where she worked on teacher professional development initiatives and before that, she taught kindergarten and fourth grade in Washington, DC. Laura completed a yearlong teaching residency program in Washington, DC at an early childhood school and she taught at the early childhood level for two years. During this time, she developed a background in early literacy instruction, curriculum development and the developmental needs of young children. She received her Master’s in International Educational Development from the University of Pennsylvania and her Bachelor’s in International Studies from American University.

Rosemary Kiladitis

Rosemary Kiladitis

Library Consultant

Rosemary Kiladitis is a Library Consultant with Books for Kids. She has 15 years of experience in the publishing industry, changing careers to share her love of books and reading with kids everywhere she can. She received her MLIS from San Jose State University in 2013 and served as an assistant children's librarian at Queens Library prior to joining Books for Kids. She lives in Queens with her husband and three sons.

Christie Steele

Christie Steele

Development and Operations Associate

Christie Steele is the Development and Operations Associate at Books for Kids. Christie oversees the fundraising initiatives of Books for Kids as well as office operations. Christie graduated from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA where she earned a B.A. in Theatre and Dance. Prior to Books for Kids, she worked in University Operations at James Madison University as a Student Manager and also held a summer internship as an Administrative Intern at the Adirondack Theatre Festival, a non-profit theatre festival in Glens Falls, NY. Christie lives in North Bergen, NJ and is currently an active member of NYC's Empire A Cappella.

Christina Wilson

Christina Wilson

Library Consultant

Christina Wilson a Library Consultant for Books for Kids, primarily working in the Mario Batali Foundation libraries in Brooklyn. Christina has worked in many library settings around the world, including setting up a medical school library in Tanzania and volunteering at two children's libraries in Guatemala. She has a Master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of Western Ontario and Bachelor of Art in Classical Studies and History from Queen’s University, Canada.