The mission of the Taylor Reading Corps is to enhance the learning opportunities for Taylor School District students through the recruitment, training and sustainment of a network of volunteers.
Judge Geno Salomone is a lifelong resident of Taylor. He and his wife Karen graduated together from Kennedy High School in 1973. They were married in 1977 and have three children. Judge Salomone worked as a custodian for the Taylor School District while attending Wayne State University. He graduated from WSU in 1980 and from the Detroit College of Law in 1984. He was elected in 2000. Since that time, he has implemented a "court in the high schools" program, co-sponsored the Goodwill Garden at Heritage Park, and started a drug treatment court program for defendants addicted to drugs or alcohol. Judge Salomone is also president of the Taylor Conservatory Foundation and a member of the board of directors for the Friends of the Rouge River. The TRC is the judge’s brainchild.
“There is a direct correlation between a person’s lack of education and the increase probability of becoming a defendant (in court). I hope this program is the first step toward insuring that anyone graduating from a Taylor high school has the actual ability to perform at a 12th-grade level. We want students to have the actual educational ability, not just a diploma.”
Debbie Stellini - Chairwoman
Debbie Stellini has served on the Taylor Board of Education since 2000, advocating for children’s learning and health issues. She works as an Occupational Therapist and has been married to husband Mike for 26 years. They both graduated from Taylor Center High School and have two children in college, each of whom graduated from Truman High School. The couple has lived in Taylor except for their college years. They moved back to Taylor to be close to family and to give back to the community. Stellini feels that by being involved with the Taylor Reading Corps, she can make a direct impact on enhancing students’ early literacy skills and on their joy of learning.
Debbie’s favorite book? “I have a collection of a few hundred cookbooks,” she said. “One of my favorites is the 1916 edition of the White House Cookbook.”
Debbie’s favorite children’s book is “Goodnight Moon.” “I loved reading it with my children when they were younger,” she said.
Why is Debbie involved in the TRC? “The Taylor Reading Corps will not only prepare our students to be proficient readers with a passion for life-long learning, but will also foster community and parental involvement,” she said. “It has already united the Board of Education, administration and our employees, rallying us around higher expectations for our students, preparing them for future success and encouraging them to dream big.”
Karl Ziomek - Vice Chairman, Chair of the PR/Marketing Committee
Karl Ziomek is the former managing editor of The News-Herald Newspapers and executive editor of Heritage Media, which includes newspapers in other portions of Monroe, Wayne and Washtenaw counties, reaching over 200,000 print readers on a weekly basis and drawing 1.3 million monthly visits on its various websites, including thenewsherald.com and heritage.com. Ziomek held the highest-ranking editorial post at the News-Herald from 1990 until August 2011. Before that, he served in several roles with Downriver’s largest newspaper, the majority of his time as sports editor between 1979-89. He joined the organization in late 1979. Under his leadership, the News-Herald was named “Newspaper of the Year” by the Michigan Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest from 1990 until 2010, a run unmatched by any other newspaper in any other circulation category in the state. The News-Herald was named national “Newspaper of the Year” twice by the Suburban Newspapers Association, and once by the Inland Press Association. Ziomek earned numerous individual writing and editing awards during his career, including sharing the 2010 Breaking News Story honor for the NH’s coverage of the fatal shooting of Taylor Police Officer Matthew Edwards. Ziomek served as president of the Michigan Press Association in 2009 after holding various posts on the MPA Board of Directors for over a decade. He is a graduate of Edsel Ford High School in Dearborn and Wayne State University in Detroit, and was named WSU’s “Journalism Alumnus of the Year” in 1997. Ziomek and his wife, Lori, live in Northville and have two adult children.
Karl’s favorite book is “War and Remembrance,” by Herman Wouk.
Karl’s favorite children’s book is “The Little Engine That Could,” or any of the “Curious George” series.
Why is Karl involved in the TRC? “Reading opens the door to everything good in life. Without an effective start in reading, children can be left behind – and we don’t want to leave anyone behind.”
Linda Moore - Secretary
Linda Moore has been a middle school teacher for 13 years and is current executive secretary for Taylor Federation of Teachers AFT Local 1085 AFL-CIO. Moore holds a BS and Teacher Certification from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and an MA in Teaching from Marygrove College. She is the proud parent of three children. Sons Theodore and Matthew are both graduates of John F. Kennedy High School and daughter Megan is currently a sophomore at Kennedy. A grandson, Noah, is a future student of the Taylor School District. Moore’s favorite activities include reading, the theater, cooking, and home fixing things around my home.
Linda’s favorite book? “While I love to read all types of books and am always into at least one, my favorite book of all time is the ‘Thorn Birds’ by Colleen McCullough. It is just a good story. Historical fiction is also one of my favorite genres as they are entertaining as well as educational.”
Linda’s favorite children’s book? “My favorite children’s book is ‘Brown Bear Brown Bear’ by Bill Martin with illustrations by Eric Carle. This is a great book for young children as it is a repetitive story and has very colorful illustrations to hold a child’s attention.”
Why is Linda involved in the TRC? “I became involved in the Taylor Reading Corps because I have seen children struggle with their education because of poor reading skills. Formal instruction in reading ends at the end of third grade. If children are not reading by the time they leave third grade, they are at risk of failing and eventually dropping out of school. The Taylor Reading Corps offers the help that young struggling students need in order to be successful not only in school but for a lifetime.”
Linda Newsome - Treasurer, Chairwoman of the Finance Committee
Linda Newsome is a retired teacher and a member of the Taylor Board of Education. She has a Bachelor’s of Arts from Marshall University and a Master’s in Education from Wayne State. Linda and her husband Arnold have two sons, Arnie and James, both graduates of Taylor Center High School.
Linda’s favorite book is “Pride and Prejudice,” by Jane Austin. “Pride and Prejudice introduced me to social commentary in fiction,” she said.
Linda’s favorite children's book? “Madeline-Madeline is a charming, impetuous and gutsy little girl who is a unique role model for girls,” she said.
Why is Linda involved in the TRC? “I became involved in the TRC because I believe that reading is the key to academic success,” she said. “ The TRC can assist those struggling readers realize that success.”
Loren Ristovski - Chairman of Fundraising Committee
Loren Ristovski is the athletic director for the Taylor School District. He is a big believer in “educational athletics,” which promotes social and academic development of the participating students. Previous to coming to Taylor, he was the athletic director and basketball coach in Harper Woods. Ristovski is one of only 1% of athletic directors nationwide to be a certified athletic administrator, holding a Master’s Degree in Education from Saginaw Valley State University, where is began coaching while he was still attending school. He’s a member of a family of cagers: Loren played basketball overseas, brother Dean has coached at University Liggett School in Grosse Pointe Woods and daughters Madison (who has committed to play at the University of Michigan) and Haleigh play at ULS.
Nancy Myers - Director
Nancy Myers has lived in Taylor for most of her life. Nancy’s husband, Jack Myers, and three children, Sally Villaseñor, Robin Lenhart and James Myers, are all graduates from John F. Kennedy High School. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. She is a retired Taylor School District teacher, having taught grades kindergarten through 8th grade and also taught American History to high school students. Myers was the president of the Taylor Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 1085, AFL-CIO and a vice president for AFT-Michigan for 14 years. She likes to spend time with family, especially grandchildren. She likes to read, play golf, walk and travel.
Nancy’s favorite book? “I read a lot. I really do not have a favorite book but I enjoy reading the Stephanie Plum Series written by Janet Evanovich. These books make me laugh and help relieve stress.”
Nancy’s favorite children’s book? “It is ‘Frog and Toad are Friends.’ The stories in the book are funny and teach lessons about friendship.”
Why is Nancy involved in the TRC? “I got involved with TRC because, as a retired teacher (spending most of my teaching career teaching elementary students), I know that many children would benefit from extra attention provided by a caring adult volunteer.”
Armando Sardanopoli - Chairman of the Volunteer Committee
Armando Sardanopoli has lived in Grosse Ile Township for 25 years. He is retired from BASF in Wyandotte. He has been a member of the Taylor Rotary Club for 11 years. He was also on the Grosse Ile Board of Education from 1994 to 1998. He is married to Barbara (44 years) and they have two children and three grandchildren – and a fourth on the way.
Armando’s favorite book? “I don’t make time to read books but do enjoy reading Time magazine and technical plastics journals to keep up on current events and current plastic industry developments.”
Armando’s favorite children’s book? “I love the Dr. Seuss series of books. It is fun to read and enjoy the reaction of the kids.”
Why is Armando involved in the TRC? “I got involved with the TRC committee because I wanted to help the kids in the Taylor schools. Which is why I am a Taylor Rotary Club member, to help the community of Taylor as a whole.”
Rick Sollars- Director
Rick Sollars is a lifelong resident of the city of Taylor, current member of City Council and a businessman in the area. The 1992 graduate of Taylor Center High School who also attended Henry Ford Community College, Sollars is the owner of multiple manufacturing companies -- Kutrite Manufacturing, Elkins Machine and Tool, Multi Machining Capabilities and the Galaxy Group. He has served on the Planning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, Taylor Housing Authority and the master plan steering committee. He also serves on the board of the Taylor Conservatory. He and wife Alicia are the parents of son Carson and daughter Peyton.
Josie Hampton - Volunteer Coordinator
AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer Josie Hampton has served in AmeriCorps State and VISTA programs since January 2010. Prior to joining AmeriCorps, she worked in the information technology field providing telecommunications support for a major automotive company and later for a local non-profit.
With an increasing desire to give back to the community and make a difference in the lives of others, Josie joined AmeriCorps and served for two years in a program providing assistance to returning citizens. Serving at the Taylor Reading Corps allows the wonderful opportunity of impacting the lives of children through reading - which is so crucial to educational achievement/success.
Josie enjoys reading novels by Robert Ludlum and the Stephanie Plum series of books by Janet Evanovich.
Emily Sweeney- Volunteer Coordinator
AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer Emily Sweeney is a resident of Wyandotte. She graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2012 with a bachelors degree in Social Work and a 30 hour Art degree.
Why is Emily involved at the TRC?
"I was drawn to the Reading Corps for two reasons. The first, I have a passion for books and literacy, especially in connection with children. The second being the sense of ownership the community has possessed in regards to the program and the futures of the children involved. This program is the ultimate definition of what community is and should be. Seeing a problem and coming together to make a positive change not only in the present but also for the future."
Emily's Favorite Book:
"Choosing a favorite book is difficult, I become attached to all the books I read. My favorite genres however are Auto-Biography, Biography and Historical Ficton because I get enjoyment in knowing the experiences the author is sharing are real and personal."
Emily's Favorite Childrens Book: Ronald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
"I remember my dad reading me this book before bed when I was little and just visualizing the story in my head. The story is magical and full of hope, it transported me to an amazing place with amazing characters. Thats what a good book should do, invoke imagination."