Abigail M. Woods is 21 years old and currently attends Oklahoma State University; she is anticipating graduation in December of 2021. She is studying Secondary English Education and minoring in English (Creative Writing). She has been working in education for four years with all age groups. Abigail spends her summers working at Camp Waldo in West Virginia. She spends her free time hiking with her dog McGee, hammocking with a good book, and fishing from her kayak. Abigail has previously been published in Dissonance Magazine and will have work appearing in the Red Dirt 2021 Anthology.

Alex Berkley is a high school special education teacher from Buffalo, New York.  He has been teaching for 7 years.  Alex is also a singer/songwriter with several self-released albums available on his Bandcamp page. He likes to implement music in his curriculum because of its success with his students’ performance. He enjoys spending time with his wife and son.

Allison Berryhill teaches English and journalism in Atlantic, Iowa. She is a publications-coordinator for the Iowa Council of Teachers of English.  Her sonnets have been awarded first place in the Iowa Poetry Association’s Lyrical Iowa competition in 2019 and 2020. Her 2020 sonnet was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Follow her on Twitter @allisonberryhil  for photos of #IowaSky and schoolblazing.blogspot.com for essays, where she has been chronicling over 300 days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Andy Schoenborn is an award-winning author and high school English teacher in Michigan at Mt. Pleasant Public Schools. He focuses his work on progressive literacy methods including student-centered critical thinking, digital collaboration, and professional development. He is a past-president of the Michigan Council of Teachers of English, teacher consultant for the Chippewa River Writing Project, and Region Rep for the Michigan Reading Association. His first book, co-authored with Dr. Troy Hicks, Creating Confident Writers was published in 2020. Follow him on Twitter @aschoenborn.

Angelica Braaten is from Dallas, Texas and taught high school English in Louisiana for 5 years. She decided she wanted to teach internationally and ended up moving to Dhaka, Bangladesh. Ms. Braaten is currently teaching middle school English at International School Dhaka. She has incorporated more poetry in her classroom and has had a great response from her students.

Anna J. Small Roseboro, a National Board Certified Teacher has over four decades of experience in public, private schools and colleges, mentoring early career educators, facilitating leadership institutes, in five states. She has served as director of summer programs and chair of her English department, published six textbooks based on these experiences, and was awarded Distinguished Service Awards by the California Association of Teachers of English and the National Council of Teachers of English. Her poetry appears in several issues of Fine Lines: An Anthology of Poetry and Prose (2015-2020) and has published Experience Poems and Pictures: Poetry that Paints/Pictures that Speak (2019).

Ashley Valencia-Pate currently resides in Perkins, Oklahoma. Over the past four years, Ashey has taught English at Stillwater High School. She felt a calling for teaching from a very early age through storytelling. She enjoys her school environment and being part of the community. She advocates for flexible curriculum and the growth that develops in students.

Barb Edler has taught English for the last forty years in Iowa, the last thirty in Keokuk where she encouraged students to find their own voice while taking risks, coaching speech participants, and supporting NHD competitors.  Although retiring from teaching at Keokuk in 2020, she remains active instructing college composition courses. Barb enjoys watching the Mississippi roll by, reading, writing, playing cards, watching birds, and appreciating the simple things in life.

Betsy Jones lives and teaches in Moultrie, Georgia. In her ninth year as a full-time teacher, Betsy is currently an Academic Coach and 7th grade ELA Remote Learning teacher; she has taught Literature/Composition and Drama to 9th through 11th graders. Before accepting the call to become a teacher, she supervised tutoring programs in California; waited tables in South Georgia cafes; mentored students for high school graduation; taught English in Tegucigalpa, Honduras; and managed an independent bookstore. She is a life-long reader, writer, and self-professed “word nerd.”

Denise Hill is a Michigander who ventured to Oregon for a few years before returning to the Mitten State. She has been in education in one way or another since kindergarten and hopes to close on thirty years as a college English teacher. Denise is also Editor of NewPages.com, an online resource for readers and writers, where she curates publication and contest guides for young writers.

Denise Krebs has been writing poetry with students for decades. However, last April was the first time she joined other teachers in a poetry-writing community, the first time she embraced the practice herself. Denise holds a master’s degree in elementary education with a concentration in teaching reading. She teaches English to Arabic-speaking fifth graders in the first modern school in Bahrain, which started in 1899. Her one word for 2020 was TIME. Little did she know the Coronavirus would give her more time to just be. Besides enjoying the solitude and relaxing after too many years of so much doing, she also keeps busy reading, telling Bible stories, cooking and baking. Follow her on Twitter at @mrsdkrebs.

Donnetta Norris resides in Mansfield, Texas, and is a 2nd grade teacher with ArlingtonISD. She has been an educator for the last 12 years. She is a graduate of Bowling Green State University (BSBA), Webster University (MAHRM), and Western Governors University (Post-Baccalaureate Teaching Certification). She is passionate about, and committed to, improving her writing craft as a teacher-writer., as well as a writing teacher. She is a community leader and facilitates workshops with TeachWrite, LLC.

Emily Yamasaki lives in San Diego, California and has been teaching for 10 years in the public school system. She currently teaches sixth grade math and science. Emily studied Psychology and Education at the University of California, San Diego and continued to earn her Masters in Education from University of California, Los Angeles. Emily is a fellow and teacher consultant with the San Diego Area Writing Project with the National Writing Project.

Gayle Sands  lives in Taneytown, Maryland, a small town just south of Gettysburg, PA. She retired from 27 rewarding years as an English teacher/Reading Specialist in local middle schools in July of 2020. She earned a 1978 BS in psychology (which allowed her to  work in retail) and a career-change MA in Elementary Education.  She has always loved words, and writing has been a source of pleasure and pride to her.

Glenda Cowen-Funk retired from a 38 year career as a classroom teacher of English and speech communication. Glenda is a National Board Certified Teacher in Young Adulthood English Language Arts. She holds a MA in English literature from Idaho State University. During her career Glenda coached forensics at Highland High School in Pocatello, Idaho, where she taught from 1989-2019. She taught two years in Iowa at Urbana Community School and began her career at Kofa High School in Yuma, Arizona, where she taught  from 1981-1984 and 1986-1989. Her experience includes teaching AP Literature and Composition and working as an adjunct instructor for Idaho State U in the Early College Program. Glenda has been blogging since 2010 at https://evolvingenglishteacher.blogspot.com and has written for California English, but she only began writing poetry in March, 2018.

Jamie Langley teaches in Austin, Texas. She has taught in Austin for more than 25 years. Currently she teaches AP Language and Composition and 9th grade Pre-AP ELA. She teaches at the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, a public girls school in Austin where she also serves as English department chair. Jamie is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and completed course work at the University of Texas in Austin to gain teacher certification. She has been a part of the New Jersey Writing Project in the past and currently a part of the National Writing Project through the University of Texas, Heart of Texas Writing Project.

Jennifer Guyor Jowett is an educator from Lansing, Michigan. Having attained her degree from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, MI, she has taught for thirty years, mainly as a middle school ELA educator. She believes writing is a form of artistic expression and participating in a writing community allows teachers to speak authentically as writers with their students.

Jennifer Sykes, a 14-year veteran of the ELA classroom in Lansing, Michigan, has spent her years so far with 7thand 8thgrade students at a large Catholic school. Her love for writing developed in middle school when she was introduced to strong female characters like Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter Series and started imitating poetry of strong female writers like Maya Angelou. Jennifer also finds great inspiration from music and lyrics that follow poetic forms. She believes that giving students the opportunity to write gives them the opportunity to share their voice.

Kate Currie is originally from suburban Chicago and currently resides in Florence, South Carolina. She serves English Department Chair and Associate Athletic Director and teaches juniors and seniors. Also, she serves as an academic advisor for the athletic programs. She holds a BA in Literary Studies and a MEd in Secondary English Education from DePaul University. She is currently working on her EdD in Curriculum and Instruction from University of South Carolina.

Katrina Morrison teaches 10th and 12th grade English in Skiatook, Oklahoma. This year marks her 15th year in the classroom. Katrina graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a BA in English and a minor in German. She earned a Master of Science in Higher Education Leadership from Northeastern University in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Katrina loves to read, write, read about writing, and write about reading.

Kimberly Johnson, EdD, is the District Literacy Specialist at Pike County Schools in Zebulon, Georgia. She has taught at all levels from Pre-k through high school. Kim enjoys participating in the monthly Open Writes at www.ethicalela.com and sees life’s adventures through the lens of written expression.

Maureen Young Ingram lives and writes in Silver Spring, Maryland. She taught preschool for twenty years, and mentored adults in their work with young children. Now retired, she is particularly proud of her years as founding faculty at a Washington, D.C. public charter. Maureen has a M.A. in International Studies, a B.A. in Political Science and Russian, and Early Childhood Certification. Maureen enjoys writing poetry about children, family, and nature.

Margaret Simon lives on the Bayou Teche in New Iberia, Louisiana. Margaret has been an elementary school teacher for 34 years and currently teaches ELA to gifted students. She has a masters in Education and National Board Certification. UL Press published her first book of children’s poetry, Bayou Song: Creative Explorations of the South Louisiana Landscape. Margaret writes a blog regularly at http://reflectionsontheteche.com.

Melissa Ali is a coordinator at an elementary school in Los Angeles, California. She is the magnet coordinator, English language development coordinator, Title I coordinator, trauma-informed coordinator, and student empowerment coach. She also works as a consultant to help private schools de-colonize their curriculum. Melissa finds relief in her poetry.

Mo Daley has taught preschool through high school, ELA, Spanish, and reading. She is a middle school reading specialist in south suburban Chicago. Mo is a graduate of the University of Illinois and has been teaching for 27 years. She holds masters degrees in English and as a reading specialist. She loves writing and sharing her poetry.

Monica Schwafaty of Redondo Beach, California has been teaching for 26 years. She teaches 8th grade ELA. Monica has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Portuguese and a Masters Degree in Literary Education. Writing has always been an outlet for her; it’s where she escapes to and processes her feelings and thoughts.

Laura Langley lives in Little Rock, AR. She graduated from Hendrix College in 2010 with a Bachelor’s in Film Studies and received a Master’s in Secondary Education from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 2017.  She is currently in her sixth year of teaching high school English Language Arts and this year she has juniors and seniors in a “blended learning environment.”  While she has fancied herself as a writer since middle school, she found her confidence as a writing teacher.  One of her classroom goals is to help her students find their writing confidence and voices.

Lauryl Bennington is a Secondary Education: English major and pre-service teacher at Oklahoma State University and is from Edmond, Oklahoma. She plans to teach in a middle or high school upon graduation. She connects to writing through music, teaching others poetry, and by journaling constantly!

Linda Mitchell is a family girl, Teacher-Librarian in a public middle school and writes when she can get a word in edgewise. She received her BA from Ithaca College, MS from State University of New York at Geneseo and a certificate from the University of Virginia –Wise. Creative writing is a joy that helps her figure out life.

Sarah J. Donovan, Ph.D., is the founder of Ethical ELA. She is a former junior high language arts teacher of fifteen years and current assistant professor of secondary English education at Oklahoma State University. She is the author of Genocide Literature in Middle and Secondary Classrooms (2016) and the young adult novel in verse, Alone Together (2018). Her research includes ethical, inclusive curriculum, methods, and assessment practices in literacy education. She has contributed chapters to The Best Lesson Series: Writing (Talks with Teachers, 2018), Queer Adolescent Literature as a Complement to the English Language Arts Curriculum (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018), Moving Beyond Loss to Societal Grieving (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018), and Contending with Gun Violence in the English Language Classroom (Routledge, 2019); and Unsettling Education: Searching for Ethical Footing in a Time of Reform (Peter Lang, 2019).

Scott McCloskey, from Monroe, Michigan, has been teaching English Language Arts at the secondary level for 26 years and as a part-time adjunct at a community college for 20 years.  When not in the classroom, he enjoys reading and writing and spending time with his wife.  He writes (and reads) poetry because he has yet found no better way to understand himself or humanity than by reading and writing poetry.

Seana Hurd Wright is from Los Angeles, CA. Seana has been teaching for 30 years primarily in the Elementary sector.  She is a National Board Certified Teacher and has taught all grades yet prefers upper grades. She has been fascinated with writing since Middle School and actually wrote a soap opera-ish  novel with a friend in 7th grade that was silly yet exhilarating.  Writing has always been natural and easy for her and she’s  grateful to be able to share her thoughts in this anthology.

Shaun Ingalls lives in Las Vegas, Nevada and is entering his 25th year of teaching. Shaun currently teaches high school English. He received his BA in English with a minor in Middle East Studies from the University of Utah, completed his Secondary Education degree and Theatre education endorsement from Westminster College, and received his M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from University of Nevada Las Vegas. Writing during the pandemic has been a way for him to connect with others and better understand himself.

Stacey Joy, a native of Los Angeles, California, has been an elementary school teacher for 35 years. Stacey is a National Board Certified Teacher and currently teaches multiple subjects in 5th grade. She received her bachelor’s degree from U.C.L.A. and her master’s degree from C.S.U.D.H. Stacey has been writing poetry most of her life but being a fellow of the U.C.L.A. Writing Project helped her connect her writing with her teaching practice.

Stefani Boutelier, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Education at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, MI. Most of her K-12 classroom teaching was at the secondary level in Southern California but she has worked at all levels of education for nearly 20 years. Her published works are in both academic and creative genres.

Susan Ahlbrand is in her 34th year of teaching 8th grade ELA in the small southern Indiana town of Jasper.  A 1988 graduate of Indiana University, she has always written along with her students.  That habit was heightened during the Covid 19 stay-at-home order when she fully participated in #verselove (an online poetry-writing community) as a way of processing the multitude of emotions being experienced.

Susie Morice, a retired educator in St. Louis, Missouri, has been working in various capacities in the field of education. She is a 30-year veteran of the public classroom and was a district leader in language literacy and gifted education. She has taught English Language Arts at the middle school, high school and college levels. Upon retiring from the classroom, she continued to consult in the areas of teaching writing, editing, and transformational school leadership.  Though she always keeps writing and editing for academic publications on her desk, Susie has been, at heart, a lifetime poet. She is active with various poetry organizations and loves the intersection of composing music and lyrics with her poetry writing.

Tamara Belko is a middle school English Teacher, Gifted Intervention Specialist and Creative Writing coach. She has been in education for fifteen years sharing her love of reading, writing and poetry with her students.  Tamara holds a Masters of Education from Ashland University and lives in Rocky River, Ohio with her husband and three children.  When she isn’t reading or writing, she can be found listening to music or hiking with her family.


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Bridge the Distance: An Oral History of COVID-19 in Poems Copyright © 2021 by Dr. Sarah J. Donovan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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