Kavita Amar is Senior Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs at New Line Cinema, where she has managed all of the legal aspects of production on theatrical motion pictures such as “Sex and the City,” “Sex and the City 2,” “The Conjuring,” “The Conjuring 2,” “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island,” “Horrible Bosses 2” and Stephen King’s “IT.” Prior to going in-house, Kavita worked as an entertainment and business litigation attorney at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, as an employment attorney at O’Melveny & Myers LLP, and clerked for a federal judge in the Western District of Washington. She attended the University of California at Berkeley, where she double majored in English and Economics. She received her joint J.D./M.B.A. from the University of Southern California. Kavita’s passion for writing led her to publish her poetry in a local magazine when she was in high school, and later she published a novel entitled “L.A. Style”—a fun, glamorous chick-lit read with an insider’s view of the City of Angels. An avid reader, Kavita recalls her childhood imagination being sparked by A Wrinkle in Time, From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and The Wizard of Oz. She also appreciated everything she learned from Judy Blume’s novels. When not reading, writing, or watching movies, Kavita enjoys international travel, trying out new restaurants, and working out.
Jill Casselman is an associate in the Los Angeles office of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi LLP. She is a business litigator and trial attorney with experience representing both plaintiffs and defendants in all stages of litigation up through, and including, trial. Her practice focuses on business and property litigation in state and federal courts. One of Jill’s favorite children’s books is Roald Dahl’s Matilda.
Born and raised in Cincinnati , OH, Gail moved to southern CA with her husband Mike in 1983. She attended California State University at Long Beach from 1987-1991 and earned a BS in Business Finance. She opened South Bay Sports Medicine Physical Therapy, an outpatient rehabilitation clinic, in Torrance, CA with her husband and two partners in 1988.
She continues to work as Manager/Administrator for SBSM, which employs 20 people. She’s been married for 30 years, and has two sons, Ryan, born in 1989, and Travis, born in 1993. Gail has been an Access Books board member since 2001. She became involved when she organized a book drive at her son’s elementary school. One of her favorite children’s books is Bob and Jack: A Boy and His Yak, by Jeff Moss.
Tikisha Harris (advisory)
Tikisha Harris has successfully taught a broad range of subjects for public schools and private companies in different areas of the United States and abroad. She earned a Bachelors of Arts degree from Clark Atlanta University in Spanish Education and a Masters of Arts in Multicultural Education from California State University, Dominguez Hills. Tikisha also has a Masters of Library and Information Science from San Jose State University. Her goal is to empower students to be critical thinkers, enthusiastic readers, skillful researchers, and ethical users of information for the 21st century. She currently works as a Teacher Librarian at Meyler Street Elementary School in Torrance, California. Tikisha feels like there is no better job than teaching. She finds children to be a constant source of amazement. She likes working with children of all ages and finds watching them learn and grow as people to be extremely rewarding. Her favorite children’s book is The Big Box by Toni Morrison.
Eric Komar is a senior manager of corporate real estate at Fox Corporation, where he manages projects and strategic initiatives at the historic Fox Studios lot in Century City and across the company's domestic portfolio. Previously, he led real estate & development efforts for a public agency in Sacramento and advised on real estate matters for a major research university.
He has been actively involved in organizations such as the Urban Land Institute, Association of University Real Estate Officials, and numerous efforts to promote affordable housing and smart growth.
Originally from the East Coast, he graduated with a degree in English from the University of Delaware. An avid reader and firm believer in the opportunities reading unlocks, some of his favorite books from his childhood include Where the Wild Things Are, Call of the Wild, and anything by Roald Dahl.
M.e. was born and raised in New Jersey and later attended Carnegie Mellon where she studied drama. Then Los Angeles called and she never looked back. After years of acting, she has shifted her focus to philanthropy. When her daughters were growing up, Goodnight Moon was a a favorite book to share. She is now happily reading it to her grandchildren.
Carina Oghoorian is the Director of Communications for Woodcrest School K8 in Tarzana, CA. She received her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Maryland before continuing on to earn an MA in Elementary Education with a focus on Language & Literacy from San Francisco State. Having spent many years as a classroom teacher and reading specialist, Carina took a leave from the classroom to help launch and develop ACap Advisors & Accountants with her husband. She also spent 5 years actively involved in her sons’ elementary school PTA, serving as president for over two of those years.
Carina is thrilled to serve Access Books after first participating in library refurbishments in 2014 and falling in love with the mission and outcomes. Her favorite book of all time is Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese while her favorite YA book is Wonder by R. J. Palacio.
Marcia Sidney-Reed (advisory)
Marcia Sidney-Reed is a proud product of the Los Angeles Unified School District with experience as a student, a playground supervisor, a teacher, a coordinator, and an administrator. She moved from the playground to the principalship. Mrs. Reed is currently the Principal of 186th Street Elementary School. She received her professional training at the University of Southern California where she received a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science Degrees in Education. She received her administrative credential from California State University, Dominguez Hills.
Under Mrs. Reed’s leadership, 186th Street was awarded the prestigious California Gold Ribbon School Award and the California Distinguished School Award by the California Department of Education, a Title I Academic Achievement School Award, an Arts Banner School Award, an Honor Roll Award from the California Business for Education Excellence, a Golden Bell Award for Collaborative Community Partnerships from the California School Boards Association, and a National Award for Peace Collaboratives from the Peace First Organization.
Mrs. Reed lives in Long Beach, California with her husband Marty, and she is the proud mother of three young adult children, Maree, Marques, and Marti. They are known as the “Mar” Reed family. She firmly believes “every child deserves a golden opportunity and every golden opportunity deserves a child; the opportunity is waiting for a courageous leader to just ask.” With the joy of reading, her students are soaring academically, artistically, and peacefully!!! She encourages her students to read to lead so they can go places in their wildest imagination. Her favorite book is Oh, The Place You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss.
Steve Sines is very mysterious.
Jake Wheelock is an Investment Analyst at Focused Investors LLC – a multi-billion dollar investment fund located in Los Angeles. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a B.A. in Business Economics.
Jake is passionate about promoting reading and literacy. His all-time favorite children’s book is Yertle the Turtle.
Shelly Wood has dedicated her career to working with underserved youth. She spent the first twenty years of her career working for the California Department of Corrections, Division of Juvenile Justice. She was involved with implementing two nationally recognized state-wide programs, one focusing on restorative justice and the other focusing on arts and cultural Programming. Additionally, she started an intramural sports program. As a consultant, she had the opportunity to travel the country training justice advocates to implement similar programs to rehabilitate juvenile offenders.
Since leaving corrections, Shelly’s worked with local charities that focus on programs designed to empower children, helping them to stay out of the criminal justice system. Through grant writing and coordinating special events, she has raised millions of dollars for nonprofit organizations, state agencies, and individuals. She’s also partnered with various Title 1 elementary schools and numerous law enforcement agencies, helping bring much needed resources benefiting children.
Shelly received the Doris Tate Crime Victims Governor’s Award, was recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice for assisting crime victims, was awarded Victim Advocate of the Year by the LA City Attorney’s Office, was recognized by the NFL Retired Players Association, was recognized by the California’s Attorney General for her involvement with the Law Enforcement-Education Cadre, and was Teacher of the Year for the University of Phoenix, Dept. of Criminal Justice.
Shelly received her Juris Doctorate degree from Western State University School of Law, did her graduate studies in Public Administration at Wayne State University, and earned a double BA in Economics & Management and Political Science from Albion College located in Michigan.
Shelly served as the first full-time Executive Director for the Water Buffalo Club, a men’s organization that raises funds for children’s charities in Los Angeles county. It was during this time that Shelly fell in love with Access Books and she’s been committed to this organization ever since. Shelly’s favorite children’s book is The Little Prince.