We bid farewell to Director of Administration Sarah Gaikwad

Pauly HartAug. 24, 2023

It’s no exaggeration to say that Lead to Read KC wouldn’t be where we are today without Director of Administration Sarah Gaikwad’s hard work and dedication. Afterall, she was our first official employee! Now after 12 years, she has decided to leave to homeschool her daughter. 

“This has been a huge part of my life for a very long time. If you know me, you’ve heard about Lead to Read KC! From working alongside founder Jean Rundle when it was merely an idea, to surveying volunteers during our pilot years and developing relationships with teachers, administrators, and volunteers. Over the last handful of years my work has been very meaningful in developing more robust systems and the structures of a grown-up organization,” said Sarah.

Our staff and board members gathered earlier this month to celebrate Sarah’s accomplishments and toast to her new chapter. Executive Director Pauly Hart expressed, “I am so grateful for Sarah’s long-term commitment to Lead to Read KC. She was the glue that held the organization together when our founder passed. Sarah helped us achieve such tremendous growth over this past decade and will always hold a special place in our history.”

Sarah launched the first full year of the Reading Mentor program, serving initially as Volunteer Coordinator. She quickly assumed more responsibilities taking on the role of Program Coordinator in 2012, then Director of Operations in 2013, and became Director of Administration in 2017. During her tenure, she championed the many efforts that helped Lead to Read KC grow from just a kernel to our current program with more than 1,100 volunteers serving 28 schools. 

Sarah summed up her feelings: “It’s been incredible to watch first-hand the huge impact in so many students’ lives. I am proud of our unique engagement in entire classrooms – which was my strongly held belief from the start – knowing that reading is critical for every single student. It’s hard to articulate what this experience has been, the joy and hard work of starting a non-profit. I am excited for what is ahead for Lead to Read KC and am also looking forward to stepping back and cheering from the sidelines!”

You might be wondering how we will ever replace Sarah. Good news! Our team has expanded this summer so look for future blog posts about the new staff members.