2018 Marathon: Meet Our Team!

Literacy Partners is proud to return as an official charity partner of the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon on November 4. Our runners use their platform to fundraise and raise awareness for literacy education. Each dollar raised supports free English and high school equivalency classes to help immigrant parents build better lives for themselves and their families. We couldn’t do it without their support!

Meet the amazing individuals on Team Literacy Partners – adding meaning to their marathon one mile at a time! You can donate to Team Literacy Partners here: http://bit.ly/LPMarathon2018

Joseph Alicata

Joseph looks forward to tackling his first attempt at a full marathon! Joseph works at Liberty Mutual adjusting injury claims in Bellmore, NY. He has always loved to read and has recently reignited that passion by reestablishing his personal library. His family, which has its roots in Sicily and Poland, fought to become literate in English and were proud to do so and call themselves Americans. “The opportunity to help create the opportunity for someone else to have a similar experience is one that I am excited to have.” This sparked his motivation to join Team Literacy Partners.

For Joseph, running is a very personal endeavor, and the opportunity to run for others makes the personal challenge much more meaningful to him and with a greater purpose. His training includes running 25 to 35 miles per week, five days a week. Education hasn’t stopped for Joseph, as he pursues his master’s degree at George Washington University. In the midst of his work and training cycle, he mentally prepares himself and is aiming to complete the race in less than four hours. Joseph’s motivational songs are “Assassin” by Muse and “Tread Lightly” by Mastodon. He loves reading, cooking, and exploring new wineries. Joseph is also a huge Yankees fan and music lover!

Rosemary Dunn

Rosemary lives in Bethel, Connecticut, and is a School Library Media Specialist working with 4th and 5th grade students. This is her first time doing the TCS NYC Marathon, but she is no ordinary athlete. Rosemary has completed 15 triathlons, three 10ks, three half marathons, and too many 5ks to count! The TCS NYC marathon has been a dream of hers for a long time, and she wants to savor the experience.

My fourth grade teacher ignited my love of books, and I have been an avid reader ever since. I was fortunate to have been able to pass that passion on to my (now adult) children, and my hope is that, as a librarian, I am passing it on to my students. In my career, I have seen how important parental involvement is to student achievement so the mission of Literacy Partners really resonated with me. As soon as I read about the organization I knew I wanted to be part of the team.” Rosemary’s customized training plan by Jeff Galloway involves a water run, swimming, and cycling. Her goal is to finish strong, and stay in the moment. Rosemary listens to “Till I Collapse” by Eminem for an extra push while running. She loves to travel, read, go on cycling vacations with her husband, and loves her job!

Maggie Madden

Maggie is a 3rd grade NYC public school teacher in Brooklyn, NY. This is her third marathon and her second time running here in NYC! “I have worked with many families throughout my teaching career who would have greatly benefited from the opportunity to work with Literacy Partners. I am so inspired by their mission and excited to see the incredible impact they are having on families and education throughout the city.”

Maggie is excited to run with Team Literacy Partners because she is very passionate about literacy education. Maggie and her sister, Annie, are both running the NYC Marathon this year. Although Annie lives in California, having Annie to train alongside her has been an incredible support throughout her training. Maggie wants nothing more than to have fun, revel in the experience, and make her students proud. Her goal is to show them how hard work and determination can pay off! Maggie feels so lucky to be able to run by her school and all her students on 4th Avenue in Brooklyn on race day. Her motivational song is “Anything Can Happen” by Ellie Goulding. Maggie loves traveling, and trying out new restaurants and bars in NYC.

Cristina Morales Suárez

Better known as Kiki by her friends, Cristina was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. “I am extremely proud of being in Literacy Partners 2018 NYC Marathon Team,” she says. She is both mom and teacher to her three children; homeschooling has been their choice of education for the last 5 years, and she enjoys every minute she spends teaching them! Cristina works part-time at a small democratic school in Old San Juan, as a tutor for English struggling students, her son’s band manager, and consultant to homeschooled families on the island.   

This will be Cristina’s second marathon – her first marathon was in 2011, and she hopes to finish strong and celebrate this year! She loves “running with a purpose,” and is encouraged by her husband as her coach. She takes off 2 days a week, and when running, often listens to audiobooks.

What motivated her to run with Literacy Partners? “Reading by myself calms me. Teaching someone to read invigorates me. Helping someone to fall in love with reading moves me. Reading with my children is my favourite.”

Cristina also enjoys dancing, going to the beach, hiking or running mountain trails, eating, reading in a hammock, walking her dogs, and spending time with her family.

Bernadette Mount

Bernadette, who has ran four half marathons in the past, is enthusiastic to make this her first full marathon. Her main goal on race day is to come out ahead – she is in it to win it! She is a school librarian from Dallas, TX. Bernadette currently does volunteer work at a small Catholic school library. As a mother with four daughters, she wants nothing more than advancements in literacy education. “When I decided to run for charity, I knew I wanted to support an organization associated with my passion for reading and books. Literacy Partners was a perfect fit for me as a librarian.” Bernadette enjoys using her position on Team Literacy Partners to raise awareness of literacy education.  

Her training program helps her focus on the minutes she ran instead of the distance. It brilliantly takes her mind off of how far she has ran, keeping her going longer and faster. Bernadette jams to “Born to Run”by Bruce Springsteen on good days and “Running on Empty” by Jackson Browne on bad days. Bernadette also enjoys reading, traveling, and playing soccer. She has lived all over the world, including the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Canada, and Kazakhstan.

Laura G. Neier

This is Laura’s first marathon! She’s a district level administrator at a local school district, and has previously worked as an English teacher and administrator in NYC for ten years.

As an educator, Laura has witnessed the importance of literacy in a home. She understands how vital a student’s success in school depends on being able to read. “So often, students can slip through the cracks, and then struggle in their secondary school experiences. I love Literacy Partners, because it focuses not only on the children, but the parents. When parents can read to their children, children will become more literate.” Laura feels running gives her a true purpose! She knows that every mile she runs is for a good cause. Her dedication is shown in her training of running a few days a week, plus doing cross training at least five days a week. Laura’s main intention is to have fun, and not focus on the competition; instead she’ll be focusing on the experience and excitement of crossing the finish line. She has been using TED Talk Radio podcasts as inspiration, to give her a new perspective to push her forward. Laura enjoys reading a good book, snowboarding, biking, and hiking with her family.  

Ally Taylor

Ally is a 10th grade English teacher for Virginia Beach City Public Schools, in Norfolk, Virginia. By the time she arrives in NYC, she will have completed 5 marathons! Ally is currently a doctoral student studying Educational Leadership. She enjoys every moment of the amazing experience because she absolutely loves learning. Ally has a raw passion for teaching and working with students who tend to struggle in the traditional classroom. “I’ve always believed that literacy positively changes lives and contributes to the success of individuals and communities. I wanted to run with Team Literacy Partners because of their commitment and dedication to promoting education among children and adults while also focusing on the importance of family.” The feeling of knowing that someone will greatly benefit from her efforts bring her joy. Ally’s confident that someone will thrive with the support provided by Literacy Partners.

She is a runner year-round and typically trains for marathons for 16 weeks combined with strength training, yoga, and meditation. Ally’s goal is to finish strong and cross that finish line by any means necessary. When she runs outside, she is enraptured by the sounds of nature. However if you ever catch her indoors running,“Party Up” by DMX puts an extra pep in her step! She takes pleasure in spending time with her family, snuggling her puppies, reading, writing, and ultimately doing anything she can to serve others.

Liz Zhang

As co-chair of the Literacy Partners Associate Board, Liz recognizes the importance of reading and gets inspired by great books. That’s why she decided to take on her first marathon and run for Team Literacy Partners! “Everytime I run, I think of the people I can help by raising funding and awareness for this great organization. I think of the people who support and encourage me,” she says. To prepare, Liz has been running regularly and listening to inspiring audio books while she runs, particularly Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth. Liz’s goal is to “cross the finish line with a big smile!” She also loves barre, yoga, wine, movies, and traveling.