OUR BOARD

Basel Karabala – President

Basel Karabala is a business owner here in Stockton for over 13 years. He is a graduate of University of California Davis. He describes himself as having the library almost as a second home growing up. His mother would routinely drive him and his siblings from school to the library so they could finish all of their school projects. Having been raised and lived in Stockton for almost 30 years, Karabala took full advantage of Stockton’s public libraries as an elementary and high school student. Now as a business owner, he has the ability to give back to the community. Being a board member of the Library and Literacy Foundation for San Joaquin County has given him the opportunity to address the needs of the community by raising awareness related to literacy. It doesn’t just take a village to raise a child, but a strong public library system that will give a child the educational tools he/she needs to be a successful and productive individual.

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Tabia Lee, Ed.D. – Vice President

Tabia Lee, Ed.D. (known simply as “Lee”) is an independent educational sociologist that has contributed to the design, implementation, and evaluation of numerous educational and professional development programs.  Her commitment to teacher education, social justice and pedagogical design is grounded in a decade of experience as a National Board Certified English, Civics, and Social Studies teacher in urban American public middle schools.  Dr. Lee prepares K-12 and higher education faculty to work with culturally and linguistically diverse students by illuminating pedagogical and ideological intersectionality with a focus on critical literacy and teacher ideology-in-practice. One of her favorite books to share with others is The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes.

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Ash Chaudhry – Treasurer

Ash Chaudhry is the University Compliance Officer at University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA. He is a graduate of University of the Pacific and holds a master’s degree in Chemistry. Ash has lived in San Joaquin County for the last thirty seven years.A sh grew up in an environment where there were no opportunities to read but wanted to read. He knows the value of early childhood reading skills to learning and a successful carrier. As a parent he encourages his children to read. Serving on the board for the Library and Literacy Foundation provides him opportunity to serve our local community in an area of basic yet critical literacy need. In his spare time, Ash likes to play racquetball, ski downhill, travel with family, and do some gardening. His favorite books growing up were the textbooks for his classes. He did his reading under the light of Aladdin’s lamp as there was no electricity in his village.

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Sally Teigen – Secretary

Sally Teigen is a freelance writer and marketing consultant with a background in finance. She has worked for newspapers, broker-dealers and in economic development. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English at Northern Arizona University, where she also discovered a love for studying the French, Russian and Latin languages. She believes that a love for reading can be discovered at any age and hopes that she can help make a difference in the community by volunteering as a Board Member. She would like to help expand literacy opportunities for both children and adults. Originally from San Diego, Sally is new to Northern California. She and her husband Tolen are busy raising three young boys and are passionate about reading together as a family. As a young girl, she remembers being lost in the world of Nancy Drew, Ramona and The Baby-Sitters Club. In her spare time she enjoys beach visits to Santa Cruz and camping in Yosemite.

Jack Jacobs

Jack Jacobs has had a 40-year career with The Stockton Record Newspaper’s Ad Services Department. His main duty is to “dummy” each edition, reserving space in the paper for all of the advertising. He is a local boy, attending local schools before receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from California State University, Sacramento. One of his earliest and fuzziest memories is of his mother taking him to the old Stockton Public Library on Center Street long before Caesar Chavez was ever built. So for him, being able to serve as a first-time board member for the Library Literacy Foundation brings him full circle. Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island has always been his favorite book, and in their rare spare time Jack and his wife Ramona enjoy exploring the Northern California haunts of all their favorite authors.

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Rebecca H. Sem

Rebecca Harrison Sem has been on the Board since 2013. Rebecca is Stockton native, and currently works as an attorney for the Stockton law firm Kroloff, Belcher, Smart, Perry and Christopherson. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Rebecca taught English for five years, both locally and abroad in Japan. During this time, she earned her Master’s Degree in Education, with a focus in literacy, from the University of Missouri, Columbia. Although Rebecca is no longer in the classroom, she remains passionate about literacy issues, particularly when it comes to improving literacy rates and access to library services in San Joaquin County area. As a Board member, she wants to help increase awareness and public support of the Foundation so that it can continue support programs that promote the local Library system and literacy programs in San Joaquin County.

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Susan J. Ollis

Susan J. Ollis is a 16 year veteran with Stockton Unified School District. She currently teaches 2nd grade at Wilhelmina Henry Elementary. She is a National Board Certified teacher, has a Masters in Education, and Multiple Subject and Reading Specialist teaching credentials. Susan rows on Stockton Rowing Clubs masters competitive crew and spends much of her free time on the water or in the gym. She has many favorite books, but top of the list is the American classic Huckleberry Finn. Favorite motivator, “How you prepare yourself determines what results you get-” Michael Phelps

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Nathan Werth

Nathan Werth is a grant writer and program developer within the non-profit community in San Joaquin County. He operates the San Joaquin Grant Assistance Program (GAP), which provides free training and grant writing support to non-profits. Nathan has also worked with various community groups and volunteer programs, including the Little Free Library Association of Stockton and the San Joaquin Pride Center. The focus of his work is social equality, and he sees education and literacy as a foundational component in achieving that goal. Nathan was raised on stories; comic books, science fiction, fantasy, and he feels that the wonder of storytelling is one of the great commonalities between all people. In his free time Nate enjoys strategy games, community volunteer efforts, and being a human jungle gym for his daughter, Morgan.

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Sharon Tweedy

Sharon Tweedy has retired after 20 years of teaching primary level with Stockton Unified School District. Retirement has given her time to volunteer for several literacy projects including Latino Family Literacy Project, Summer Reading Project, Let’s Chat for conversational ESL learners, securing books for the Rotary Club of Stockton’s adopted school, Spanos Elementary, as well as assisting many classroom teachers with their language arts groups. Her goal on the Library and Literacy Foundation board is to have the board become a presence in the community while assisting its literacy needs. Fond childhood memories include the Little House on the Prairie series and any book that featured a horse!

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Angela Dennis

As the daughter of two parents who prioritized God and reading over everything else, Angela knew early on that her purpose in life included serving and writing. She spent countless hours reading in the library as a child, and the Britannica Encyclopedia set that her parents purchased proved to be a great investment! She has written several articles, edited multiple books, and hosted independent radio and television broadcast programs. But a funny thing happened on her way to becoming the next top journalist – Angela became a crusader for health equity and literacy efforts. Angela believes health equity and literacy are part of the building blocks that support holistic care. She contends that individuals with less education are more likely to experience a number of health risks. She says, “You are the head honcho in charge of your health. You can’t take control of your own health outcomes if you don’t understand how to navigate the health care system, read instructions, fill out forms, or locate needed services.” Before joining the Library & Literacy Foundation Board in 2017, Angela found fun ways to fundraise for libraries, build Little Free Libraries, lead book drives and recruit partners to participate in events like Family Day in the Park and Rotary Read-in. She hopes that her work on the Board serves as an impetus for leaders, as well as community residents, to invest in the future of literacy programs. Angela says, “There’s nothing akin to exploring the world through black and white pages that originated in brown roots and dreaming in shades of every color.”

Past Board Member Profiles