About Us

Our Story

Life-changing events take different forms. That was the case for Kathleen Tullie, Founder and Executive Director of BOKS, who after 18 years in the corporate real estate world, decided she wanted to spend her time working on something that makes a difference.

Kathleen had a desire to engage the community and leave a lasting positive impact on children. Being an athlete, she knew exercise made her feel good and more focused, but it wasn’t until reading the book Spark by Dr. John Ratey of Harvard Medical School that she had evidence to support her feeling. Dr. Ratey laid out a compelling argument for the positive correlation between exercise, academic performance and behavior issues. A sedentary life and poor eating habits can lower kids’ performance in the classroom and start a cycle of health problems later in life. Studies show that kids who exercise see significant boosts in intelligence-test scores and core subjects at school, compared to their inactive peers.*

It was then that Kathleen’s desire and new-found evidence took form as she became an outspoken proponent of physical activity for children. Her idea, to bring “Fit Kidz Get Up & Go,” now BOKS, to her children’s school, was born.

Since that first morning, a lot has happened. Not only are moms involved as trainers and volunteers, but so are dads, Physical Education teachers, educators and other interested parties who are all helping to run the program. Kathleen states unequivocally that the reason for the program’s success is a perfect combination of passion from parents, educators and school staff that have the motivation to make a difference in children’s lives.

Kathleen and her “Mom team,” Cheri Levitz and Jen Lawrence, created a nonprofit corporation and initially approached Reebok International Ltd. for a t-shirt sponsorship. They had no idea how closely aligned Reebok’s goals were with their own. From that conversation grew a collective mission to provide opportunities and access for all children, regardless of economic status, to have healthy bodies and minds, which also helps them find success in the classroom.

*Ratey, J. J., & Hagerman, E. (2008). Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. New York: Little, Brown. Castrechin, E. S., & London, R. A. (2011). “A Longitudinal Examination of the Link Between Youth Physical Fitness and Academic Achievement.” Journal of School Health, 81(7), 400-8. Davis, C. L., Tomporowski, P. D., McDowell, J. E., Austin, B. P., Miller, P. H., Yanasak, N. E., . . . Allison, J. D. (2011). “Exercise Improves Executive Function and Achievement and Alters Brain Activation in Overweight Children: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Health Psychology, 30(1), 91-98.

Our Mission

To empower school communities to improve our children mentally, physically and socially by strengthening their minds and bodies through movement.

Our Vision

To reverse the worldwide pandemic of physical inactivity and its crippling effects.

What is BOKS

Our Flagship Program

Meet the BOKS Team

Our team believes that sport & fitness have the power to change lives. We have each experienced this in our lives and are now dedicated to passing it on to more children across the globe.

Laura J. Burati

Manager, Program and Training

Heather Chase

New England Outreach Coordinator

Nancy Day

Rhode Island Area Coordinator

Randall Elkin

Manager, Field and Program Operations

Jess Garbarino

Senior Manager, Marketing & Communications

Cheri Levitz

Senior Advisor/Consultant

Christene Lyons

Senior Manager, Operations

Heidi McGrath

Customer Relations Manager

Erikka Moreno

User Experience & Engagement Manager

Michela North

Marketing Coordinator

Jen Pascarelli, M.Ed.

Physical Education Teacher and Training Team

Shea Pease

Boston Area Coordinator

Brooke Rosenbauer

Senior Manager of Community Impact

Caeli Sullivan

Business Development Senior Manager

Kathleen Tullie

Founder & Executive Director

For general inquiries reach out to the BOKS team here

Interested In Joining Our Team?

OPEN ROLES:

BOKS Area Coordinator — Washington, D.C.

Meet the BOKS Advisory Board

Mary Ann Bryan

Interim Assistant Superintendent, Instructional Services and Support of Weymouth Public Schools

Jeff Bellows

Vice President of Corporate Citizenship & Public Affairs, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Dr. Jennifer Curtis-Whipple

Superintendent of Weymouth Public Schools

Kevin Greer

Partner, Learn to Earn Fund, New Profit

Di Hayes

Senior Vice President of Global Business, International Tennis Hall of Fame

Martina Jahrbacher

Senior Director Business Development Central Europe, adidas AG

David Kaplan

Co-Founder and Managing Member, Shepard-Kaplan LLC

Cheri Levitz

Co-Founder, BOKS

Charlotte Phillips

Director of Coaching, Global Premier Soccer

Kristi Pourmousa

Vehicle Product Training Specialist, Toyota USA

Dr. John Ratey

Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Neuropsychiatry Expert

Elsie Taveras, MD, MPH

Chief, Division of General Academic Pediatrics, MGH & Executive Director, Kraft Center for Community Health, MGH

Neal Taylor

Vice President Global Brand Operations, Reebok

Faith Weiner

Senior Director Community Relations & Corporate Philanthropy

The BOKS Program Is 100% Free To Schools And Youth Organizations Due To Generous Support From Our Corporate Funding Supporters.

  • Reebok
  • The Boston Foundation
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
  • Toyota
  • Kids in the Game
  • CVS Health