The Reading Village model is innovative, responsive, and effective, in equal measure. We could say the same of our board and staff. Over the past six years, we have built a team of inspired and inspiring individuals. With diverse backgrounds and expertise in areas ranging from technology and teaching to communications and community development, we have built a tri-lingual team perfectly positioned to change lives through literacy.

Linda Smith

Founder and Executive Director, Board Member

Linda has a background in education, public health, business, solar energy, and community-sustainability, both in the corporate and non-profit worlds. She has been connected to Guatemala since 1988. She earned an MBA and MA in Latin American Studies from UCLA, is fluent in Spanish and is learning Kaqchikel. Dreamer, doer, and constant learner, Reading Village continues to thrive under Linda’s leadership and expertise.

Juan Skinner

National Director, Guatemala
With a background in anthropology, Juan is an environmental scientist, organizer and professor. With decades of experience collaborating with Guatemalan government and local communities, Juan is passionate about supporting marginalized populations find their voice. And he believes that literacy, education, and leadership are integral to empowering these populations to express themselves critically and creatively. As our Program Director, Juan is helping build the same skills among our youth leaders and supporting them to build these skills among the next generation of indigenous children in Guatemala.

Daniel Guzmán

Community and Alumni Relations Director, Guatemala

Daniel is a Guatemalan native and has a university degree in history and social sciences. He has 25 years of experience in education (as a teacher, professor and school director), in library and librarian development and in literacy program development, particularly in rural areas. He extends to every person who crosses his path, no matter their station in life, his deepest respect and warm heart. Father figure, teacher, and friend, Daniel’s local presence in Guatemala and his contextual expertise have been integral to our growth as an organization.

Marcella Varley

Development Manager

With a BA in Spanish, German and International Studies, Marcella has built a well rounded background in international development as well as account management in both non-profit and corporate environments. Her love of Latin American culture is rooted from her year living in Ecuador as a Rotary Exchange student and her passion for fundraising was born from her experiences as a volunteer in rural Uganda. Traveler and fundraiser, Marcella has a strong belief in the power of the human spirit and is continuously inspired by the people she meets along life’s journey.

Ismael Pecher

Community Facilitator, Guatemala

Ismael is a Guatemalan native with a university degree in education. He has six year’s experience in teaching and youth and community development training based on popular education methodology. Recruiter and mentor, he is responsible for the selection, cultivation, and training of our teen reading promoters. Ismael comes from the same area as the teens in our program and like them fought hard to get his education. He is bilingual Kaqchikel/Spanish.

Ana Palax

Community Facilitator, Guatemala

We have always considered that the best Community Facilitators would be graduates of our program. That makes Ana our dream come true. Ana comes from a less-than-nurturing family but who found a warm, welcoming and supportive environment in the Reading Village family. In our program she flourished as a student, leader and a reading promoter. When we added a community last year, she began as an intern, learning the job from the other side, and this year she is responsible for 15 teens in the village of Chuiquel. The love and respect she received in the program is now being showered upon the teens in her care.

Debra Robbins

Board President

Debra is the Associate Rabbi at Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, Texas. She has served her congregation, the largest Reform synagogue in the state of Texas, for 21 years. Inspirational fundraiser, teacher, and leader, Debra has refined this expertise as Vice President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and on the Board of Jewish Family Service. She joined the Reading Village board in October 2011 and participated in her first Learning Journey, accompanied by her family, in March 2012.

Martin Kruger

Board Treasurer

Martin is the Chief Operating Officer at Earth Island/Follow Your Heart, a Los Angeles based manufacturer of natural/organic, vegetarian/vegan condiments, dressings and cheese alternatives. Strategist, performance measurement expert and our go-to numbers guy, Martin has led Reading Village’s financial management and strategic planning process since 2008. He has traveled with us to Guatemala twice in that time.

Aaron Smith

Board Secretary

Aaron is a Staffing Researcher at Google, where he uses data to analyze, improve and scale talent acquisition workflows. Analyst, listener, problem-solver and social entrepreneur, he enjoys working with cross-functional teams toward a common goal. Aaron earned a BA from Wake Forest University and a MS from the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver.

Larry Dressler

Board Member

For over 25 years Larry Dressler helped people in organizations and communities mobilize their collective insight, commitment, and energy to make a positive difference in the world. He is a facilitator of high-­stakes conversations and a trusted advisor to leaders who seek to weave authentic engagement and collaboration into the fabric of their organizations. Confidante, trip-leader, and visionary, Larry is a founding board member of Reading Village.

Julia Young

Board Member

Julia Young is a co-founder of, developer of web meeting software offering collaboration tools for innovative thinking and decision making. As a facilitator and process consultant, Julia combines the logical mind of an engineer and a facilitator’s attention to group dynamics, to explore how collaborative an innovative thinking can augment the effectiveness of work teams. Inspired by the experiences of close friends and family, Julia joined the Reading Village Board of Directors in 2012 . When she’s not traveling, Julia lives and works in San Francisco.

Jan Snooks

Board Member

Jan Snooks has worked in education for nearly 40 years. In that time, she has been an elementary teacher, Special Education teacher, school librarian, counselor, IT consultant, even school secretary. Now officially retired, Jan is learning to paint, write and photograph her way around the world. Those travels took her to Guatemala ten years ago and her interest in the country has grown ever since. Jan joined the Reading Village board in 2013. She has traveled with us on two Learning Journeys and brings an intense creativity as well as her education expertise to our team.

Tommy Perkins

Board Member

Tommy is a Senior Manager of Sales for rogenSi, a management consulting firm based in New York specializing in leadership, communication and sales effectiveness. Influencer, negotiator, team player and father, he manages client teams to develop the strengths of leaders in many top line organizations. Tommy earned a BS from Texas A&M University and a MBA from the Universidad del CEMA in Buenos Aires, Argentina where he spent several years with his wife before moving back to the US. Now he lives in New York and attempts to corral two young children.