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Paul Allison
Technology Liaison, NYCWP

PAUL ALLISON has been teaching and learning ever since he graduated from Hunter College, CUNY in 1983. After a few years in the desert (Utah), and a couple of years at the High School of Art and Design, NYC, he had a wonderful dozen years at University Heights Secondary School, Bronx, NY, where he learned that doing school better didn’t have to be the same-old, with more effort. Paul was a participant in the NYCWP’s Summer Invitational in 1985, and he has worked for the NYCWP in various ways ever since. Paul is the technology liaison for the NYC for the National Writing Project. He currently teaches English at the Bronx Academy Senior High.

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Elaine Avidon
Former Director, NYCWP

In 1969, after seven years teaching junior high school social studies, I became faculty in the S.E.E.K. Program at Lehman College. Nine years later the New York City Writing Project opened its doors at Lehman down the hall from my office. Perfect!  In 1980 Project Directors Perl & Sterling invited me to work with them, and eventually I became an associate and then a full director. In 1998 several Writing Project teachers and I started The Elementary Teachers Network (ETN), a program that connects literacy learning with the work of the hands. My relationship with the NYCWP led to three of the most gratifying aspects of my professional life – working with students and faculty at the Bard College Institute for Writing and Thinking; teaching pre-service education students as full-time faculty in Lehman’s Department of Early Childhood and Childhood Education; and working with classroom teachers and children through ETN.  In 2006 I retired as Lehman faculty but continue to do what I love. These days I co-coordinate Lehman’s Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) initiative and direct ETN. I get to work with faculty through WAC and in schools through ETN. But best has been working with sixteen NYCWP teacher consultants writing about their work in the schools. Our book, Stories of Impact: The On-Site Work of the New York City Writing Project Teacher Consultants will be published by the NWP in fall 2012.

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Joe Bellacero
Associate Director, NYCWP

Over the course of my four decades of teaching in New York City there have been 6,000 days when it was a joy to enter the classroom.  I have relished at least 30,000 classes, working and learning with young people who wanted the same things all young people want—to have fun, experiment, discover themselves, push their boundaries, escape the embarrassment of ignorance, be respected, challenged, disciplined and loved.

Teaching has been an adventure, with all that the word implies: uncertainty, discovery, sudden threat, startling beauty, unexpected twists and the possibility that there wouldn’t be a happy ending.  It also implies that the adventurer will need to learn from more experienced guides, will have to innovate on the fly, and, every single day, will be made very aware of being alive. What could be better than that?

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Anne Campos
Associate Director, Institute for Literacy Studies

As a lifelong student of history, 19th century American and French culture in particular, I have always been interested in social phenomena—public/private, local, national, and international.  My fascination with history informs my work as an administrator, which requires a willingness to face complexity, examine assumptions, see things in relationships and contexts, and engage with and benefit from others’ perspectives.

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Tricia Clarke
Teacher Leader

TRICIA CLARKE’s early literary nourishment inspired her to pursue a career where writing and reading would be her daily bread.  After graduating from the Teaching of English program at Teachers College Columbia University, her first teaching opportunity was 8th Grade English Language Arts in Bronx, NY, specifically, Close Reading, Writing, and Non Fiction Literature & Composition.  Currently, as a High School Reading and Writing Teacher, she works with teachers and students, 9th – 11th grades, and across disciplines on content-area literacy.  Also teaching students of mixed-grade levels in a Journalism elective, allows her to engage students in media literacy.  Tricia’s participation as a Fellow in the New York City Writing Project’s 2011 Summer Invitational recalibrated her passion for writing, reading, and teaching.

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Cecilia M. Espinosa, PhD
Associate Professor, Early Childhood/Childhood
Lehman College/CUNY

Cecilia M. Espinosa was born in Ecuador, South America. She worked for many years as a bilingual/multiage (K-2nd) classroom teacher in Phoenix, Arizona. During her years as a classroom teacher she wrote for publication about her classroom work and directed a Dual Language Program at the same elementary school. As a college professor, Cecilia has continued to pursue her deep interest in studying children’s biliteracy(ies) development. In her research and teaching she has drawn from her deep knowledge and experiences with Descriptive Processes.  Within the NYCWP, Cecilia has participated, coached, and co-facilitated the Summer Invitational. She has co-facilitated the Elementary Leadership Program for 2 years.

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Jane Higgins
Director, NYCWP

In 1993, Jane was one of eight founding faculty members at the High School for Leadership and Public Service in lower Manhattan, part of an early effort to create new, small learning communities in New York City. In addition to her work as an English teacher, she soon built a college advising and counseling program at the school, to help parents and students navigate the confusing roads that lead to college and career. In 2004, Jane left the High School for Leadership and Public Service to work with K12 Learning Services to provide district-wide professional development and curriculum for school districts in Philadelphia, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Manatee, FL, Chicago and New York City. Most recently, Jane joined the City University of New York at Lehman College to direct their Early College Initiative program in the Bronx.

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Lona Jack-Vilmar
On-site Teacher Consultant

LONA JACK-VILMAR is a Teacher-Consultant with The New York City Writing Project and has worked as an urban educator and literacy worker for more than two decades. Prior to working in K-12 education she taught ESL to adults, directed an adult learning center and coordinated and designed ESL professional development activities for adult educators working in community-based organizations. She also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon where she worked for as community development worker and then as a Volunteer Leader for the Community Development Program. Lona has a wide variety of interests but is particularly passionate about fiction writing, learning traditional dances of Africa and the African Diaspora, African cinema, travel and language study.

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Christy Kingham
Teacher Leader

CHRISTY KINGHAM has been a middle and high school English teacher for the past seven years.  She is currently at The Young Womens’ Leadership School in Astoria teaching 6th grade Humanities and a High School elective on The History of Hip Hop.  Christy spent her first seven years teaching in Bedford, N.Y at Fox Lane Middle School before moving her career to NYC.   Christy graduated from Georgetown with a B.A in English Literature and Teachers’ College with an MA in the Teaching of English.  In the summer on 2011, Christy was a Fellow with the NYCWP and is currently teaching graduate school courses for Drexel University’s online masters program.

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Alison Koffler-Wise
On-site Teacher Consultant

An on-site teacher-consultant with the NYC Writing Project since 2006, ALISON KOFFLER-WISE began her career with the NYC Department of Education as a creative writing teacher for the Waterways Project and taught for many years at Public School Repertory Company, an alternative high school in Manhattan.  A working poet as well as a teacher, she lives to share her love of words and a belief in their transformative power.

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Ed Osterman
On-site Teacher Consultant

ED OSTERMAN worked for over 30 years in New York City public schools as a high school English teacher and as an on-site teacher-consultant for teachers across the curriculum in both large and small high schools. He taught English at James Monroe HS in the Bronx and Newtown HS in Queens.  He has been Associate Director and a founding member of the New York City Writing Project (NYCWP) at Lehman College (CUNY). Ed served as editor of the NYCWP newsletter for ten years and was also the facilitator of an online forum for the NYCWP membership for a decade. Recently retired, Ed now works part-time as a literacy coach at Bronx International HS and ELLIS Preparatory Academy. The National Writing Project recently published his monograph about the NYCWP’s model of on-site professional development. Ed is also a life-long movie-buff, Sondheim fanatic, and Yankee fan.

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Sondra Perl
Founder, NYCWP

Sondra Perl is a professor of English at Lehman College and the Graduate Center of CUNY. She co-founded the New York City Writing Project with Richard Sterling in 1978.

 

 

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Grace Raffaele
On-site Teacher Consultant

‘Curiouser and curiouser’ is where I would like to stay as a teacher and learner. Because following the rabbit down the rabbit hole can only lead to asking more questions and pursuing more learning in both the real and the imaginary worlds we travel in.”

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priscilla

Priscilla Thomas
Teacher Leader

Priscilla Thomas has taught high school English in the Bronx for 8 years, and if she gets her way she will do it forever. She was introduced to the New York City Writing Project through her colleague and mentor, Jennifer Ochoa, and she participated as a Summer Fellow in 2010. Since then, she has refused to go away and participates each summer as a coach, assistant, and technological support. Priscilla currently teaches 11th grade English at Kingsbridge International High School, and blogs at http://thosewhocan.org.

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Susannah Thompson
On-site Teacher Consultant

From the spring of 1987, when SUSANNAH THOMPSON walked into the library of a Manhattan intermediate school to join a group of teachers who were talking passionately about reading, writing, and teaching, she has been involved in the New York City Writing Project. A former middle and high school English teacher, Susannah has been a Teacher-Consultant for the Project since 1990, consulting this year in EBC Bushwick HS for Public Service, Bushwick Leaders HS, Sunset Park HS, and the Academy of Urban Planning. Concurrently, she teaches composition and literature courses at Lehman College, where she is in her nineteenth year of being inspired by student readers and writers.

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Marcie Wolfe
Executive Director, Institute for Literacy Studies

A proud participant in the NYCWP’s first summer institute in 1978, I currently direct the Institute for Literacy Studies–the NYCWP’s home at Lehman College, and co-coordinate Lehman’s Writing Across the Curriculum program, working with faculty across all disciplines on ways to integrate and improve student writing in their courses. I have taught high school English, freshman composition, adult-degree courses in autobiography, masters courses in composition and rhetoric, and tutored adults in writing for two years at the New York Public Library Centers for Reading and Writing.  Over a long career involving dozens of projects related to literacy education, two of my favorite projects have been the work I co-led for sites of the Centers for Employment Training in California and Looking Both Ways, a high school/college collaborative program sponsored by CUNY. Both of these initiatives involved bringing the work of the New York City Writing Project into new settings and reimagining it through the perspectives of others. I’ve written some stuff, served as a consultant to some foundations and organizations, do some work nationally for the National Writing Project, and have led hundreds of workshops on the teaching of writing. Hundreds.

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