Jessica McLeodDirector of Customer Relations
Reading, and helping others learn to read, has been a lifelong passion for me. Teaching elementary school in California after graduating from Bryn Mawr College with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Education was a natural career choice for me, but I did struggle in one area: teaching reading!
As a child, I learned to read easily. I had an older sister who loved to read and parents who loved to read to us, so I don't remember "learning" to read; it just happened naturally. As a 2nd grade teacher, I saw that some students were quick to pick up reading, while others struggled. I did not know what I was doing right or what I could be doing better. This led me to UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Education and Rick McCallum's Advanced Reading and Language Leadership Program. During graduate school, I had field placements in elementary and middle schools as well as at a juvenile detention facility with high school students. The latter experience really opened my eyes to the unique needs of older students who do not have basic reading skills in place. It was rewarding and satisfying to see that the skills I was learning in the reading specialist graduate program were working -- I was now very effective at teaching students to read!
After graduating with my Master’s degree from UC Berkeley, I strengthened my skills as a reading specialist by working as a literacy coach at a middle school and as a reading specialist for an adult literacy program. In addition, I was honored to be invited by my graduate advisor, Rick McCallum, to do part-time development work with his company, Let's Go Learn. In July of 2004, Rick McCallum and Richard Capone brought me on full-time to help bring our successful online reading assessment to students everywhere. Teaching someone to read can change his or her life. My diverse experience across grade levels, and at a variety of facilities, makes me uniquely qualified to help schools and institutions more effectively teach their students to read. I feel blessed to be working with the talented team of individuals at Let's Go Learn and to be making a positive contribution to the education of our students. I feel lucky to be working for a company that places such a student-focused orientation upon finding solutions for all schools and institutions, regardless of constraints. At the end of the day, it's all about helping our students!
What do you like to do on the weekends?
To start the day, I either jump up, go to the gym for spin class, then go to coffee with friends; or get up more leisurely, make breakfast, sip coffee, and read the New York Times. I make time to read, get together with friends, cook, and take day trips to the mountains for short hikes and a change of scenery. Sunday evenings are usually reserved for family dinner with my parents, grandparents, great uncle, in-laws, and close friends.
What’s on your nightstand?
A lamp, an analog alarm clock, three books (Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn; Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent by Meredith Small; and The Brewster Avenue Dead Man's Club by T. Scott McLeod), a coaster, and usually a glass of water.
What was your first car?
A white 2-door 1989 Honda Accord.
What is one surprising fact about you?
I was a Rotary Youth Exchange student in South Africa during my junior year of high school.