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What We Do

The Spitfire Club is an extracurricular book club built around a collection of children's literature featuring strong, diverse, female protagonists. By creating demand for and building an inclusive community around diverse girl-positive books, The Spitfire Club enhances literacy and social-emotional skills, nurturing each Spitfire's love of reading, love of self, and love for Spitfires across all communities. 

Spitfire partners with outside of school time programs (schools, affordable housing communities, recreation centers, libraries, and similar groups) to offer Spitfire Clubs on a weekly basis, with a focus on Spitfires who face structural and systemic barriers to literacy, visibility, opportunity, and liberation. We are a trusted, authentic, culturally responsive partner that embodies the Spitfire’s values of curiosity, resilience, empathy, authenticity, tenacity, and empowerment. 

Learn more about our ambitious vision and the impact we strive to have in our Theory of Change.

Who We Are

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AMANDA HAZELWOOD

Executive Director

Amanda is the founder and Executive Director of The Spitfire Club, an innovative nonprofit book club and empowerment community for girls. Amanda launched Spitfire in Alexandria, Virginia in 2017 and has since built Spitfire to serve over 322 girls in the DC-metro area and beyond. Amanda offers her experience of over a decade working in nonprofit management, fundraising, and strategic planning, while also bringing to bear nine years’ experience in the classroom, including four years with a literacy nonprofit working in DC Public Schools and over five years leading ESOL instruction for members of the immigrant community. Amanda is Chair of the Alexandria City Children Youth and Families Collaborative Commission, a member of the Agenda: Alexandria board of directors, and 2021 Alexandria Chamber of Commerce "Forty under Forty" recipient. She is a graduate of American University. 

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KARA CASHWELL

Program Advisor, Mentor

Kara Cashwell lives in Northern Virginia and has been a teacher for nearly a decade, specializing in reading and literacy instruction. A 2018 Teacher of the Year Nominee, Kara loves teaching and finding new ways to impart critical learning skills. "My favorite moments in teaching are always when an academic conversation inspires curiosity beyond the curriculum." She is also the founder of My Rockin' Tutor, a private tutoring firm that does 1:1 tutoring, small group learning, and parent coaching. Kara is passionate about diverse representation in books and has always been a book pioneer - something that drew her to Spitfire Club years ago. Kara loves to travel and can boast stamps in her passport from Ghana, Dubai, Nepal, Thailand, Canada, Mexico, and The Dominican Republic!

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LORRAINE RIOS

Mentor

Lorraine Rios specializes in media sciences as a school media specialist, but she began her professional career as a chemical engineer AND she is also an illustrator! Lorraine is currently pursuing her Master of Teaching at The University of Virginia, studying ESOL instruction. In addition to being a real renaissance woman, she grew up in Puerto Rico and is bilingual. Lorraine is also very proud to share that she is "the FUN aunt!" She brings tremendous energy and a passion for inspiring our younger learners. "For me, learning should be a hands-on experience that is palpable and fun. Dancing, singing, making silly movements and sounds, drawing, sculpting, building, and more are great activities that help students remember, deepen their understanding, and fall in love with what they are learning." Lorraine also leads some great courses on Outschool, which you should definitely check out sometime.

KELLY GRIFFIN

Chair, Board of Directors

As Founding Chair of the Spitfire Club Board, Kelly offers her deep expertise in nonprofit management, strategic planning, and strategic implementation to build a sustainable and thriving organization.  Kelly is determined to make the world a better place through mission-driven work. In her professional capacity, she develops organizational strategy, leads creation of strategic plans, drives strategy execution, and guides change management processes.  She is currently leading the development of the 2020-2025 Strategic Plan at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).  Previously, she led strategic planning and implementation, change management, and performance measurement at KaBOOM!, The Corporation for National and Community Service and AARP.  She holds a M.A. in Applied Anthropology from the University of Maryland and a B.A. in anthropology from Bryn Mawr College.

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DR. SAUNJI D. FYFFE

Member, Board of Directors

Saunji brings to Spitfire her deep expertise in monitoring and evaluation, nonprofit management, and research.  Saunji is a Monitoring and Evaluation Analyst at General Dynamics Information Technology.  Previously, Saunji worked as a researcher at The Urban Institute's Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy and she has taught classes on nonprofit leadership and management. She holds a Ph.D. in Public Administration and Policy from Virginia Tech and a B.A. in sociology from the University of Virginia. Saunji also serves as a Director of Computer CORE.

Spitfire is currently seeking board members! Spitfire's programming centers girls who face structural and systemic barriers to literacy, visibility, opportunity, and empowerment. Diverse perspectives in our leadership are critical to our success. 

We are particularly seeking prospective members who have experience in accounting/financial management, communications, fundraising, and/or event management. We are also seeking members who bring the perspective of being a Spitfire caregiver and members who speak Spanish as their first language. 

Does any of this sound like you? Let us know! 

Are you passionate about girls' empowerment and literacy? Are you looking for a way to be of service?