About Me

Middle school...

matters to me.  I have to grown to appreciate the unique needs (and creative tensions) present in this time of life. The more I write, read, think, and experience, the more I believe that middle school teachers must advocate for expectations and goals developmentally appropriate. Too often, the middle gets squeezed by the same expectations and measurements clamped to high school students. We can still have high expectations and exceptional achievement while making room for joy and passion. In middle level education, we teach students, not content. We teach writers, not writing. We teach readers, not reading.

My career started right out of graduate school (Temple University) and most of my experience has been cultivated inside an 8th grade classroom. I have directed the school play, coached football and baseball, and organized overnight trips to campgrounds, historical locations such as Colonial Williamsburg. For a few years, I ran an exchange program with the Gillotts School in Henley-on-Thames, England. And, once, I organized a spring break experience for a dozen kids to attend "college" at the University of Wyoming--we participated in many classes in the theater department and took some time to engage with the landscape and culture of Wyoming.

My participation as a co-director with the Pennsylvania Writing & Literature Project keeps me immersed in the current research on literacy, although our conversations, workshops, and presentations often draw from the seminal research from over the past fifty years.

Writers Day

Inspired by the Writers Week program at the William Fremd School in Illinois, a colleague and I started Writers Day in 2016--an all-day writing conference for kids.

Annually, our school-wide writing conference for students, Writers Day, brings in over 30 writers--many from our community to workshop with our kids about all forms and modes of writing. 

Some of the best people I know! Part of the 8th grade middle school team. I count them as my friends, colleagues, and models.

Some of the best people I know! Part of the 8th grade middle school team. I count them as my friends, colleagues, and models.

Stopping by the Stenhouse booth to grab a photo with  Ralph Fletcher, my mentor-through-text, at the 2016 NCTE Annual Convention in Minneapolis, MN.

Stopping by the Stenhouse booth to grab a photo with  Ralph Fletcher, my mentor-through-text, at the 2016 NCTE Annual Convention in Minneapolis, MN.

With some of my Pennsylvania Writing & Literature Project mentors.

With some of my Pennsylvania Writing & Literature Project mentors.

Recent Grants

2015 Penguin Random House Teachers Awards for Literacy. I finished in the top ten and as a runner-up I will receive a $500 grant award in addition to $1,000 of Penguin Random House books for my classroom.

2015 The American Immigration Council awarded a $500 Community Education grant for my proposal "All American"--you can read the full grant proposal here.

2015 Penny Kittle's Book Love Foundation awarded a $500 grant towards expanding my classroom library. You can read the full grant proposal here.

Flooded by books...I wish the same for my students.

Flooded by books...I wish the same for my students.