Meet Our Board

Dr. Kara Murphy Gregory, Ph.D. 

Founder and Executive Director

Dr. Kara Murphy Gregory serves on the Advisory board for Front Street Writers at the TBAISD Career-Tech Center and on the School Advisory Committee for St. Mary School of Lake Leelanau. She is also a member of the Everybody Reads Think Tank.

Kara received her doctorate from Michigan State University in Family and Child Ecology with an emphasis on Child Development in the areas of social-emotional development, literacy, play, and early childhood education. She received a MA from Eastern Michigan University in Early Childhood Education and a BS from Central Michigan in Child Development and Education.

Kara has co-authored multiple editions of two text books: Guiding Children’s Social Development and Learning and Scaffolding Emergent Literacy. She created a training program for the state of Michigan on early literacy entitled Playful Literacy and You! (PLaY!) in the early 2000s that is still being used today. Kara taught as an adjunct Assistant Professor for Michigan State University, teaching courses in early childhood education, play, parenting, and guiding children’s social development. She has worked privately as an Early Childhood and Early Literacy Consultant.

Her teaching experiences in infant-toddler, preschool, kindergarten, and first-grade classrooms continue to inform her work. Her best experience, however, comes from living her profession daily with her husband and six children.

Karla Gerds 


Karla is a legal assistant at the public interest law firm, Olson, Bzdok & Howard. Karla has a BA in History and a Post Baccalaureate Paralegal Certificate from Oakland University. Karla brings her lifelong passion for reading and her legal experience to the PoWeR! Book Bags board. Karla and her husband Jim moved to Traverse City in 2014 with their four children.

Leslie McInerney 


Leslie is an educator with 28 years of teaching experience in Early Childhood. She most recently taught kindergarten for fifteen years. Previous to that, she owned a preschool where she also served as the director and one of the teachers. She has also worked with children in other grade levels as a tutor and teacher.

Leslie received her BS in Education from Central Michigan University with a major in Child Development and minor in Reading. Leslie lives in Saginaw, MI with her husband. She has two sons.

Northern Advisory Board
Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, and Wexford counties

Penny Campo-Pierce       Mary Woods

Kathy Walter         Gloria Dean


Nancy Pringle      Connie Riopelle


Leigh Fairey          Robert Randall

Shawn Walbecq

Southern Advisory Board
Mason, Lake, and Oceana counties

Kathy Bromley       Mykila Althouse

Lisa Makowicki      Jacquie Gerould

Patti Skinner          Kerri Wood

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