Our Team

Founders and Advisors at The Book Truck

Elizabeth Dragga

Founder/Executive Director

A former bookseller, librarian, and education advocate, Elizabeth founded The Book Truck in 2011 in response to a lack of literacy outreach programming for teenagers. She joined forces with renowned author Cornelia Funke in 2012. Since its inception, The Book Truck has given away thousands of books to youth and young adults.

Our Advisors

Cornelia Funke

Cornelia Funke has written bestsellers such as The Thief Lord and Inkheart Trilogy. She has also written beloved picture books such as The Princess Knight. Amongst the many awards and honors Ms. Funke has earned is being named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2005.

 

Adam Frankel

Adam Frankel is the librarian at Palms Middle School and previously worked at LACES, ranked the #1 high school in LA. Also, he has been a teacher at other LAUSD schools including McAlister, a high school for pregnant and parenting teens.  In addition to his MLIS (Master of Library and Information Science), he has an MA in Educational Administration and an MA in International Studies.

Sean Griffin

Sean Griffin is a media and entertainment executive whose experience spans books, newspapers, themed entertainment, and virtual reality.  He is currently President of Nomadic, an immersive entertainment company focused on leveraging technology innovations to bring the world’s most beloved stories to life.  He received his MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and completed his undergraduate degree at Boston College.

Dr. Jeffery Wilhelm

Dr. Jeffery Wilhelm is Professor of English Education at Boise State University in Boise, Idaho. He is a highly regarded author or co-author of 37 books about literacy and literacy education, including: Reading Unbound: Why Kids Need to Read What They Want and Why We Should Let Them.

Courtney Hazlett

Courtney Hazlett is SVP of Development at OutEast Entertainment, which produces scripted and non-scripted television as well as feature films. Prior to that, Courtney spent her career in journalism. After receiving a Masters from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, she was an editor at several major magazines and then worked at NBC News for nearly a decade.

Donnajean Ward

Donnajean Ward works in the office of the dean at the USC Price School of Public Policy  Currently, she serves as a liaison to faculty and research centers within the Price School focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Ward also serves as the Price School’s liaison with USC’s Civic Engagement initiatives that support community engagement and outreach.

Sharon Hearn

Sharon Hearn is owner of the beloved children’s bookstore, Children’s Book World, a 27 year-old Los Angeles institution. With a selection of over 80,000 titles, and a staff that tries to read as many of those titles as possible, these booksellers are dedicated to getting the right books into the hands of the right kids.

Caroline Kunitz

Caroline Kunitz founded LA Diaper Drive in 2005, and grew it to be one of the largest diaper banks in the country, taking the unique approach of using diapers as incentive to get low-income parents into life-improving classes. In 2014, it merged with Jessica Seinfeld’s charity Baby Buggy (now GOOD+ Foundation). Now consulting with non-profits, she has a BA from UCLA, MBA from Richmond College, and MPP from USC.

Allison Bloom

Allison Bloom is a screenwriter and lyricist. Her songs, stories and spin have been featured in TV shows and movies, music videos, consumer products, and marketing campaigns, including The Book Truck, and partnerships with Mattel, Party City, Target, Claire’s, Toys R Us, and LACMA. She also fundraises for The Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project Los Angeles County Action Fund, the political arm of Planned Parenthood LA. She has a BA in Plan II/English and a BS in Communications: Radio/Television/Film from The University of Texas at Austin.

“You have been an extra-ordinary addition to our program. Your thoughtfulness, preparedness, articulation, intelligence and passion for our students was such a game changer for this group of kids. Your curriculum and approach brought out much-untapped potential and personality in all of them.”

– Abby Adams, Executive Director, Determined to Succeed

Our Board

Dr. Julie Sandor

Dr. Julie Sandor (Board President) has a PhD in Communications and taught Interpersonal Communications at Northwestern University. She then worked in the entertainment industry and produced several independent feature films. She also worked as a digital media producer, creating mobile and web applications.

Dr. Betsy Rich

Dr. Betsy Rich received her PhD in Anthropology from the University of Michigan. She has conducted extensive research in East Africa, focusing largely on maternal mortality. She has taught at universities such as California Institute of Technology and UCLA. Her expertise in innovative research methods and other areas has been invaluable.

Margaret Ettyang

Margaret Ettyang is a Senior Manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Assurance practice. She has lived and worked in the US, Kenya and Rwanda providing audit services to multinational clients of various sizes and backgrounds. She has been involved with charitable organizations all through her career and is passionate about the mission of The Book Truck.

Andrew Stoker

Andrew Stoker (Chief Financial Officer) is a senior manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers focusing on tax and enterprise wide strategy issues. He has experience working with multinational clients in a variety of industries, having lived and worked throughout the US and China. He has been involved with charitable organizations, in an official and unofficial capacity, over the last 12 years.

Eva Ramirez Fogg

Eva Ramirez Fogg is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who received her M.S.W. from USC with an emphasis on Community Organization, Planning and Administration. Her professional background includes being Senior Manager at Prototypes Centers for Innovation in Health, Mental Health, and Social Services as well as Associate Director at Association for Children’s Services Agencies. She has also worked as a Mental Health Clinician.

Carrie LaFerle Gergely

Carrie LaFerle Gergely (Secretary) is Managing Director of The Groundlings Theatre & School, where she oversees all finances, personnel, and strategic planning. She coordinated the West Hollywood Book Fair for four years, which provided a large-scale, free literary event for 15,000 people each year. Carrie is also a judge for the LightBringer Project’s writing contests.

Kris Nance

Kris Nance is an Executive Director in J.P. Morgan’s Financial Sponsors Group.  He has broad experience in leveraged finance and advising clients on strategic initiatives across a range of industries and products. Kris has been involved in programs to help support underserved youth and is a passionate proponent of youth literacy.


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