Board of Directors

Maria Hayley
Founder & Board of Directors – President

Ms. Hayley, who holds a Master of Arts in Library Science from Dominican University (formerly Rosary College), has more than 30 years’ experience in the library field. She specialized in correctional librarianship, young adult services, children’s services, programming, product development, outreach and administration. She has a record of innovations in these areas of endeavor. Her work has had neighborhood, citywide and national exposure. Additionally, through her studies at the Erikson Institute, the National Teachers Academy and independent studies with Clinical Professor of Pediatrics Emeritus at Harvard Medical School, T. Berry Brazelton, M.D., she has added expertise in early childhood development. Ms. Hayley’s background is context for continued search for cutting edge information impacting the mission of The Freadom® Road Foundation which is to break the cycle of intergenerational incarceration.

During her ten years’ experience as administrative librarian at the Cook County Department of Corrections (Cook County Jail) in Chicago, Illinois, Maria Hayley realized that many of the children born to incarcerated parents would likely follow in their parents’ footsteps. She decided to dedicate her life to discover ways to prevent and alter these probable futures. The continued search for root causes and solutions to intergenerational incarceration is the work of The Freadom® Road Foundation which she founded.

Ms. Hayley has been an accreditation consultant to The Chicago Metropolitan Correctional Center Education Department for 20 years and served on various boards including: The Cook County Department of Corrections Literacy Board (which she founded), the Local School Council of The Cook County Jail High School, The (Chicago) North Avenue Business Association, The Kiwanis Club of Lake View Foundation for Physically and Mentally Challenged Children ,The Family Focus-Englewood-Lawndale Advisory Board and The Board of the Jessie “Ma” Houston Prison Outpost of Rainbow Push Coalition.

Ms. Hayley’s awards include: Librarian of the Year (Chicago Pubic Library), Malcolm X Chicago City College Award, Spirit of Sulzer Regional Library Award, Chicago Torch of Service Award (The Chicago Library Heritage Society), A Gateway Foundation Award and awards from organizations, agencies and businesses in various Chicago Neighborhoods she has served. Before retiring from the library profession she was awarded a Proclamation from the City Council.

Martín J. Gómez
Board of Directors – Vice President

Martín J. Gómez is President/CEO of MJ Gómez Associates LLC, an independent consulting firm that was created to support the work of libraries and nonprofit organizations. The focus of his firm is to help organizations review and refine their priorities through strategic planning, organization assessment, resource alignment, and executive recruitment. Recent clients include Macalester College, Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries, City of Carpinteria, Free Library of Philadelphia, Chattanooga Public Library, the Digital Public Library of America, and the Monterey County Free Library in California.

Throughout his career Martín has provided leadership in academic and public libraries, as well as several nonprofit organizations. Before starting his consulting firm, Martín served as Vice Dean of Libraries at the University of Southern California, General Manager and City Librarian for the Los Angeles Public Library, Executive Director of the Brooklyn Public Library, and Director of the Oakland Public Library. His non-profit experience includes serving as President/CEO of the Urban Libraries Council, and Executive Director of the Friends and Foundation of the San Francisco Public Library.

Martín is well known for his political skills. He points to having helped establish the African American Museum and Library at Oakland, spearheading a digital revolution at the Brooklyn Public Library, and galvanizing voter support in Los Angeles for the passage of Measure L, a city charter amendment that provides a guaranteed, incremental set-aside from the City’s general fund for the Los Angeles Public Library.

In 2012, Martín completed a ten-year term as a board member at Sesame Workshop – the non-profit parent company of Emmy-award winning Sesame Street – and Poets House, both located in New York City. Additional non-profit board experience includes serving on the executive board of the American Library Association, and the board of directors of the Online Computer Library Center, (OCLC) based in Dublin, OH.

Martín recently completed his second term as an elected member of the Council of the American Library Association and recently served as president, Board of Directors for the Santa Cruz Public Libraries.

Martín holds a BA in English from the University of California, Los Angeles and received his Master’s in Library Science from the University of Arizona where he received the 2001 Outstanding Alumnus Award from the College of Behavior Sciences.

Anna Crockett
Board of Directors – Secretary

Anna Crockett is the Founder of Executive Function Matters – a coaching, tutoring and consulting entity based on cutting edge research findings in the neuroscience and cognitive sciences related to learning and the brain. It transforms students who find themselves overwhelmed and doubting their ability to succeed.

Prior to founding Executive Matters, Ms. Crockett was Director of the Miller Academic Center, Director of Learning Programs and Associate Director of Disabilities Services at the Virginia Military Institute.

She has attracted invitations from The University of Richmond as External Program Reviewer, from Washington and Lee University as faculty trainer, The International Mentoring Association as Conference Presenter and the College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA) as Conference Evaluation Chair.

She has served in leadership capacities in many local, regional, national and international organizations including the College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA) and the International Mentoring Association where she has held numerous positions including Chair, Treasurer and Region Director.

Ms. Crockett’s publications include “Executive Functions and Self-Regulated Learning” in the Handbook for Training Peer Tutors and Mentors edited by K. Agee and R. Hodges (2012). She has recently designed “Executive Functions/Academic Coaching: The G.R.I.T. Model (Goals, Responsibility, Initiative, Tenacity) Flow Chart. Some of her other works are cited as references in the prestigious Cengage Learning Textbook.

Frank Nicholas
Board of Directors – Treasurer

Fifty years of professional experience in art direction and the creative process of advertising including 40-years in management roles. Advertising agencies Frank worked for were Campbell-Mithun and Erwin Wasey, in Minnesota, Tatham, Laird & Kudner and Leo Burnett Company in Chicago. Frank was the designer of Chicago’s Best Show award, and was part of a secret committee of Chicago ad people that helped get the show started. Frank has won awards in numerous advertising and design competitions including: Clio Awards, New York Art Director’s Club Show, Chicago International Film Festival, The One Show, Effie Awards, Globus Awards, Addy Gold Award, Hermes Award, Art Director’s Club of Minneapolis and St. Paul, 100 Best Television Awards, etc. His ads and creative work have been featured in several editorial magazine articles such as Art Direction, Ad Age, Ad Week, Chicago Midwest Flash and others. Along with his numerous commercial client responsibilities, Frank was called upon to design and produce Christmas Cards and gift packages for Leo Burnett Company for over 20-years. He has created and produced hundreds of television commercials, print ads and package designs, winning prestigious awards in several categories. Since 1970, Frank has been actively involved in prison ministry where he taught an Art class at PACE Institute within the walls of Cook County Jail. During his ministry at PACE, some of Frank’s experiences are included in a book titled “The Man Who Keeps Going To Jail”… a story about Rev. John Erwin, founder of PACE Institute. PACE is now a significant part of Safer Foundation where detained men and women continue to work toward their GEDs and become law abiding citizens. Frank teaches Art to home-schooled children, creates advertising and other creative work for many charitable organizations including Safer Foundation, John Howard Association of Illinois, Inner City Impact, Chicago Crime Commission, Pacific Garden Mission and the Freadom® Road Foundation.

Sujin Huggins
Board of Directors

​Sujin B.E. Huggins, Ph.D. is a professor in the prestigious School of Information Studies at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois.

She teaches in the areas of youth services librarianship, reference, and community informatics. Her research interests include literature of the African diaspora for youth – particularly Caribbean children’s literature – critical pedagogy in Library Information Science (LIS), community informatics, storytelling, and taxonomy of folktales.

She has served on the American Library Association’s (ALA) Coretta Scott King Book Award Committee which annually selects African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that “demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values. The award commemorates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and honors his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood.” Dr. Huggins currently serves on the Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement Committee – a subcommittee of the Coretta Scott King Book Award Committee.

Dr. Huggins’ other professional association memberships include The International Research Society for Children’s Literature (IRSCL), and the United States Board of Books for Young People (USBBY).

Additionally, she served on the board of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS ) – funded Targeting Autism Project of the Illinois State Library and currently serves on the board of the Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature – one of the leading educational research centers in the field of multicultural literature.

Prior to pursuing the doctoral degree, Dr. Huggins worked as a children’s librarian at the Port of Spain Children’s Library of the National Library of Trinidad and Tobago.

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