About the Authors
Lucy Calkins is the Founding Director of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University. For more than thirty years, she has led the Project in its dual functions as a think tank, developing state-of-the-art teaching methods, and a provider of professional development, supporting hundreds of thousands of teachers, principals, superintendents, and policy-makers across the country and around the world.
Lucy is the author or coauthor—and series editor—of the reading, writing, and phonics Units of Study series, which are integral to classroom life in tens of thousands of schools around the world. In addition, she has authored scores of professional books and articles. Lucy is also the Robinson Professor of Children's Literature at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she co-directs the Literacy Specialist Program.
Angela Báez is a staff developer at TCRWP. A primary classroom teacher for more than a decade, she now works alongside teachers and administrators in classrooms across the nation. She leads workshops and summer institutes at Teachers College on early literacy instruction. Angela is passionate about mindful ways to talk with children and about ways in which the subtleties of our language can grow attentive, independent, and self-motivated learners. She believes that a sound education supports the social and emotional, as well as academic, realms of experience. She infuses her teaching of reading with her deep love of books, and of children themselves, most especially her own young reader, Grace.
Lindsay Barton is a staff developer at TCRWP. She works with primary teachers in New York City and across the country, sharing her passion for the power of observation and all that it teaches us about young readers. Yes it's true - she loves running records and is on a mission to get others to feel the same. Lindsay began her career in education at the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child and Human Studies at Tufts University, where she taught young children at the department lab school for several years. She worked as a bilingual Kindergaten teacher in Costa Rica, and before joining the Project, she was a teacher of a mixed-age first and second grade classroom in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She has presented at literacy conferences, taught at summer institutes around the nation, and recently completed a second degree in the Literacy Specialist Program at Teachers College. Next to working with children, and learning alongside teachers, Lindsay loves most to be outdoors hiking, skiing, and biking.
Emma Coufal Bemowski
Emma Coufal Bemowski is a staff developer at TCRWP, where she works with teachers and school leaders in New York City and across the country. In her work, Emma draws on her experience as a Kindergarten teacher in Oakland, CA, where she taught in both English and Spanish and had extensive experience working with emergent bilingual students. She earned a Masters degree in Urban Education Policy and Administration from Loyola Marymount University and a Literacy Specialist degree from Teachers College, Columbia University. Emma believes in teaching as an act of social justice and is deeply committed to working with teachers to build classroom communities that are culturally sustaining, developmentally appropriate, and filled with joy and love.
Heather Burns has taught middle school students and coached middle school teachers in Literacy Instruction for the last twenty-one years. She is a Senior Middle School Staff Developer at Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University who supports schools across New York City, Connecticut, and the nation. Heather holds a Reading Specialist/Reading Consultant Sixth Year degree, and an Intermediate Administrative Certificate. She is passionate about curriculum design and implementation, and harnessing deeper thinking and analytical conversations through book clubs.
Grace Chough is a Staff Developer at The Reading & Writing Project at Mossflower. In her work, she supports teachers, coaches, and administrators nationally and internationally. Grace works closely with schools to create lasting structures that promote a culture of learning that leads to best practices in literacy. In this endeavor, she draws on her M.Ed. from Teachers College in the English Education Department, and her work as an instructor at Teachers College, working with Lucy as a teaching assistant in a writing instruction course and teaching seminars for student teachers. Grace has led a teacher leadership group focusing on literature and qualities of good writing and presented at institutes in New York and around the country on teaching reading and writing. She is most inspired when she is in the midst of children, teachers, coaches, and principals, making meaning out of their reading, writing, and teaching lives.
Carl Ciaramitaro spent many years teaching, coaching K-12 teachers, and consulting on curriculum in Arkansas before joining the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project as a staff developer. In this role, he has supported teacher teams and administrators in New York City and beyond to build stronger pedagogy around reading and writing workshop and balanced literacy practices. Carl has presented at NCTE and leads sections at the reading and writing summer institutes across the country. His educational philosophy and practices draw heavily on his work in the Literacy Specialist Master Program at Teacher College.
As a staff developer at TCRWP, Katie Clements supports teachers, coaches, and administrators across the nation. She leads advanced sections at the Project's renowned summer institutes, and year-long study groups for lead teachers. Katie has been an adjunct instructor at Teachers College, teaching graduate courses in literacy education. She has a deep interest in building student agency, fostering independent thinkers and problem-solvers. In all her work, Katie draws on her experience as an upper-grade teacher at PS 321 in Brooklyn.
Anna Cockerille, co-author of Bringing History to Life, was a teacher and a literacy coach in New York City and in Sydney, Australia before joining the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project as a staff developer and writer. One of her primary focuses was content area literacy, where she helped shape the TCRWP’s work integrating best practices in literacy instruction into social studies. Anna also has been a researcher for Lucy Calkins, contributing especially to Pathways to the Common Core: Accelerating Achievement and Units of Study in Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing. In her current role as editor at Heinemann, Anna’s projects have included Units of Study for Teaching Reading, K-5; Units of Study for Teaching Reading, Middle School Grades; and Units of Study in Phonics, K-2. Anna also writes regularly for the Heinemann blog. Her passions also include writing for children. Her latest title, Soap Box Rosie, will be published in 2019.
Lisa Hernandez Corcoran
M. Colleen Cruz
M. Colleen Cruz is a fierce advocate for the students and teachers with whom she shares her passion for accessibility, twenty-first century learning, and social justice.
An educator with over two decades of experience in both general education and inclusive settings, Colleen is also the author of several books for teachers including Risk. Fail. Rise. A Teacher’s Guide to Learning from Mistakes and The Unstoppable Writing Teacher, as well as the author of a young adult novel, Border Crossing, a Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Finalist. Additionally, Colleen co-edits the Not This But That series with Nell Duke - a popular series of books that pairs research and practice.
Colleen has served as a senior staff developer and later the Director of Innovation at Teachers College Reading & Writing Project, Columbia University. She currently supports organizations, districts and schools who want to bring her unique combination of integrity, humor, real-world practicality and a rare depth and breadth of scholarship to their communities.
Mary Ehrenworth, Senior Deputy Director of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project and co-editor for the Units of Study for Teaching Reading, Middle School series, works with schools and districts around the globe, and is a frequent keynote speaker at Project events and national and international conferences. Mary’s interest in critical literacies, deep interpretation, and reading and writing for social justice all inform the books she has authored or co-authored in the Reading and Writing Units of Study series as well as her many articles and other books on instruction and leadership.
You can connect with her on Twitter @MaryEhrenworth.
For many years, Stacey Fell was an English teacher as well as a literacy coach at MS 131, a middle school in lower Manhattan. After completing her EdD in Curriculum and Teaching at Columbia University’s Teachers College, Stacey joined the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project as a staff developer. She has worked closely with middle school educators throughout New York City and Seattle to create thriving reading and writing workshops for young adolescents.
Currently, Stacey teaches 8th grade Humanities at Tompkins Square Middle School, a progressive middle school in New York City’s East Village. Stacey has published several journal articles and was a contributing author to Forever After: New York City Teachers on 9/11.
Elizabeth Franco is a former NYC public school teacher and currently the lead writer and editor for the Reading & Writing Project at Mossflower. She is the co-author of numerous titles across the Units of Study series, including Persuasive Writing of All Kinds: Using Words to Make a Change, a kindergarten writing unit, and Word Detectives, a first-grade reading unit. She has also authored several stories in the Jump Rope Readers decodable series, as well as the picture book Ocean Clean-Up Crew, inspired by her own children. Liz is known especially for her state-of-the-art work developing tools that help children work more independently. She is a firm believer in the power of learning through play and has a passion for finding ways to make reading and writing both joyful and rigorous.
Shana Frazin is a former classroom teacher and currently Co-Director of the TCRWP Classroom Libraries Project and Senior Staff Developer at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. She has led leadership groups on strong readers and higher level comprehension as well as taught institutes on the teaching of reading, writing, and content area. Prior to joining the Project, Shana taught third, fourth, and fifth grades in Pasadena and Los Angeles Unified School districts, and was a faculty member at Pacific Oaks College.
Shana is co-author of Once Upon a Time: Adapting and Writing Fairy Tales; Up-the-Ladder: Information Writing; and Unlocking the Power of Classroom Talk.
Brooke Geller is a Senior Lead Staff Developer at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. Brooke holds a MSEd with a concentration in Reading with distinction. She also holds a MS in Educational Leadership and a Supervisory Certificate. Brooke is especially dedicated to mentoring staff developers and teacher leaders, and teachers advanced sections at TCRWP summer institutes. Brooke draws on her interest in teaching children and adults in her staff development work across the U.S. and internationally.
Valerie Geschwind taught both primary and upper grades and was an inclusive classroom teacher prior to joining the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project as a staff developer. Valerie has presented on the role of talk in the classroom and wrote an article on this topic for Heinemann's Digital Campus. She was also a member of the role action-research plays on student growth and teacher happiness. Valerie works with teachers in New York City and around the country, promoting a growth mindset in students and play as a teaching tool.
Cory Gillette is the Literacy Coordinator for Darien Public Schools in Connecticut. She previously worked for Teachers College Reading and Writing Project for over ten years as a staff developer, presenter and reading researcher. Cory played a lead role, while at the Project, in a think tank on whole-book assessments, and was involved in developing performance assessments for nonfiction reading. Cory has a post-master’s degree in educational leadership from Stony Brook University as well as a master’s degree in elementary education from the University of Pennsylvania.
Barbara Golub, currently an independent literacy consultant, was a Staff Developer at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project for four years, and before that, a teacher at PS 158 in Manhattan. While at the Project, Barb led work that revolved around both vocabulary instruction and the tools that support student independence. Barb has provided professional support to schools in New York City, across the country, and around the world, including Sweden and India.
Amanda Hartman, Deputy Director for Primary Literacy at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University, heads up TCRWP’s K–2 reading, writing, and coaching institutes, and presents at conferences around the world. Amanda is the author or coauthor of books in the Units of Study for Teaching Reading series, the Units of Study in Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing series, and the Units of Study in Phonics series. She has also authored the video, Up Close: Teaching English Language Learners in Writing Workshops and is the coauthor of One-to-One: The Art of Conferring with Young Writers (all published by Heinemann).
Lizzie Hetzer is a staff developer at TCRWP. Lizzie works to promote student achievement and equity in schools in low-income areas, support students with special needs, and enhance learning for students who are new to the English language. She enjoys leading TCRWP courses and institutes for literacy coaches, where she works with leaders to create safe and joyful spaces for professional learning and risk-taking. Prior to joining the Project, Lizzie was a special education teacher and literacy coach in Brooklyn, NY. She holds Masters degrees in Educational Theatre and Teaching Students with Disabilities, and was a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship at New York University during her graduate studies.
Kelly Boland Hohne
Kelly Boland Hohne is a Writer in Residence and Senior Research Associate at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, earned her Ed.D. in Curriculum and Teaching from Teachers College while working at the Project. Kelly is part of the leadership team for a think tank, sponsored by the Council of Chief School Officers, in which researchers from both CBAL, the research arm of ETS, and the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project study learning progressions in argument writing. In all of her work, Kelly draws on her experience as a classroom teacher at PS 6, one of the TCRWP’s mentor schools.
Christine Holley is a Senior Lead Staff Developer at TCRWP. In this role, she works with teachers and school leaders in a score of schools across New York City and beyond; including Sweden, Shanghai, and Tokyo. Christine is especially known for helping teachers lead assessment-based instruction, including small-group work, and for using drama, stroytelling, and the arts to bring literature to life. She leads advanced sections at the TCRWP's renowned summer institutes, and courses for literacy coaches. Before joining the Project, Christine taught PreK and Grade 1 at PS 126 in New York City and in Santa Monica, CA. She earned her MA in education from Fordham University through the Ennis William Cosby Scholarship Program. Her work with lead professor Joanna Uhry helped her gain skills needed to support children struggling with literacy.
Havilah Jespersen first fell in love with teaching reading as a Reading Recovery teacher, where she developed a passion for working with struggling readers and became an advocate for great literacy instruction in every classroom. She went on to earn her MA in the Literacy Specialist Program at Teachers College, and intern as a staff developer with the TCRWP. Havilah has extensive experience as a classroom teacher of grades 1-6 in Canada and at international schools in China. She currently works as a literacy coach supporting PreK through Grade 6 teachers in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Gerrit Jones-Rooy is a Research Specialist and Literacy Specialist & Project Developer with the Consortium for Policy Research in Education. He previously worked as a Staff Developer and Instructional Coach with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. Before working for the Project, Gerrit worked as a Teach for America Corps member in rural Louisiana and as a reading and writing teacher and curriculum author at KIPP New Orleans. He later received his MA from Teachers College in Curriculum and Teaching.
Monique Knight was a staff developer at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project where she worked in schools as diverse as the Promise Academy in Harlem, international schools in France, the Westminster Charter School in Buffalo, suburban schools in Westchester County and on Long Island, and public schools across New York City. Monique has a special interest in integrating literacy and science education. She has led summer institutes across the nation, and teacher-research projects with the TCRWP.
Hareem A Khan
Hareem Atif Khan teaches in the Literacy Specialist program at Teachers College. She is also a staff developer in schools in New York City and worldwide. Before joining Teachers College and the Reading and Writing Project, Hareem was a teacher-educator and curriculum developer, beginning her career in schools in rural and urban Pakistan. She holds an Ed.M. from Teachers College and an M.Sc. in International Relations from Quaid-E-Azim University, Islamabad. Hareem has helped develop many of the Units of Study over the years, including coauthoring the Up the Ladder reading and writing series.
A former staff developer at the TCRWP, Lauren Kolbeck has pioneered work in content literacy. She participated in a think tank on the intersection of science and literacy, and helped to pilot new methods and materials in content literacy. Lauren has a special interest in reading–writing connections in the K–2 grades. She has worked with schools across the US and internationally, and has spoken at national conferences. Before joining the Project, Lauren taught Pre-K through Grade 3 at PS 29 in Brooklyn.
Celena Dangler Larkey
Celena Dangler-Larkey is a Senior Lead Staff Developer at TCRWP. She can usually be found inside a classroom—listening to, talking with, or laughing alongside students about their latest piece of writing or new favorite book. A graduate of Trine University and Indiana University, Celena holds a Masters degree as a Literacy Specialist and in Educational Leadership. She leads large-group and advanced sections at the TCRWP Reading and Writing Summer Institutes as well as at the Coaching and Content Area Institutes. She is a speaker at national conferences and delivers keynotes to primary teachers, and her work has taken her across the United States and around the world. When not in schools, Celena spends time with her (grown) son Gabe, husband Jason, and their three dogs. She is currently hard at work on her first novel.
Dr. Lindner earned her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Urban Education with a focus on Curriculum and Instruction surrounding literacy. She began her career teaching elementary school students, and has also worked as a literacy coach and as a university instructor for undergraduate and graduate students. Katherine now works with teachers in New York and around the country. At the heart of her work is a desire to promote independence in both teachers and students. She is passionate about developing simple but effective toolkits with teachers. Though she loves her work with teachers, Katherine is happiest when she is pulled up close to a group of young readers or writers.
Natalie Louis is a Senior Lead Staff Developer at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University. She loves teachers. Her deepest desire is to make teaching and learning rigorous and fun for both children and teachers. She leads advanced sections at TCRWP’s summer institutes and does data-obsessed staff development locally, nationally, and internationally. Before joining the Project, Natalie taught grades 1–3 in New York City public schools. She earned her MA in Teaching and Curriculum from Teachers College and her Reading Specialist license from Fordham University through the Ennis William Cosby Scholarship Program. Her work with lead professor Joanna Uhry helped her gain the skills to support children struggling with literacy.
Alicia Luick began her career in education as a grade 3-8 teacher and then as a district-wide literacy coach in New Jersey. As a staff developer and literacy consultant, she has honed her passion for education and teaching, focusing on improving educational practices and methodologies one classroom at a time. She is committed to supporting instructional coaches, administrators, and teachers as they navigate and implement best practices in literacy instruction. Alicia has dual masters degrees (in Curriculum and Teaching and Administration) from Fordham University. She has led advanced sections at institutes and presented at national educational conferences. She is also a co-author of books within the Units of Study series. When Alicia is not partnering with schools, presenting or writing, she enjoys performing at festivals worldwide as a classical choral singer.
Alexandra Marron is a Staff Developer, Researcher, and Writer-In-Residence at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. Her responsibilities include leading a yearlong study group for master teachers, presenting at conferences, teaching sections at the TCRWP summer institutes, and above all helping teachers and principals in a dozen schools lead state-of-the-art reading and writing classrooms. Ali has played a leadership role in developing learning progressions in argument writing, and co-leads a study group on the subject, sponsored by the Council of Chief School Officers, involving ETS and TCRWP. Ali graduated from Columbia University. Prior to joining the TCRWP, she taught at PS 6, one of the Project’s mentor schools, and while there contributed to the book Practical Punctuation: Lessons on Rule Making and Rule Breaking in Elementary Writing (Heinemann 2008).
Marjorie Martinelli is coauthor—with Kristine Mraz—of Smarter Charts and the new Smarter Charts for Math, Science, and Social Studies. Their popular blog chartchums keeps teachers in touch with ongoing and relevant classroom issues and ways to use charts as a support. Chartchums is also on Facebook and on Twitter @chartchums! While in schools as consultants with the Reading and Writing Project, the teachers they’ve worked with have begged them to write a how-to book about the amazing charts they introduce to consulting classrooms. Smarter Charts was that guide, and Smarter Charts for Math, Science, and Social Studies extends that work across the teaching day. She is Senior Research Associate and Co-Director of Reading Rescue at the Reading and Writing Project where for the past ten years she has lead numerous leadership groups and presented at many national and international educational conferences. Prior to joining the Reading and Writing Project, Marjorie was a New York City public school teacher, a teacher-researcher, and an adjunct teacher at Bank Street College of Education. She has an MA in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from New York University and is a contributing author to Lucy Calkins’ Units of Study for Teaching Writing. She is also the author of two Brain Quest Math decks for first and second grade. Listen to an interview with Marjorie and Kristi, the Chartchums, on Education Talk Radio.
Liz Masi Breves
Liz Masi Breves is a staff developer at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, where she works closely with teachers, coaches, administrators, and kids across New York City and the country to develop strong literacy practices. In her work, Liz draws on her experiences as both a primary and upper-grade teacher in Newark, New Jersey and New York City, where her classroom served as a literacy labsite for teachers and administrators. Liz earned her Literacy Specialist master’s degree from Teachers College and is especially passionate about helping teachers build communities of avid readers and writers, where kids are empowered to have choice, voice, and joy.
Cornelius Minor is a Brooklyn-based educator. He works with teachers, school leaders, and leaders of community-based organizations to support equitable literacy reform in cities (and sometimes villages) across the globe. His latest book, We Got This, explores how the work of creating more equitable school spaces is embedded in our everyday choices—specifically in the choice to really listen to kids. He has been featured in Education Week, Brooklyn Magazine, and Teaching Tolerance Magazine. He has partnered with The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, The New York City Department of Education, The International Literacy Association, and Lesley University’s Center for Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative. Out of Print, a documentary featuring Cornelius made its way around the film festival circuit, and he has been a featured speaker at conferences all over the world. Most recently, along with his partner and wife, Kass Minor, he has established The Minor Collective, a community-based movement designed to foster sustainable change in schools. Whether working with educators and kids in Los Angeles, Seattle, or New York City, Cornelius uses his love for technology, hip-hop, and social media to bring communities together. As a teacher, Cornelius draws not only on his years teaching middle school in the Bronx and Brooklyn, but also on time spent skateboarding, shooting hoops, and working with young people.
Julia Mooney is Writer in Residence at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, where she collaborates with Lucy Calkins and a team of writers on K–8 literacy curricula, learning progressions, performance assessments, and other major projects. She holds a BA in English from Stanford University. At Teachers College, Julia has helped organize and TA courses by children’s book authors James Howe and Sarah Weeks. Julia is coauthor of Constructing Curriculum: Alternate Units of Study for Teaching Reading, Grades 3-5 (Heinemann 2010) and of other books in the Units of Study series.
Elizabeth Moore holds an EdM in Curriculum and Teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University, where she has worked for a decade as a staff developer at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. In that role, she has helped whole schools lift the level of their reading and writing instruction. Beth has led much of the TCRWP’s work in a number of areas including spelling, phonics, vocabulary, and content literacy, and is a contributing author to many of the Project’s resources and materials. She has also helped the NYC Department of Education with performance assessments in reading. Beth now lives in Jericho, Vermont, but maintains her close affiliation with the TCRWP.
Marie Mounteer is a staff developer with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. She works to help teachers and students learn to find the joy of literacy, and believes literacy is a right, not a privilege, and a tool that empowers, engages, and fights injustice. Her passion is helping students who are working to become multilingual, and she helped develop and run the Project’s ELL Institute, as well as its Coaching of Writing Institute. Always seeking ways to help teachers reconnect with their craft, she has lead specialty groups and homegrown institutes at TCRWP designed to grow teachers' learning. Marie holds a Masters degree in Elementary Education and a Special Education Certificate.
Kristine Mraz is coauthor—with Christine Hertz—of Kids First from Day One, which provides a practical blueprint for increasing the child-centeredness of your teaching practice. She and Christine previously teamed up for the bestselling A Mindset for Learning (coauthored with Christine Hertz), which provides practical and powerful strategies for cultivating optimism, flexibility, and empathy alongside traditional academic skills.
Kristi has also coauthored—with Alison Porceli and Cheryl Tyler—Purposeful Play, the book that helps you make play a powerful part of your teaching. She and Marjorie Martinelli wrote Smarter Charts and Smarter Charts for Math, Science, and Social Studies to get the most out of this classroom staple. Their popular blog Chartchums keeps teachers in touch with ongoing and relevant classroom issues and ways to use charts as a support. Chartchums is also on Facebook and on Twitter @chartchums!
Kristi is a recent transplant to southern California, where she will be writing and consulting until the classroom calls again. You can follow all of her adventures on Twitter @MrazKristine or on her blog, found at kristimraz.com.
Mike Ochs taught in New York City, Washington, DC, and Mississippi before joining TCRWP as a staff developer. He has led site-based staff development in schools across the country, helping hundreds of teachers build strong reading and writing workshops. Mike is especially dedicated to the work of helping all kids become engaged and thoughtful readers of informational texts, and is himself a writer of nonfiction texts for children. Mike has also contributed to many publications for teachers, including several books in the Units of Study series.
Brianna Parlitsis began her career in education as a research fellow at the Institute for Child Development, where she worked on studying best practices for students with disabilities. She then moved to New York City where she taught in NYC public schools and received her M.Ed. from Teachers College before joining TCRWP as a staff developer. Brianna has a special interest in data and working with teachers in high-needs schools who are supporting large populations of high-need students. Brianna supports schools across the New York City metropolitan area, and also on accasion across the country and around the globe, to find ways to give readers and writers roots and wings. She speaks often at conferences and is part of the faculty at the TCRWP summer institutes. She has also choreographed many successful flash mobs at institutes around the country.
Stephanie Parsons is a literacy consultant, a former staff developer with Lucy Calkins and the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, and a former teacher. She loves working alongside teachers and children to discover new ways of teaching. She hopes you will feel the power of transformative teaching along with your students. After attending Yale University and Teachers College at Columbia University, she became a first grade teacher at P.S. 321 in Brooklyn. She is now a reading and writing staff developer working with elementary schools in New York City and across the country.
Laurie Pessah is Director of School Partnerships where she has responsibility for staffing the Project’s work with several hundred schools in New York and around the country. She is co-author with Lucy Calkins on A Principal's Guide to Leadership in the Teaching of Writing. She is also co-author with Lucy Calkins on Small Group Work in Phonics, Grades K–1.
As a former principal and assistant superintendent, Laurie continues to support school leaders in developing a coherent plan for their district, while also supporting staff developers in their work in districts.
Michael Rae-Grant taught the primary grades in Brooklyn for many years before joining the Project as a staff developer. He holds an M.S.Ed. in Childhood Education and is currently pursuing a doctorate in Curriculum and Teaching at Teachers College. Michael believes that literacy can transform students and teachers alike into critical readers of our difficult world, and that it can empower them to author a brighter and more equitable future.
As a staff developer at TCRWP, Alissa Reicherter works with teachers and coaches in New York as well as across the country. She received her MSEd from Hunter College's Literacy Education Program. Alissa has a deep interest in empowering students to read and write so they can build more equitable and just communitites. In all of her work, she draws on her experiences teaching in general- and special-education settings in New York City public schools. Alissa enjoys immersing herself in new cultures, a passion which inspired her to teach abroad in Panama, Tanzania, and Nicaragua.
Audra Robb, Associate Director for Middle Schools at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, develops and pilots performance assessment tools aligned to state standards; provides staff development to schools in New York City and across the country; and leads workshops on incorporating poetry into ELA and content-area curriculum. Audra taught middle school English Language Arts in New York City before joining the Project.
Follow Kate online.
Maggie Beattie Roberts
Maggie Beattie Roberts began her teaching career in the heart of Chicago and then pursued graduate studies as a Literacy Specialist at Teachers College, Columbia University. She worked as a staff developer for the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project for nearly ten years where she led research and development in digital and media literacy, as well as differentiated methods of teaching and content area literacy.
Maggie is currently a national literacy consultant, guest teacher, author, and frequent presenter at national conferences. She is committed to helping teachers tap into the power of their own deep engagement in reading and writing, and leads school-wide staff development around the country. She is happiest teaching alongside teachers in their classrooms. She is co-author of the popular book, DIY Literacy: Teaching Tools for Differentiation, Rigor, and Independence (with Kate Roberts), and authored several Heinemann Unit of Study books on the teaching of writing. Her latest article, Thinking While Reading: The Beautiful Mess of Helping Adolescents Learn and Celebrate How Their Minds Work (co-authored with Kristen Robbins Warren), is featured in the December 2016 issue of NCTE's middle school journal, Voices from the Middle. You can learn more about Maggie’s work, as well as access videos and other resources, at KateAndMaggie.com.Follow Maggie on Twitter: @MaggieBRoberts
As a Lead Staff Developer at the TCRWP, Alexandra Roman leads site-based staff development in schools across the country, helping hundreds of teachers build strong reading and writing workshops that support differentiated learners and ENLs. Alexandra is a member of an action research team that develops best practices for ENLs with a focus on raising student achievement. Prior to joining the TCRWP, Alexandra spent many years teaching in a dual language classroom in Brooklyn. Alexandra’s classroom served as an exemplar for second language learners and was highlighted as “Best Practices for ENLs," using reading and writing workshops. Alexandra continues to support ENLs through her work with administrators, literacy coaches, teachers, and kids in NYC, across the country, and internationally. When not in schools, Alexandra loves spending time with her children, Vialease, Jaiden, Aaliyah, and Josiah, supporting and nurturing their love for learning and professional dance.
Rachel Rothman-Perkins is a Lead Staff Developer at TCRWP and leads study groups, workshops and advanced sections at summer institutes on assessing and teaching foundational skills in addition to her professional development work in schools. At the Project, she is known for her leadership in phonics, spelling, vocabulary, and assessment-based instruction in the primary grades. Rachel’s passion for teaching and school leadership began when she was a classroom teacher at Gilder Elementary School in San Jose, CA, and in her studies in San Jose State University’s MA program in Literacy Education. She is an ardent student, tackling inquiry topics and developing deep knowledge through a succession of apprenticeships that have allowed her to push back the frontiers of her thinking.
Jennifer Russo is a staff developer at TCRWP. She works with K-5 teachers in New York City and in schools and districts across the country to develop best practices in literacy. Jennifer began her career teaching in New York City, working specifically with students with IEPs and English Language Learners. She enjoys working alongside administrators, coaches, and lead teachers to develop schoolwide goals to improve student achievement and teacher practice. When she's not in a school, you can find her exploring Brooklyn or practicing yoga.
Shanna Schwartz is the Curriculum Coordinator for Primary Literacy at TCRWP. In this role, she provides leadership throughout the TCRWP organization, while supporting schools and districts worldwide. This includes developing curriculum, mentoring staff developers, and facilitating study groups for school leaders. Shanna is her happiest when she is collaborating with educators—not only about best literacy practices, but also around valuing curiosity and joy in schools. She works to increase talking and thinking in classrooms as a means to amplify student voice.
Julie Shepherd is a middle school teacher. She spent five years teaching 8th grade Social Studies and Humanities at IS 289 in lower Manhattan. While there, she developed text sets that have been used by many other educators in NYC. Her classroom was frequently used as a Project lab site for NYC teachers and visiting educators from across the country. Julie earned her Master’s Degree in Secondary Education from Simmons College in Boston. She currently teaches 7th grade Humanities in South Portland, Maine.
Abby Oxenhorn Smith
Abby Oxenhorn Smith worked as a K–2 teacher at PS 116 in Manhattan for seven years. In that capacity, she was a teacher-researcher with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. Many teachers and principals visited Abby’s classroom, and her teaching was videotaped for the DVD Big Lessons from Small Writers: Teaching Primary Writing (Heinemann 2005). She also has worked as a literacy coach, and has led sections at the TCRWP summer institutes. Abby also can lead reading and writing workshops at home as well as at school, as she is the mother of second grade triplets.
Emily Butler Smith
Emily Butler Smith (EdD) is the Associate Director for Professional Development at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. Emily’s research interests have focused on reading–writing connections and content literacy. As part of her doctoral work at Teachers College, Emily became a resident researcher in an inclusive third grade classroom, tracking the development of a few writers across a semester, in particular analyzing ways in which their study of mentor texts lifted the level of their writing and their understandings of writing. Emily leads an ongoing collaboration between the TCRWP and The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation devoted to the teaching of history and literacy. Emily draws on all of this in her staff development work across the US and internationally.
As a staff developer at TCRWP, Kristin Smith works with many schools in New York and across the country. She has a deep interest in working with students and teachers to develop reading and writing identities while fostering strong classroom communities where all students are afforded opportunities to succeed. Kristin received her MEd from Teachers College in the Literacy Specialist Program, and has since worked as an instructor, teaching graduate reading courses. In all of her work, Kristin draws on her teaching experiences in West Windsor-Plainsboro, New Jersey and in the South Bronx, New York. In her spare time, you can find Kristin scouring travel books with her husband Bill, planning their next adventures.
Janet L. Steinberg
Janet Steinberg was a teacher and a data specialist in the Bronx before joining the Project as a data specialist and staff developer. She has a deep interest in using data to support instruction, and in finding principled ways to respond to the pressures around us without losing our way in the dark. She has special expertise in content-area literacies, especially in history, in Teacher Effectiveness work, in supporting high-needs students, and in using a knowledge of high-stakes assessments to allow us to be in a position to influence policy. That position of influence comes, in part, from achieving on measures that others deem important, and Janet has a laser-like focus on doing that, while holding tight to the principles and the rigor and authenticity of reading and writing workshop instruction.
Annie Taranto is a staff developer at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, and a graduate of the Literacy Specialty Program at TC. As a staff developer, Annie works with teachers, coaches, and principals in a score of schools in New York City and across the nation, as well as in Asia. She has a deep interest in helping teachers tap into their powers as readers and writers, and is especially known for her summer institute sections and conference days.
Sarah Picard Taylor
Sarah Picard Taylor is a Lead Staff Developer at TCRWP. She works with teachers in the primary grades in NY area schools and across the country to transform their teaching of reading and writing. Sarah teaches at summer institutes, leads specialty courses in schools, and teaches in lab site classrooms to help teachers see the full potential of their students and workshop teaching. Before joining the Project, she taught in an inclusive classroom in New York City and also as a Reading Specialist in WI. Sarah's other love is her own young writer and reader, Maggie.
Marc Todd teaches Social Studies at IS 289, the Hudson River Middle School in New York, and is a national presenter for the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. He collaborates with teachers around the world and leads workshops and institutes on culturally relevant pedagogy and teaching students to be critical readers of history. Marc believes in immersing kids in nonfiction reading and making notebook work inside of content classes both serious and joyful. He incorporates Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed and Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed into his curriculum.
You can connect with him on Twitter @marctoddnyc.
For more than 20 years, Kathleen Tolan was a Senior Deputy Director of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. She had special responsibility for the Project’s work with reading instruction, organizing instruction for staff developers and the Project’s four summer institutes. She was also instrumental in the creation of the content literacy institutes and coaching institutes. Kathleen provided staff development at schools in the South Bronx, Harlem, Manhattan, and Scarsdale. A coauthor of numerous books in the Units of Study for teaching reading and writing series, she is also featured in many of the TCRWP’s online videos. Throughout her career, Kathleen remained a consummate professional and a champion for kids and for literacy.
Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
Katie Wears brings years teaching in primary classrooms and working as a literacy coach to her current role as a staff developer at TCRWP. In this capacity, Katie helps schools throughout the country develop coherent, joyful approaches to teaching reading and writing. For Katie, the challenge is not just to play Johnny Appleseed, carrying great ideas from one site to another, but also to help schools themselves become centers for professional inquiry. Her greatest challenge, then, is always to figure out ways to tap into the passions and dreams and talents of teachers with whom she is so fortunate to work. At Teachers College, Katie teachers advanced sections at summer institutes and leads study groups for literacy coaches as well as for teachers. She works closely with students from Teachers College's Literacy Specialist Program who apprentice with her. Those who know Katie know all about her role as the proud aunt to three enthusiastic super readers: Owen, Keegan, and Parker; and of her love for the North Country and its teachers and kids.
Lindsay Wilkes is a former staff developer at TCRWP. In that role, she supported schools in New York City and across the country. Prior to joining the Project, Lindsay received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Hofstra University's School of Education and Columbia University's Teachers College, respectively. She then went on to teach at PS 58, one of the Project's mentor schools. Lindsay strives to increase engagement, independence, and joy in the classroom - helping teachers and children discover a love of reading and writing, and of teaching and learning.
Cynthia Williams brings her love of books and years of classroom teaching experience across Arkansas, Texas, and Michigan to her role as a TCRWP staff developer. A former curriculum coach and district teacher leader, Cynthia is passionate about the power of kid-watching and playful, responsive workshop teaching to transform school cultures and communities. In New York City, nationally, and internationally, she supports teachers and school leaders in cultivating student-centered environments designed to support independence and access for all learners. In addition to her work in classrooms alongside students and teachers, she teaches institutes and specialty courses at TCRWP.
Katy Wischow is a staff developer for the Reading & Writing Project at Mossflower. More than a decade ago, Katy found her own way to her very first summer institute, coming as a “lone wolf.” Midweek, she told her principal, “I’m going to need some money” because she decided she absolutely had to have the Units of Study curriculum. Soon she’d transformed her Newark, New Jersey, middle school classroom into a flourishing writing workshop; her students’ passionate response led Katy to enroll in the Literacy Specialist program at Teachers College.
Katy has co-authored the book Unlocking the Power of Classroom Talk, co-written several Units of Study, and has authored the Ida series in the Jump Rope Readers. She is deeply interested in grammar, writing professionally, supporting teachers’ writing lives, and building strong learning cultures in schools and classrooms.
Pablo Wolfe is a Washington DC-based educator who promotes civic education as a means to improve student engagement, celebrate student identity, and embolden the next generation of citizens. He's been a public school administrator, a staff developer with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, a teacher, and a parent, and in all of these roles has sought to make school a training ground for civic life. He is the co-author of The Civically Engaged Classroom: Reading, Writing, and Speaking for Change and the Unit of Study: Historical Fiction Book Clubs. His work has also been featured in School Library Journal and Middleweb Blog.
Pablo is the Founder and Executive Director of the Coalition of Civically Engaged Educators, a national K-12 community of practice for civic-minded educators who seek to improve student outcomes and transform schools. Pablo is also a Visiting Fellow at the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University.
Whether planning town hall meetings with groups of 7th graders, writing letters to elected officials, or organizing opportunities for service learning, Pablo believes that academic skills are best learned when applied towards addressing injustices. A strong believer in the role of teachers as agents of social change, he strives to thread this idea through his writing, staff development and teaching.