Contributing Writers

Xochitl Bentley teaches 12th grade ELA and AP English Literature at Valor Academy High School in North Hills, CA.  She is a Teacher Leader with the Cal State Northridge Writing Project.  In 2017, she was chosen to participate in the Japan-U.S. Teacher Exchange Program for Education for Sustainable Development.  She is passionate about active environmental stewardship and environmental justice.  You can connect with her via Twitter @dispatches_b222 or via email at xbentley@brightstarschools.org.  

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Kristin Bond is a secondary teacher at the American Community School of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Currently, she teaches AP Language and Composition, IB Language and Literature, and Grade 10. She will begin a literacy coaching program in January and believes fully in the reader’s/writer’s workshop method. She earned her BEd in English and PE from the University of British Columbia and completed a Master of Arts in Learning and Technology through Royal Roads University in Victoria, British Columbia. Connect with Kristin via email at readwritemore@gmail.com, or find her on Twitter @readwritemore.

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Stephen Briseño teaches 8th grade ELA and Newspaper at Alamo Heights Junior School in San Antonio, TX. In 2017, he was the recipient of a Book Love Foundation Grant to grow his classroom library–thanks, Penny Kittle! He also leads writing professional development with his wife, Kayla, for Texas teacher/author Gretchen Bernabei. Stephen is passionate about all things reading and writing–in particular, poetry, picture books, and MG/YA–and is actively searching for the fine balance of teacher as practicing writer. His first book of poetry, What It Feels from Like to Be a Zebra, comes out in January 2020 from Finishing Line Press. Connect with him through email him at sbriseno@ahisd.net or on Twitter @stephen_briseno.

Kenneth Bui teaches AP English Language and Composition and English 11 at Central Bucks High School South (his alma mater) in Warrington, Pennsylvania. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education at Penn State University and received his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Delaware Valley University. You can find him on Twitter @kenbuiCBSD or contact him via email (kenbui@cbsd.org).


Shawna Easton has been playing “teacher” ever since she was in third grade when the teaching bug bit her. She tried to get away from it by becoming a theatre major (no acting talent) or a party planner (couldn’t find a job) but she succumbed to the infection and was a middle school teacher in North Texas for 15 years. She’s only been a part of middle school and people often question her sanity, but she can’t see herself anywhere else. She has taught theatre, journalism, newspaper, creative writing, speech, and fell in love with English and reading. It’s been a match made in heaven ever since she was given the opportunity to teach 6th grade English. She loves seeing students fall in love with reading and writing and using their voice and choice to invigorate classroom lessons. She is also very passionate about helping teachers find what they love and infusing it into their lessons, which is why, for the 2020-2021 school year, she stepped out to become a campus instructional coach. Shawna is happily married to her wonderful husband, Chad, and has three fur babies, Fiona the cat, Daisy the golden retriever, and Ranger the Staffordshire terrier. She also enjoys being with her friends on a dinner or coffee date or hanging out at home, binge-watching a show on Netflix. She loves movies and anything related to pop culture. She is a hard-core Harry Potter fan and a true Hufflepuff through and through.

David Lee Finkle has been teaching in Florida for 28 years, and for 20 of those years he’s been drawing a comic strip about teaching, Mr. Fitz, for local newspapers and his website (www.mrfitz.com). He currently teaches 9th grade English and Creative Writing, and is the author of two professional books for Scholastic. David dabbles in many genres of writing. In the summer he  teaches fiction writing and cartooning at Stetson University’s HATS Program for gifted students. He acts in local theaters with his wife Andrea (or did when theaters were open), and enjoys bicycling, reading, and napping.

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Stefanie Jochman teaches freshman and IB English at Trinity Episcopal School in Richmond, VA. She is also a member of the Folger Shakespeare Library National Teacher Corps. Stefanie earned her B.A. in English and Secondary Education from St. Norbert College and her M.A. in English from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. You can connect with her via Twitter @MsJochman or via e-mail at sjochman@notredameacademy.com.

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Megan Kortlandt is a reader, a writer, and a fierce advocate for literacy and learning. She works as a Literacy Consultant at Oakland Schools Intermediate School District in southeastern Michigan. Before joining the team at Oakland Schools, Megan spent 14 years in intervention, leadership, and the classroom in the metro Detroit area. She is especially passionate about supporting teachers to reach all learners through engagement, authenticity, and autonomy. She also believes it is critical to continuously develop administrators’  instructional leadership, and she is currently working on a forthcoming book through ASCD on this topic.

Abigail Lund teaches 5th grade science and math to her fabulous kiddos in Cincinnati. She earned her BA at Judson University in Chicago-land and is working on her Masters in Teaching at Miami University through the Ohio Writing Project. She has a passion for integrating writing and reading into all contents. She loves coffee about as much as her husband and baby son… and is a self-proclaimed lifetime learner. Catch up with daily happenings and ramblings on Twitter @mrsablund or via email Abigaillund@foresthills.edu.

Aishwarya M. is a middle school teacher in Pune, India. Currently, she teaches language and literacy to 8th graders while also providing remediation and additional academic support to ELLs with learning difficulties and disabilities.

Reading Nancie Atwell and Donald Graves helped her find her voice as a teacher. She continues to rediscover her voice as she helps her students find theirs in the writing workshop.

You can find her on twitter @teachingtenets on her blog at teachingtenets.wordpress.com.

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Hattie Maguire teaches AP English Language and Composition and English 10 at Novi High School in southeast Michigan. Prior to Novi, she taught English and Spanish at Southfield Lathrup High School and The American Community Schools of Athens, Greece.  She is a National Board Certified Teacher who earned her BS in English and MA in Curriculum and Teaching from Michigan State University. You can connect with her via email at hattie.maguire@novik12.org  or Twitter @TeacherHattie

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Jay Nickerson currently teaches Grade 9 through 12 English at Gimli High school in Gimli, Manitoba.  Jay previously taught English 9-12, Art and History at Arborg Collegiate Institute in Arborg, Manitoba. Jay is one of the last graduates of the Nova Scotia Teachers College. You can connect with him via email at nickerj@mts.net or Twitter @doodlinmunkyboy.

Starian Porchia is an Instructional Coach at Becky Lowery Freshman Center in Allen ISD. Before moving to the North Texas area, she grew up outside Kansas City, KS. Prior to supporting teachers, she taught at Sachse High School in Garland ISD, where she was voted by the Special Education department as the General Educator of the Year in 2018, and Anna High School in Anna, TX. 

She earned her B.A. in English Language & Literature with a minor in Secondary Education from the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, KS. She continued her education at the University of Kansas to complete her M.A. in TESOL Curriculum & Instruction, in which she got the opportunity to dive into the intricacies of cultural and linguistic identity and diversity. Her first position in education was as an ESL co-teacher at Turner Middle School and she has since been teaching 9th grade intervention and on-level courses. She has since been working with diverse learners at the secondary level striving to make language and literature accessible for all scholars. Outside of the realm of English, she has had the honor to be an athletic coach and a yearbook adviser and she recently completed her M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from the University of North Texas. Above all else, she is passionate about creating environments in which students and teachers can experience education ‘sin miedo’ (without fear).

You can connect with Starian via email at starian.porchia@allenisd.org or Twitter at @StarianBlake.

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Paige Timmerman teaches 9th and 12th grade English at Salem Community High School in Salem, Illinois.  She earned her undergraduate degree in English education at Western Illinois University and her graduate degree in English and American literature at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.  You can reach out to her on Twitter @pbrink12 or via email at timmermanp@salemhigh.com.

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Noah Waspe teaches 6th grade ELA at The Plains Elementary School in Athens, OH. He is also on the executive board of directors for the Ohio Council of Teachers of English Language Arts (OCTELA), for which he serves as the Middle School Liaison and host of the Speaking and Listening Podcast. Additionally, Noah facilitates and advocates for work around makerspaces, Genius Hour, and other inquiry-driven work. He earned his BA in Education from the University of Cincinnati and his Master of Arts in Teaching through the Ohio Writing Project at Miami University. Connect with Noah via email at noah.waspe@gmail.com, or find him on Twitter @MrWteach.

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Brett Vogelsinger teaches 9th grade English at Holicong Middle School in Doylestown, PA.  He begins class with a “Poem of the Day” routine and curates and annual blogging project called Go Poems, encouraging other teachers to try this routine during National Poetry Month. Brett enjoys keeping an active writer’s notebook alongside his students, gardening, and advising his school’s literary magazine.  You can contact Brett at @theVogelman on Twitter or via bvogelsinger@cbsd.org.

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Michael Ziegler currently teaches English 11 and works as an MTSS Academic Interventionist at Novi High School in Novi, Michigan.  Michael has a particular interest in curriculum development and the role of popular culture in the English classroom.  He has also taught IB Theory of Knowledge and is a Content Area Leader for the district.  He earned his undergraduate in English at The University of Michigan and also holds a Masters in K-12 Administration from Michigan State University.  You can connect with him via email at michael.ziegler@novik12.org or on Twitter at @ZigThinks .