Meet Our Board
PoWeR! Book Bags is comprised of a Board of Directors and two Advisory Boards.
The Governing Board meets monthly. The Advisory Boards meet quarterly.
Board of Directors
Kara Gregory, Ph.D.
President, Executive Director, and Founder
Ph.D. from Michigan State University in Family and Child Ecology with an emphasis on child development, social-emotional development, literacy, play and early childhood education.
M.A. Eastern Michigan University in Early Childhood Education
B.S. Central Michigan University in Child Development and Education
Kara co-authored multiple editions of two textbooks: Guiding Children’s Social Development and Learning and Scaffolding Emergent Literacy. She created Playful Literacy and You! (PLaY), an early literacy training program for teachers for the State of Michigan. It was developed in early 2000 and is still in use. Kara taught Child Development and Early Childhood Education courses at Michigan State University and in private and public schools working with infants, toddlers, kindergarten, first graders and college students. She has also worked as an independent education consultant for the Oakland Intermediate School District.
Her volunteering activities in the community include serving as Vice-President of the Suttons Bay-Bingham District Library Board, a member of the Front Street Writers Advisory Board, and the National Writers Series Mentor to Front Street Writers' Writer in Residence.
Paralegal in the public interest law firm: Olson Bzdok & Howard
Post Baccalaureate Paralegal Certificate, Oakland University
B.S. Oakland University in History
Karla has a lifelong passion for reading and is PoWeR! Book Bags' official historian. She has contributed her legal understanding to PoWeR! Book Bags since the beginning. She brings a problem-solving energy and a positive attitude to every situation. In addition to keeping the board organized, Karla categorizes all important material relevant to the organization and volunteers at many events.
BS degree in Education from Central Michigan University with a major in Child Development and minor in Reading.
Leslie successfully taught school for 28 years, including 15 years in Kindergarten. She owned a private business, directing, and teaching in her preschool, Come Grow With Us. She worked with students in all grades teaching, reading, and tutoring. Leslie maintains all of the financial records, purchasing, and the day to day financial operations. She also handpicks and orders new books for our programs.
Fund Development and Community Relations
Retired Attorney, member of the Board of The Refuge (Otsego Shelter Program), as well as a Board Member at Otsego County United Way
Communications and Fundraising
Author, MPH of Maternal and Child Health, member of the Board of Weave
After teaching English to children in the Peace Corps in Kenya, and running refugee camps in Southern Sudan, Aimee is now a writer and works in community engagement.
Penny manages PoWeR! Book Bags programs at Grace Episcopal Food Pantry. She runs a tight ship coordinating volunteers at PoWeR! tirelessly. Her volunteers love her! Penny has served with many community non-profit organizations before she fell in love with the mission of PoWeR! Book Bags.
Northern Advisory Board
Antrim, Benzie, Crawford, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Otsego, Missaukee, Montmorency, Presquelle, and Wexford Counties
Dawn Shields - Fundraising Committee, Grant Committee
Gloria Dean - Fundraising Committee, Gratitude Committee
Kelly Slater -- Gratitude Committee, Fundraising Committee
Mary Woods – Community Sites Deliveries
Leigh Fairey – Retired English teacher, librarian, coordinates School Literacy Giveaway for Mancelona schools
Anneke Wegman – Tuesday Volunteer Corps, Leelanau Christian Neighbors liaison
Denise Palmer – Social Committee er Site Thursday Boss
Kim O'Connor - Benzie County Schools liaison
Kathy Walter – Supervisor for the Immaculate Conception Church Food Pantry & PBB program within the IC pantry, Sewing Coordinator
Southern Advisory Board
Lake, Manistee, Mason, Oceana, and Roscommon Counties
Lisa Makowicki – Coordinator of School Literacy Giveaways for Catholic Schools and manages our Foster Care and Salvation Army programs
Ed Makowicki – Coordinator of Ludington Community Outreach and Public Relations
Mykila Althouse – Coordinator of School Literacy Giveaways for Covenant Christian School and Community Events
Kathy Bromley- Supervises H.E.L.P, COVE, Catholic Charities Food Pantries and coordinates the monthly work bees
Susan Boes – Sewing Coordinator and a member of the Fundraising Committee and Public Relations Committee
Julie Sherlock- Community Relations
All of our Board of Directors and Advisory Board Members are active volunteers in PoWeR! Book Bags, as well as other local non-profit organizations.