Meet the Team
Our team brings a wealth of passion, youth and academia experience from some of the most distinguished schools, halls of ivy, organizations, and establishments. We each share a unified mission, to serve children and help develop their love for reading and literature.
Burst into Books
Creator, Founder, & Executive Director
Jurema Gorham affirms Burst Into Books as an organization that is rooted in instilling our children with the essential tools to grow academically. A life-long learner, Jurema has taught professionally since 2008, working with grades K-12. Seeking inspiration along her professional career, Jurema stays in student mode all the time. When she was pregnant with her son, she yearned for advancement in her career, so Jurema decided to pursue her first Masters’ degree in Educational Leadership. She moved from elementary education to high school, teaching at the freshman level. She noticed many students had learning disabilities. Students were supposed to be at a certain level, but many were not. Here she realized the importance of differentiation learning, so in 2016, inspired by the students who didn’t receive individual support, she went back to school to earn a second Masters’ degree in Differentiated Instruction. Within the last couple years, Jurema moved out of the classroom, coaching teachers and helping them to reach the needs of each individual student. Currently pursuing her Phd, Jurema’s mission is to help focus on the school system and attack many of the loopholes such as standardized testing and other factors why students aren’t mastering tests, excelling and more. Jurema’s experience with navigating relationships between parents, students, administrators, teachers and communities have provided her with a clear advantage of helping address the educational and systemic issues while creating impact outside of the classroom.
As she enters her 15th year as an educator, she understands the power of being a strong reader. Not only does reading opens a new world to your child, they will strengthen their ability to excel in all of their subjects in school. As she continues to push her son, Trey to explore the world through reading, Jurema’s personal mission is to take along as many children as possible on the same adventure. Jurema is committed to creating a safe space for all children to engage with text and dialogue which is remarkably needed in the community.
SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER
Brandon Prince is a proud Texan, who has adopted the Midwest as his second home. He is a proud graduate of Coe College in Cedar Rapids, IA. Brandon has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in religion. He serves as an educator in the special education department of Butler College Prep, with a primary focus on helping future leaders recover their credits.
Brandon has been with Burst Into Books since 2020 and serves as the social media manager. Through his work, he gets to further the established vision while using his creative skills to bring the organization’s vision to life. In his free time, Brandon enjoys serving the community through philanthropy and outreach.
Poet, writer and entrepreneur, Miss Aaliyah Scimone (or Miss Scimone), started out as a poet and lifestyle blogger until she graduated with her bachelors in Psychology and began her pursuit for her masters in Communications and Media when she realized that teaching and leadership was her ultimate calling. Now, Miss Scimone works as a contracted community leader and organizer on Chicago's South side.
PROGRAM MANAGER INTERN
Shenea Austin was born and raised in Harvey, Illinois, and from 2015-2019, she attended high school on the south side of Chicago, Illinois at Butler College Prep. During high school, she reclaimed her love and passion for dance, becoming the founding captain of the majorette team. She is currently a 2nd year undergraduate student at Chicago State University, majoring in Accounting and minoring in English. Shenea also serves as the Administrative Assistant for Burst Into Books. Shenea is committed to contributing and giving back to the community by combining her passion for dance, literature, and numbers.