Delaware Writing Project

Blogger Biography

About Alayna Ford

Alayna Ford

Alayna Ford is a high school English teacher at Odyssey Charter High School in Wilmington, Delaware. She has also taught  7th and 8th grade ELA at both the honors and regular levels. Before teaching middle and high school, she worked with Pre-K through eighth grade students as a school librarian. In addition to her classroom duties, Alayna has moderated middle school student council and served on two Middle States committees. She currently serves on National Honor Society committee at the high school and middle school level, works to coordinate the honors curriculum for grades nine and ten, and is the team lead for the grade nine team. She is extremely passionate about literacy and teaching writing, and is currently helping to facilitate the Delaware Writing Project.

Alayna received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Education from the University of Delaware in 2013. She was awarded with a Student Teacher of the Year Award in the English Education Program. Upon graduation she received certification through the state of Delaware in Secondary ELA, Elementary Education, and Special Education. She is currently completing a Master’s degree at the University of Delaware in Teacher Leadership, and has hopes of one day achieving National Board Certification in her content area.

About Aleta Thompson

About Beth Holt

Beth Holt

Beth Holt graduated from West Chester University in 2001 with a major in Elementary Education and a minor in Special Education. She went on to complete her Masters in Education from West Chester University in 2010. A Pennsylvania native, she grew up in Delaware County where she still lives today. She believes in inquiry based learning in a safe, nurturing environment. She was exposed to Leadership roles early in her career with experiences in projects centered on student discourse centered around rich problem solving opportunities. Beth’s first six teaching years were in a sixth grade mathematics classroom, followed by positions as a fifth grade teacher, a mathematics instructional coach and most currently, her favorite position as a third grade teacher. She also coached field hockey and track outside of the classroom. Her current school, Carrie Downie Elementary, is a blended learning school in the Colonial School District in New Castle, DE.

About Courtney Wynn

Courtney Wynn

Courtney Wynn is a first grade teacher at Thomas Edison Charter School (T.E.C.S.) in Wilmington, Delaware. Along with teaching, she is also a co-lead of the first grade team. In 2016, Courtney attended the International Literacy Association Conference. She is currently a Delaware Writing Project (DWP) Fellow, and she completed profession development with the DWP in summer of 2017.

Courtney went to school at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts and graduated in 2015 with her Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and a minor in Education.

When Courtney was a junior in college, she heard a principal talk about working in an inner city school. Something sparked inside her and she applied for her student teaching next fall at his school.

Courtney completed her six months of student teaching at Thomas Edison Charter School and fell in love immediately. After graduating, she was offered a job as a first grade teacher at T.E.C.S. She packed her bags and moved to a different state where the only thing she knew was her love for teaching.

About Crystal Bostick

Crystal is an AVID Elective Teacher and Coordinator at Springer Middle School, in Wilmington, DE. As a former middle school ELA teacher, she worked with students to embrace writing as an expressive way to communicate their thoughts. In the past, Crystal has taught grades K, 2-5 and 6-8, in the Red Clay Consolidated School District and Brandywine School District, both in New Castle County, DE. Her love of learning began as a young child with writing short stories. She is a third generation educator, who takes pride with continuing a family legacy of scholarship and service.

About Christine Labaze

Christine Labaze

Christine Labaze is a reading enrichment teacher at Family Foundations Academy in New Castle, DE. She has a passion for teaching reading and writing which stems from her work with kindergarten and first grade students for the past 9 years. She is most proud of the work she has put in to move emergent readers and writers into fluent readers and writers. Christine has always been eager to read more students. As a reading enrichment teacher, she helps support teachers from kindergarten to 4th grade teach reading and writing and works with students in whole group and small group settings with a focus on reading and writing.

Christine graduated in 2007 with a bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education. In 2009, she obtained her Masters in Early Childhood Intervention and Family Support. Her final research project titled “Choose Reading” focused on increasing the amount of time students spend voluntarily reading. In 2012, Christine became a National Board Certified teacher in General Education/Early Childhood. She is influenced by the work of Jan Richardson and Lucy Calkins. Christine has a deep interest in guided reading and writing workshop.

About Deanna Hess

Deanna Hess

Deanna is a high school English teacher with a passion for learning.  Her desire for teaching and learning started when Deanna volunteered her time with Lake Forest  High School’s Theater program.  After earning her Bachelor’s degree in English Education from Delaware State University, Deanna taught Ninth Grade English and 12th Grade Advanced Placement (AP) English Literature at Christiana High School from 2004-2008, and then transitioned to working with adults as an Instructional Coach. In 2011, Deanna earned a Master’s Degree in Reading from Wilmington University.

Although Deanna LOVED being an Instructional Coach and enjoyed working with adult learners, she was ready to be back in the classroom, doing what she loves, which is teaching teenagers.  2013 saw a move to Dover High School, where Deanna has happily called home, teaching 10th Grade English, AP Language and Composition, and ENG 121- a Dual Enrollment partnership with her alma mater, Wilmington University.

Deanna is certified in English (6-12), Special Education (K-12), and as a Reading Specialist.  She’s been a fellow with Delaware Writing Project, Curriculum Lead, and Professional Learning Community facilitator.

When she’s not spending time with her work family, Deanna spends time with her children (furry and not furry) and her boyfriend, Rob.


About Elizabeth Obold

Elizabeth Obold

Elizabeth is a 6th grade English Language Arts and special education teacher at Gunning Bedford Middle School in Colonial School District. Elizabeth’s teaching strategies focus on differentiation to meet the needs of her diverse learners and allow students to make progress on the IEP goals. In addition to teaching 6th grade, Elizabeth is an adjunct professor at Wilmington University in the Masters of Reading Program.

About Emma Heck

Emma Heck is a first-year teacher and recent graduate from the University of Delaware, where she received a B.A. in English Education. She will begin her teaching career as a 8th grade English teacher at Odyssey Charter School, and is excited to see what kinds of things she will learn during her first year teaching. Ms. Heck’s goal for her first year is to improve her writing instruction, and she is hoping that the Delaware Writing Project will give her the tools to do so.

Ms. Heck is especially passionate about working with English Language Learners, and hopes to pursue a Master’s Degree in teaching English as a second language (TESOL). Emma eventually wants to become a Fulbright ETA, but wants to gain experience and confidence as a teacher before relocating to teach in another country.

About Elizabeth Tedrick

Elizabeth Tedrick is a graduate of the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Music, and Towson University with a Master of Secondary Education.  Her professional teaching career began in 2009 in Harford County, Maryland.  Here, she taught a variety of different English courses, including reading intervention classes, 10th grade Honors classes, and a creative writing elective course.  In 2015, Elizabeth moved to Delaware and began working for the Brandywine School District at her alma mater, Mount Pleasant High School, where she primarily teaches 10th and 12th grade language and literature courses for the International Baccalaureate Programme, a rigorous, international curriculum with a focus on global awareness and service.  Elizabeth enjoys writing instruction and is a member of the Delaware Writing Project community.  It is her goal to engage students in authentic and relevant lessons in English/Language Arts, thereby preparing them to enter the world as independent, critical thinkers.

About Martha Ford

About Jocelyn Delaney

Jocelyn Delaney

Jocelyn Delaney is a second grade teacher at Saint Edmond’s Academy, a private, all boys school in Wilmington, Delaware.  She has been a second grade teacher for three years.  As an elementary school teacher Jocelyn teaches all subjects but her heart lies in literacy instruction.  Jocelyn believes in the power of words, authentic text, technology, and flexibility. Her classroom instruction and environment are designed around these beliefs. Jocelyn works collaboratively with her colleagues to implement reading and writing instruction that will prepare her students for success.

Jocelyn participated in a two year study of non-fiction and argumentative writing with the Delaware Writing Project in 2014-2016.  She also is participating in the 2016 Invitational Summer Institute.  In 2015 she presented Tech in the Everyday Elementary Classroom at Saint Edmond’s Academy Technology Institute.

Jocelyn earned her bachelor’s degree from Wilmington University in elementary and special education in 2012.

About JoEllen Clark

JoEllen Clark

JoEllen Clark is a fourth grade teacher at Immaculate Heart of Mary School in the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware.   Previously she taught small group math, reading, and ELA for ten years at Immaculate Heart of Mary School. JoEllen holds a B.A. in English from the University of Delaware and a M.Ed. from Wilmington University with a certification for Reading Language Arts and Social Studies (5-8).

About Joe Naccarato

About Kimberly Wagner

Kimberly Wagner

Kim Wagner is a literacy specialist for the Professional Development Center for Educators at University of Delaware.  As a literacy specialist, Kim works with teachers and administrators to improve the state of literacy in Delaware.  Her work focuses primarily on writing instruction, building early foundation skills in literacy, and improving reading comprehension in elementary students.

Kim is the Site Director for the Delaware Writing Project. She became a Delaware and National Writing Project Teacher Consultant in 2010 after attending the Invitational Summer Institute.  Delaware Writing Project provided Kim with several leadership opportunities, and as Site Director she looks forward to providing leadership experiences for others.

In 2013 Kim, became a National Board Certified Early and Middle Child Literacy:  Reading-Language Arts teacher.   Kim was a classroom teacher for 10 years in both public and private schools.  In her earliest teaching years, she quickly developed a passion for literacy instruction as a first grade teacher.

Kim is currently pursuing her Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership with a focus in literacy from the University of Delaware.

About Lauren Norwood

Lauren Norwood

Lauren Norwood is a fourth grade teacher at the Southern Delaware School of the Arts, who has a passion for teaching through the arts.  She has taught for 16 years in the following content areas: 1-8 writing, 6th,7th and 8th grade language arts.  She has served as a CCSS ELA and Math curriculum writer for her district, is part of the district’s leadership cadre team as well as her school’s leadership team. She has also been SDSA’s teacher of the year.

Active in her community, she serves as the President of Beta Sigma Phi service sorority where she has helped raise over $50,000 in scholarship money for local high school seniors.

She has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Marketing from Salisbury University and a Masters of Education from Wilmington University. She believes literacy and writing are at the heart of her teaching style and believes in integrating all subject areas through it. She currently is taking part in the Delaware Writing Institute.

Lauren  lives close to Bethany Beach, Delaware where you will find her either spending time with her family , sitting on the beach or hunting for treasures at a yard sale or vintage store (especially children’s books). When she has time she loves to travel and is always looking for a reason to put a stamp in her passport.

About Lindsey Poinsett

Lindsey Poinsett

Lindsey Poinsett is currently a fourth grade teacher at Saint Edmond’s Academy, a private school for boys in grades JK-8th in Wilmington, DE.  She teaches multiple subjects but enjoys teaching English Language Arts and social studies the most.  She taught second grade for two years and then found a home in fourth grade.  Being a teacher at Saint Edmond’s Academy has really helped Lindsey learn about effective instructional practices for educating boys as well as ways to integrate technology into the classroom through the school’s iPad program.

Lindsey graduated from The University of Delaware in 2009 with a Bachelors of Science in Education and recently earned her Masters degree in reading instruction from Wilmington University during the spring of 2016.  She is certified to teach general elementary classes and middle school social studies classes in both Delaware and Pennsylvania.

During the 2014-2015 school year, Lindsey began her work with the DWP by participating with a group of teachers from Saint Edmond’s Academy in their teacher leadership program.  During this year long program, Lindsey helped her team create an instructional unit for teaching argumentative writing within multiple grade levels.  The following year, Lindsey became the lead teacher for her school within this program and directed her team to create a similar instructional unit with a focus on informational writing.

Lindsey is a firm believer that teachers need to be life-long learners within their field.  She is always looking for new and exciting ways to teach and motivate her students.  When she is not busy in the classroom, Lindsey enjoys spending time with her boyfriend Matt at their home in West Chester, boating on the Chesapeake, or riding ATV’s in the mountains of Pennsylvania.

About Jennifer McCullough

Jennifer McCullough

Jennifer McCullough is a first grade teacher at St. Peter Cathedral School in Wilmington, Delaware.  She has been teaching first grade for nine years.  She is dual certified in both Elementary Education K-6 and as a teacher of Exceptional Children K-12.  Jennifer is very passionate about teaching and enjoys bringing creativity and imagination into her classroom.

Jennifer graduated from Wilmington University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Eduction K-6.  She is planning on pursuing her Master’s Degree in Reading from Wilmington University this fall with the goal of becoming a Reading Specialist.  This summer she is taking part in the Delaware Writing Project.  She is looking forward to learning about the best practices in writing instruction for the elementary and middle school levels.

Jennifer was born and raised in Londonderry, Northern Ireland.  She moved to the United States when she was nine years old.  She is a doting aunt to her adorable nephew and enjoy reading books in her spare time.


About Melanie Prince

Melanie Prince

Melanie Prince is an elementary school teacher in the Colonial School District located in New Castle, Delaware. Melanie believes strongly in the adage that “the sky’s the limit” for everyone trying to achieve anything. Melanie has been an educator for 14 years and teaches 21st century skills to all students she encounters. She allows her students to collaborate, communicate, create and critically think to prepare them for the world they live in.

A graduate of West Virginia University and Wilmington University, Melanie hails from Brooklyn, New York by way of Georgetown, Guyana. She loves to travel and learn new things. Writing is her passion. She enjoys the company of her two daughters, who teach her something new each and every single day.

About Robyn Howton

Robyn Howton


Robyn Howton remembers when her first grade teacher, Mrs. Knight, read her short story about a Brown Bear and wrote on the paper “You are a writer!”  That simple piece of encouraging feedback convinced her to see herself as a writer. From that point on, she saw feedback from teachers as part of the writing process not proof she was doing something wrong. She strives to provide her students with the same kind of encouragement along with highly effective instruction so they too see themselves as writers who use feedback to improve.

Robyn received her Bachelor of Science in Education with an emphasis in English and American History from SIU-Edwardsville in 1991. In 2001, Robyn received her Master of Education – Curriculum and Instruction from Lindenwood University followed by an additional graduate program in Educational Leadership to attain her administrator’s certification. Over the summer of 2007, she was a fellow in the Delaware Writing Project Invitational Summer Institute. She developed a workshop on working with reluctant writers and feels being a part of the DWP improved her pedagogy and practice as a writing teacher leading to her feeling confident enough to attempt National Board Certification.  In 2007, she became a National Board Certified Teacher in Adolescent English. Howton claims becoming a NBCT was the single most power professional development of her career.

After teaching middle school in Illinois for one year, she moved to Silex, Missouri and taught in a very small rural school with 312 students K-12 followed by teaching at a fast-growing rural/suburban school in Troy, Missouri. After 15 years in the classroom, she moved to Delaware to teach at Mount Pleasant High School in the Brandywine School District. Mount Pleasant is a diverse urban/suburban comprehensive high school in Wilmington, DE. For relaxation and fun, Robyn helps the coaching staff of the football and track and field teams with stats and monitoring athletes academic performance. Howton is also the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) coordinator for Mount Pleasant and enjoys teaching an AVID elective class each year.

Robyn is a member of the Rodel Foundation of Delaware’s Teacher Council, a former Hope Street Group National Teacher Fellow, and a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Teacher Advisory Council member. She feels serving on these councils allows her to bring her experiences in the classroom to the conversation of education policy both locally and nationally. Howton is currently researching Teacher Prep programs in Delaware as a follow up to the national research done by Hope Street in 2015. She is also a member of the original BRINC Consortium Cohort and has been implementing Blended Lessons in her classroom since 2012. She is confident blended learning has lead to each student having a more Personalized Learning experience and plans to continue to improve her understanding of pedagogy and practice in these areas.

Robyn is also the mother and mother-in-law to two teachers. Her son Adam Goforth is an ELA teacher, and her daughter-in-law Kelly teaches math. She says of all the things she has done as a teacher, she is most proud that her son chose to follow her footsteps into the education field because “being a teacher means shaping the future of the world”.

About Rufus Jennings

Rufus Jennings

During his career as a public educator, Rufus Jennings has been recognized by his peers as a model educator resulting in several nominations for Teacher of the Year. The Wilmington News Journal has featured and cited Mr. Jennings in two articles.  The first article, published in June 2003, was entitled, “Full-day Kindergarten May Bridge the Divide.”  In 2012, National Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa Sorority, Incorporated (RHO) Chapter named Rufus Jennings as a “Distinguished Educator of the Year.

Rufus Jennings graduated from Delaware Community College with a major in Human Services and Early Childhood Education.   He received Bachelor of Science degrees from Wilmington University, in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education.  Currently, he is pursuing a Master’s degree from Delaware State University in Curriculum and Instruction.  Rufus is the first male in his family to obtain a post-secondary education degree.  Unfortunately, over the past 25 years, he is among the two percent of African American males from his high school who have obtained a college degree.   Rufus is employed with the Red Clay Consolidated School District as an educator at Highland Elementary School in Wilmington, Delaware.  Rufus has served on many building and district committees.  He has been a team leader, union representative and the member of the building leadership team.   He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi, Fraternity,  Incorporated.

After reflecting on how writing was introduced to Rufus as an elementary student, in a rural school house in Alabama during the early 1970’s, he came to the realization that the writing curriculum was limited with a lot in direct writing instructions which led to lack of student input, expressions, creative and excitement of writing that may have halted his lack of expression through writing.  As a professional, Rufus is glad that he has had an opportunity to participate in workshops and professional development trainings which have aided and provided him with best practices strategies to use in his classroom. The best practices strategies, resources and tools obtained while participating in the Delaware Writing Project can be stored in your teacher’s toolbox.   Regardless of what grade, the best practices strategies and other resources from the Delaware Writing Project have proven to be effective and resourceful in aiding the students through the writing process.


About Sara Anderson

Sara Anderson

Sara Anderson is currently a 1st grade teacher at Cedar Lane Elementary School in the Appoquinimink School District. Sara has been teaching for four years. Sara previously taught 5th grade in a co-teaching setting her first two years in teaching. This is Sara’s second year in teaching 1st grade.  Sara continues to teach inclusion but in a single teacher classroom.

Sara is the Chair of her schools Sunshine committee and the schools Odyssey of the Mind coordinator. Sara also participates on committees such as the Lighthouse Team, Safety Team and School Success committee. Sara is currently working on a Masters Degree at Wilmington University with a degree in Special Education and a certificate in Autism. Sara’s passion outside of education is to travel. She has been to twenty different countries throughout five continents.

This coming school year Sara is excited to transform her classroom in the effort to make it more student centered. She raised money through Donors Choose to be able to purchase flexible seating to implement into her classroom. Flexible seating is a new concept that gets rid of the tradition desks and chairs and gives students choices for work spaces throughout the day.