Dana Cilono 

Program Director

Biography

Dana Cilono began her career in education as a first-grade teacher in East Oakland, CA. During her interview, her principal asked, “Are you sure you want to teach first grade? At the end of the year, children have to be able to READ.” Fulfilling children’s civil right to read has been her passion ever since. 

Having taught TK through 2nd grade over 7 years, Dana stepped out of the classroom to become an instructional coach, curriculum trainer, then program director. These experiences were hugely instrumental in understanding the mechanisms that drive the educational system and the steps needed to change outcomes for children. For the past 4 years, Dana has supported school districts and childcare programs in designing and implementing instructional frameworks that are rooted in evidence-based practices and structured literacy. Children participating in literacy initiatives under Dana’s direction experienced unprecedented fluency levels in key predictive skills. 

Dana is the Director of CARES for Learning, a professional learning nonprofit and sole service provider of SEEDS of Learning frameworks. She works with teachers, instructional leaders, and families to support children’s literacy and emotional development through positive attachments and strategies that increase confidence and capability. Dana loves that CARES is rooted in relationships, trauma-informed practices, and is proven to be effective in drastically improving literacy growth. She lives in Oakland with her family.