The Reading Education Foundation (REF), non-profit foundation, is committed to supporting innovation and excellence in the Reading Public Schools.
Our goal is to enhance and increase educational opportunities for all Reading students by providing funds for projects that go beyond the scope of traditional classroom learning.
We are committed to working for the whole child and every child.
The Reading Education Foundation (REF), formerly the Reading Technology & Education Foundation, was founded in 2001 in response to a glaring lack of technology in the Reading public schools. During its first decade REF granted over $300,000 to the schools in the form of smart boards, laptops, teacher training, etc. Thanks to the generosity of this community, REF technology grants have supported every public school in Reading and reached every child in the district.
In 2011, REF expanded its mission in response to the economic crisis that is having a detrimental impact on public schools. The board determined that widening the mission was vital for supporting excellence in our schools. REF is committed to providing grants for innovative programs and teacher training that help our students develop skills in creativity, collaboration, communication, and empathy, so important for success in our world today. “We intend to fulfill the research and development role within the Reading school district,” explains Debbie Boschetti, co-founder of the Foundation. “We will make every effort to fund cutting-edge programs and teacher training for Reading schools to ensure 21stcentury success for our students.”
Have a program idea?
We are inviting proposals that will demonstrate innovation, collaboration and a broad impact upon the school district as a whole.
REF Board Members
Christine Kelley, Co-President, is almost a life-long resident of Reading, has been involved in many local organizations. She and her husband have had two of their three children graduate from the Reading schools, and Christine herself is a professional educator. Currently Christine serves as Assistant Superintendent in Pentucket Regional School District in West Newbury, MA. In her leadership roles in Winchester, Brookline and now, Pentucket, she has seen the strength and support given from Educational Foundations and believes in innovation within our schools.
Deborah Gilburg, Co-President & Marketing Chair, is a leadership consultant and group facilitator. She and her siblings are principal owners of their second generation family business, Gilburg Leadership Incorporated. Prior to joining the family business, Deborah practiced environmental law for the state of Massachusetts. Since moving to Reading in 1998, she has volunteered in many capacities, from campaigning for a fifth elementary school, coordinating enrichment spending for the Joshua Eaton PTO to facilitating town-wide World Cafe conversations in 2009 and 2011. She holds a BS in Psychology from Trinity College and a JD from Suffolk University.
Lori Foley, Treasurer, grew up in Reading and happily resides here with her husband and four children. With her children attending the Reading Public schools, Lori has a vested interest and has always very involved in supporting quality education and innovative learning. Lori is the Associate Director for Finance, Development & Human Resources at Sanborn Place, Home Care and Day Services, also located in Reading. She spends much of her spare time doing volunteer work. She is an active member of the Reading Rotary Club, and has chaired many fundraising efforts for Sanborn, The DKJ Foundation, Birch Meadow PTO, St. Agnes Parish and The Reading Club. She and her husband enjoy giving back to the community and mentoring their children to understanding the importance of community service.
Laura O’Neill, Secretary, has been a resident of Reading for ten years. Since moving to Reading Laura has been an active volunteer and leader with both the Parker Middle School and Joshua Eaton PTO. Having worked as an attorney for a large non profit theater company, Laura is also an avid supporter and advocate for local and regional arts organizations. Laura holds an undergraduate degree from Syracuse University and a law degree from DePaul University.
Nancy Dieselman, Grants Chair, has been a resident of Reading since 1998, with two sons in the Reading Schools. She is an active volunteer in the schools, having served on the Joshua Eaton Elementary PTO as Enrichment Chairman, and coordinator for JEEP after school enrichment programs, where she has been actively expanding offerings with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) focused curriculum. She served three years as a Lego Robotics coach, and is experienced in grant research and writing. Nancy holds a Mechanical Engineering Degree from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and an MBA from Boston University.
Susan Shields, Fundraising Chair, has lived in Reading for the past 16 years with her husband and three boys. An educator for over 20 years, she has spent the majority of her career at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School as the Wellness Department Coordinator and Peer Leader Coordinator. Susan has received similar grants from the local education foundation serving Lincoln and Sudbury, and recognizers the value these grants have for inspiring teachers to think outside the box, and offering unique opportunities to students that would not be possible without the financial support.
Laurie Hilliard has lived in Reading since 1986 with her husband and 2 sons. She has worked in the Advertising, Marketing and Staffing industry for over 25 years and is the Director of HireMinds in Cambridge, a boutique advertising and marketing search firm. Prior to staffing, she worked in ad agencies and in the broadcast industry at WBZ-TV. A REF board member since 2003, Laurie has also been a volunteer at Barrows and Parker, produced the Parker yearbook and was active in Parents Supporting Student Theatre. In addition, she was a member of Young Women’s League of Reading and was Chairman of Reading’s 350th ball celebration.
Andrea Nelson has lived in Reading with her husband and two children since 2006. She has devoted her career to educating children at the elementary level and has experienced first-hand the benefits of having a foundation support new and innovative ideas. As her children begin their own journeys through the Reading Public Schools, she hopes to contribute to the community, using her educational background and experience to support initiatives that will foster personal growth for all Reading youth. Andrea holds a Master’s degree in both Elementary and Special Education from Lesley University.
Amy Yatsuhashi has lived in Reading for over 10 years and has four children in the school system. She was an active volunteer in elementary school PTO activities and joined REF to support education across the district. Amy has always worked in education, first as a high school English teacher, and currently as a preschool teacher. She holds a B.A. from Boston College and a M.A. from Simmons College.
Teresa Arent has over 20 years experience in Human Resources. She currently serves as EVP and Partner with Kiradjieff & Goode, a boutiques executive search firm that specializes in recruiting experienced Board Members, CEOs, and their senior level reports. Locally, she has served on the Search Committee for the Parker Middle School Principal selection in 2015, and is currently the Team Manager for North Shore Vipers Girls Hockey and Reading Middle School Girls Hockey. Teresa earned a B.A. from Middlebury College and an M.B.A. from Suffolk University.