Katie McCleary, MFA, is the founding Executive Director of 916 Ink. Prior to the opening of 916 Ink, Katie served as the Director of Mentoring Services for at-risk youth in the Grant Joint Union High School District and Grant Community Charter Schools. In 2007, Katie earned her MFA in writing and consciousness, completing her first literary novel, Blinded, which is currently being shopped by her agent. For three years, McCleary taught composition at American River College and Sacramento City College, helping underserved students. It was there, that she discovered "the secret sauce" to unlocking youth voice and thus, 916 Ink was born. McCleary was named one of Sacramento's "40 under 40" making strides in education and youth development services. She was also featured as a "woman making history," by Girls on the Grid in 2013. In 2015, Mashable.com named Katie one of fifteen "Real Miss America's" who are making a big impact in low-income neighborhoods. She is currently a senior fellow, class XIX, with The American Leadership Forum. McCleary also serves as a committee member for Sacramento's Any Given Child arts education campaign through The Kennedy Center. Lastly, Katie finds that 916 Ink is the perfect marriage of empowering and teaching young people and engaging in the literary arts.
Justin Self Interim Executive Director
Justin Self is 916 Ink’s Interim Executive Director. His primary focus is in working with the wonderful people and organizations who, through their donations, make it possible for us to grow our mission and our impact. After spending the first five years of his career in the private sector, Justin decided that he was ready to put the skills he had developed into effect in the nonprofit world. An invitation to a book release party from a friend of a friend gave Justin a chance to see firsthand the incredible impact 916 Ink programs have on youth, and from there he was hooked.
Justin believes that when kids become engaged in writing they become more engaged in the world around them, and are better prepared for success later in life. He finds being a part of an organization that helps make this possible for so many children, many of whom have had few other ways to express themselves, is both humbling and fulfilling. After relocating to Sacramento from the Bay Area in 2017, Justin is excited to become a part of the local community.
& Production Coordinator
Paulette Greenhouse has always been a writer, even since an early age. At six, she was crying over the idea of never being able to read, but by eight she was referring to her trusted World Atlas to create numerous country reports on staple-bound scrap paper with detailed Crayola drawings of the geography and appropriate flag. This research experience became useful when Paulette discovered her love for reporting, which pushed her to become an Editor of her high school’s newspaper, and eventually an Associate Editor and Art Director of Xpress Magazine at San Francisco State University, where she graduated in 2011 with her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. Paulette then continued her studies and received a Multimedia Certificate through SFSU’s College of Extended Learning. She was introduced to 916 Ink when suffering a major creative block and wanted to find inspiration. Volunteering as an Inspirator helped push her to achieve goals that she had previously been unaware of. She now serves as the Programming & Production Coordinator to 916 Ink, happy to be contributing to her community and helping youth realize their own imagination and potential.
Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator
Born and raised in Sacramento, Henry Stroud is thrilled to be back in his hometown helping spread literacy and empowerment to local youth.
After graduating from the University of Southern California with a double major in Narrative Studies and Public Relations, Henry spent two years in Los Angeles trying his hand at Stand-Up and Improv comedy. He quickly realized that though cynically mocking the state of the world may feel cathartic in the short-term, it didn’t offer much long-term gratification. Moreover, he wasn’t that funny.
Hoping to spread his love of reading and writing and to do a little good, he began volunteering at 826 Echo Park. He was instantly hooked by the obvious empowerment his students would feel upon discovering their voice. When he saw an open position as Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator at 916 Ink, he jumped at the opportunity to turn his passion into his career.
As Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator, Henry is responsible for recruiting, training and placing 916 Ink volunteers, as well as spreading Ink’s mission and vision to the local community. He is always hoping to grow the Ink Family, and is happy to chat with anyone who would like to know more about the many ways they can help 916 Ink grow.
Director of Programming
Nikki Cardoza serves 916 Ink as the Director of Programming. Before coming to 916 Ink, Nikki was active in the Sacramento writing community and as a volunteer for 916 Ink. She also worked full-time as an associate education lobbyist in state government representing community colleges, school districts and employee unions.
Nikki’s experience working with non-profit organizations began in 2003 when she started serving as a long-term volunteer for a faith-based aid organization in China. During this time she also served as an editor and publication designer for China Compass Publishing. After a short sabbatical to focus on her education, Nikki returned to the work-force as a Volunteer Coordinator for International China Concern.
In 2015 she completed her undergraduate education at the University of California, Sacramento where she graduated with a degree in Government.
She continues to write for fun herself and is happily revisiting the best moments of her own childhood, reading all her old favorite stories to her daughter Annie.
Front Office Clerk
Quinn Tannehill is the Front Office Clerk for 916 Ink. He has been a volunteer with the organization since his junior year of high school. He started contributing as a simple Button Pusher for various workshops, and climbed his way up to become a certified Wordslinger. Eventually he ran a class at Encina Preparatory High School alongside Brett Stults, former Programming Director, and was credited as a Wordslinger for the book, Trail Mix of Stories. After taking a year hiatus to focus on personal goals, he returned under a new title to 916 Ink, the front office clerk.
Quinn’s attitude inside the office and out perfectly reflects the spirit of 916 Ink’s mission. If you ever decide to drop by, Quinn will be waiting with a smile and a solution!