November 2016. board pictures 008


This all volunteer board is made up of community members, authors, teachers and literacy specialists who all know the importance of books for child development. They are founders and chairs of the Hudson Children’s Book Festival which brings many authors and their books to Hudson each May. Their involvement allows us to stay current on what we can do to promote kids reading and enjoying new books appropriate for each age group and reading level. Our librarian and reading teachers  helped us implement our first and very successful, “Thumbs Up” reading program leading up to awarding 4 book festival authors the first “Thumbs Up’ awards. Finally, faculty members of the board  know the students and help inform and advise us on our scholarship fund gifts each May.  


Susan Simon
Co-Founder, President
Susan is a James Beard award-winning author of cookbooks and travel guides as well as a translator from Italian to English. She writes about food and lifestyle for national, and regional periodicals, and newspapers. She presently writes a weekly food column for The Nantucket Inquirer & Mirror.

She moved to Hudson from New York City five years ago. She is delighted with the connection between her new hometown, and her second home of many years, Nantucket. Hudson was founded by Nantucket whalers and merchants in 1785.

She has been a mentor with the Hudson Reads program for over 4 years, and is the co-founder of the Hudson Children’s Book Festival Literacy Fund.


Christine Jones
Co-Founder, Vice President
Chris was an Executive Producer and Business Development executive before moving from New York City to the Hudson Valley. She and her husband owned the Red Barn restaurant in Ghent for fifteen years. She is a New York State Licensed Real Estate agent, is a vendor at the Hudson Farmers Market  and is  co-founder of the Winter Indoor Farmers Market. She is on the board of the Hudson Development Corporation and is a Trustee of The Olana Partnership. Chris has been a mentor with the Hudson Reads program for over 5 years and is the co-founder of the Hudson Children’s Book Festival Literacy Fund.


Nancy Barber
Nancy Barber is an artist whose interests revolve around food.  She began her varied career with a portable video camera, documenting home cooks with a series of shows that aired on cable TV in the  1970s. She also photographed food and her photographs were featured in numerous art shows. As a journalist she wrote for downtown newspapers. In the 1980s,  Nancy was a chef in her restaurant in Chelsea, New York. Currently  she works mostly in ceramics, making  an abundance of large, usable objects for the table and garden. She also taught school, is an avid reader and a lover of kids books and especially kids!


Melissa Brown
Melissa has taught first grade in the Hudson City School District for nineteen years. Her Masters thesis explored the role that reading aloud has on children’s literacy and found it is a critical component in teaching children how to read and greatly impacts their literacy. Her mission has been to provide students with good quality literature that sparks their interest in reading. She is dedicated to the Hudson Children’s Book Festival because it has provided the Hudson community with access to amazing books, authors and illustrators. Melissa has loved to read her whole life!


Laurie Campbell
Laurie has been teaching elementary school students in the Hudson City School District for the last 5 years. She is the Literacy Coach for the Montgomery C Smith Middle School and is the coordinator of the Hudson Reads lunch mentoring program.


Jen Clark
Jen has been teaching literacy in the Hudson City School District for the last ten years. She is an Academic Intervention Services and reading teacher for the Seventh Grade. Jen is also the Co-Director of the Hudson Children’s Book Festival.


Lisa Dolan
Lisa has spent more than thirty years as an educator in the Hudson City School District promoting literacy to students, their parents and the community of Hudson. In 2008 she became the Literacy Coach for the Hudson City School District. In 2009, she created and directed the First Annual Hudson Children’s Book Festival and continues as the Co-Director. And in 2010, Lisa founded “Hudson Reads,” a community reading-mentor-partnership that pairs students in grade three through six with a weekly volunteer reading partner.

She sits as a member of the New York State Commissioner’s Advisory Panel for English Language Arts, she has reviewed English Language Arts Curriculum for New York State, and supervises scorers of Ed-TPA Exams in Elementary Literacy for Pearson/North America.

Lisa is a September 2014 TEDx Speaker, “Fostering Literacy In One Fell Stroke” and she was named “Best Educator in Columbia County” by the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce in June of 2016. She remains a life-long learner and lover of the written word.


Jennifer Merwin-Domkoski
Jennifer is a native of Chatham NY where she still resides. She has a Masters degree in special Education and Literacy and is a self –defined, life-long learner. Jennifer believes that all students will find a love of literacy, once they find the right book to spark it.


Virginia Martin
Virginia earned a PhD from RPI in communication and rhetoric. She is Columbia County’s Democratic Election Commissioner and serves on the boards of Friends of Taconic State Park and Classics on Hudson. She is also 1st Vice Regent at the Hendrick Hudson Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She is a past board member of Literacy Volunteers of America, Greene and Columbia Counties. Virginia has been an enthusiastic Hudson Reads mentor for the last five years.


Anna Skoda
Anna is has been an elementary school librarian in the Hudson City School District and the Catskill School District for fifteen years. Currently, Anna is the librarian at John L. Edwards elementary school in Hudson.