Our Team Literacy For Kids Literacy For Kids

Meet Our Team

With backgrounds in a range of disciplines, our team is united by a shared passion for collaboration, the arts, and creating a better future for our students.

Jayne Rose-Vallee

Jayne Rose-Vallee

Jayne is an author and publisher of children’s books. She grew up on a farm in Battle Creek, Michigan, where her mother’s love of poetry and quick-witted humor sparked an early appreciation for good rhymes.

After raising three children, she wrote the "Dinosaurs Living in My Hair" series. She has received numerous national awards for each title.

Prior to Jayne’s publishing and writing career, she served as a board member to the Northeast Guidance Center (Northeast Integrated Health) in Detroit. During this time, she learned that a collective team effort helped empower positive change for mental health.

Jayne is passionate about working with children and helping to spark their imaginations and creative spirits through poetry, face-to-face interaction, and genuine enthusiasm. The formation of Literacy for Kids takes her simple vision and unites it with a broader group of participants, donors, and partners.

Jayne feels if one person can make a difference, then a community can increase results expeditiously.

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Collaboration is the way forward. To build an alliance between select authors and educators creates a powerful environment. The human connection is everything.

Jayne Rose-Vallee

Heather Mertz

Heather Mertz serves as the Literacy for Kids executive director. She leads the team to help create, develop, brand, and market the foundation. As a prominent face of the organization, Heather builds philanthropic opportunities and maintains long-term relationships with key donors.

Her consistent community outreach increases the foundation’s visibility. She collaborates with the accountants and financial advisors to prepare and propose annual budgets.

Heather has a background in elementary education. Her genuine love and appreciation for education is a perfect fit with LFK. She comes from a love-of-reading place which she has instilled in her own children. Moving the foundation forward allows her to share this affection for reading and art with students across the country. Driven by this passion, Heather continues to see children and educators as the heart of what she does.

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Heather Mertz
Julee Mertz

Julee Mertz

In 2019, Julee Mertz joined the Literacy for Kids board of directors. Julee, the founder of Big City Swing Dance Studio, has appeared and coached in a variety of films. The transfer of energy and sense of community from her dance career is a perfect fit to serve on the LFK board of directors.

Raising two children in the melting pot of Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods gives her firsthand knowledge of how the arts can unify and strengthen young students. Her appreciation and love of movement parallels the LFK consistent theme, “teach without children realizing it….ignite a fire under them to see the world through a different lens….spark imagination and creative thinking.”

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Carlie is a creatively driven high school student. She believes literacy tends to be socially constrained to the concepts of reading and writing, but it has shaped her through various art forms and media.

Music has played an impactful role in who she is today. She plays saxophone in the Jazz Orchestra and is the drum major in the high school marching band.

Along with this, Carlie constantly explores new music to understand different musical genres and their historical social perspectives. She believes literature encompasses all forms of creativity. LFK gives her the platform to share this vision.

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Our collaborators.

As an extension of our Literacy for Kids team, we work with an amazing group of celebrated authors, artists, musicians, and Foundations. A few of our recent collaborations are featured below.

Green Pants by Kenneth Kraegel
Green Pants
By: Kenneth Kraegel
Everything Naomi Loved By Katie Yamaski & Ian Lendler
Everything Naomi Loved
By: Katie Yamaski & Ian Lendler
Sam & Dave Dig a Hole By Mac Barnett
Sam & Dave Dig a Hole
By: Mac Barnett
Finding Langston by Lesa Cline Ransome
Finding Langston
By: Lesa Cline Ransome