IWP’s teacher-leaders are seasoned and highly skilled professional developers and consultants. All are experienced public school teachers, have been trained in IWP leadership institutes and internships, and are credentialed to offer programs carrying National Louis University graduate credit. Along with leading professional development programs, the leadership team also guides the policies, planning, conferences, and events of the Project.

Many other outstanding educators not listed here have been trained in leadership by the IWP and continue to take major roles in their schools and districts.

Linda Bailey
Linda Bailey – A retired Chicago elementary teacher, writing program leader, area reading coach and non-profit program director, Linda also worked with the National-Louis U. Center for City Schools, facilitating professional development with teachers in classrooms and leading the monthly mini-conferences.

Jan BoothJan Booth – Jan Booth has been a teacher leader with IWP for over 25 years, and currently serves as co-director for the Summer Leadership Institute. She retired from the classroom with experience in special, elementary, and gifted education. She now serves as adjunct faculty in Concordia University’s literacy department. Jan and her husband are active members of the Stage Coach Players theatre in her home town, DeKalb. They also enjoy agility training with their four dogs.

Pat BraunPat Braun – Pat retired from public school teaching and is now Assistant Professor of Education at Benedictine University at Springfield. She and her husband live on Lake Springfield where they boat, fish, and bird watch. She enjoys the Springfield area rich with history, art, and outdoor activities and where she encourages elementary education majors to take advantage of the local resources. She is Past President of the Illinois Reading Council and will begin a term of Treasurer in the summer of 2015.

Kari CommareKari Commare – Kari Commare is currently a 4th grade teacher at Fairview Elementary School in Mount Prospect School District 57.  Previously for the past 10 years, she was a 2nd grade teacher at the same elementary school.  She attended IWP’s Summer Writing and Leadership Institute three summers ago, and her interest grew in the organization where she later became a member of the Leadership Team.

Becky D'AngeloRebecca D’Angelo – Rebecca is currently a fifth grade teacher at Edison Elementary School in Elmhurst Il. While she has spent the majority of her teaching career at the fifth grade level, she has had experience with levels kindergarten through eighth grade. She earned a Masters Degree in Teacher Leadership and is a member of district curriculum development teams in the area of writing and E/LA content development. She conducts workshops at professional conferences on the local, state, and national level on the subject of writing and disciplinary literacy. She has co-authored a book entitled “Literacy and History in Action” to be published by Teachers College Press in late 2015.

Barbara Dress – A retired public school teacher and expert on reading and children’s literature, Barbara teaches language arts for Roosevelt University and acts as a staff developer for many schools throughout Chicago. Barbara has a huge collection of children’s books. And she is a highly experienced IWP leader.

Julia EmigJulia Emig – Dr. Julia Emig taught high school English in Chelsea, Massachusetts, and worked as a Literacy Coach for the Boston Public Schools for 8 years. In 2004, she became Assistant Professor of Literacy Instruction for the Master of Arts in Teaching Program at Bard College in New York; in addition, she worked as a literacy consultant for the National Urban Alliance, which works nationally to improve urban education. From 2010 to 2014 she worked as a literacy specialist for Chicago Public Schools and is currently Associate Director of Project READI, an adolescent literacy research initiative at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Marianne FlanniganMarianne Flanagan – Marianne’s education career spans 40 years, including 26 as an elementary teacher. She began leading professional development with the Center for City Schools at National-Louis U. She then became a facilitator for the School Teams Achieving Results for Students (STARS) program in Chicago Public Schools. She now leads IWP workshops on classroom writing workshop and literature circles, and mentors Michigan State U. pre-service teachers in their internships at CPS.

Nancy GalasNancy Galas – is a retired elementary teacher and library media specialist. She holds a masters degree in Library and Information Science from Dominican University and a Masters in Educational Leadership from North Central College. She continues to work as a teacher leader focusing her efforts on professional development at the local, state, and national levels.  Her love of  history and reading combined with her belief that learning is a social activity continues to fuel her passion for  teaching.  Nancy has co-authored “Literacy and History in Action”  to be published in the fall of 2015 by Teachers College Press. She has been active in developing Social Emotional Learning curriculum and has recently become involved in disciplinary literacy and science. She also supervises student teachers and works to inspire a passion for reading and learning in her grandchildren.

Debbie Gurvitz

Debra Gurvitz – Speaking at many conferences., Debra focuses on urban education, diversity among learners, and school-based professional learning. She taught kindergarten, first, and multi-age groups, mentored classroom teachers as a reading coach and served as a K-­‐8 district reading specialist. After completing a doctorate from National Louis University, she served as an Associate Professor in Reading and Language, taught graduate clinical reading specialist courses, and continues to direct the Urban Summer Reading Program. Publications include Complete Guide to Tutoring Struggling Readers: Mapping Interventions to Purpose and CCSS (Fisher, Bates, Gurvitz, 2014) and a chapter in Partnering for Content Reading (Ogle, 2010).

Mary HausnerMary Hausner – Mary taught elementary school for 13 years and then became the coordinator of reading, language arts and foreign language for Elgin School District U46 before retiring. She is currently the Elgin site coordinator for reading recovery, and provides professional development and leadership support for IWP.


Laurie HendricksonLaurie Hendrickson – Laurie is currently a curriculum specialist at Roosevelt Middle School in River Forest where she helps teachers and other education professionals develop strategies along with practical tools to improve classroom practices. Previously, she was a 6th grade teacher leader at Roosevelt with a focus on language arts and Humanities. Her specialties include project-based learning, gifted education, and technology-driven curriculum.

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 7.18.21 PMMarion Ivey- Marion lives and works as a kindergarten teacher in Oak Park.  She has three lovely daughters that make her proud on a daily basis.  She studied as an undergrad in Evanston at National-Louis University, graduating in 1992.  She completed her Masters in 2006 at University of Phoenix.  Both of her degrees are in Early Childhood Education, with a concentration in developmental psychology.  It is her interest in developmentally appropriate practice that drew her to the Illinois Writing Project in search of instructional strategies for young writers.

Judy JohnstoneJudy Johnstone – After 34 years as a classroom teacher and department chair at Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park, Judy shifted to full time language arts consulting. While this mainly focuses on her 25 year relationship with the IWP, working with schools throughout the Chicagoland area, she has also aided numerous schools on improving student achievement. Currently, she is working with a CPS school to develop professional coaching teams.

Ben Kuhlman – Ben is a middle school Science, Social Studies, and Language Arts teacher at Holmes Middle School in Wheeling, Illinois.  He is also an adjunct writing instructor, tutor, and reading specialist. Ben is active on Twitter and is the cofounder of the #TeachWriting chat.  He is also part of the group of teachers that helps organize EdCamp Chicago.  Most of all, he is interested in how writing helps teachers and students make useful connections across disciplines and genres.

Sandra Laszkiewicz – 

Mitch LazarusMitch Lazarus – Mr. Lazarus has retired from teaching 7th/8th grade Science at Tefft Middle School in Elgin u-46.  Previously he taught for 12 years in CPS where he was introduced to and used IWP writing programs. While at CPS, Mr. Lazarus first modified a social emotional learning program for business to successfully increase students’ reading, writing and math achievement. He has over 30 years business and consulting experience training adults with a focus on SEL to improve achievement.  He is now focused on spreading the use of this successful SEL program to other businesses, schools, and districts.

Pam MoriartyPam Moriarty – Pam currently teaches second grade at Lincoln School in River Forest and serves as secretary/ co-director of the Illinois Writing Project. She became involved with the IWP since taking the 30 Hour Summer Workshop, followed the next summer by the Summer Leadership Institute. Summer Kids Writing Camps hold a special place in her heart.

Stacie NoiseyStacie Noisey – Stacie Noisey is currently the Director of Curriculum, ELL, and Gifted in Lake Zurich CUSD 95. In this K-12 role, she coordinates student support services and literacy programs, as well as, curriculum development and district-wide professional development. Previously she has served as a literacy coach and reading specialist, taught literature, and special education. As a state and regional presenter, Stacie specializes in literacy and ELL topics.

UntitledDeborah Shefren – Deborah Shefren is an educational consultant with more than 35 years of experience as a classroom teacher, reading specialist, literacy coach, and adjunct faculty member at National Louis University where she teaches graduate courses in reading and supervises student teachers. Deborah received her MA in Curriculum and Instruction from National Louis University. Deborah has presented on numerous occasions at the International Reading Association and Illinois Reading Council conferences. She has provided professional development on writing, comprehension, assessment, balanced literacy, inquiry based instruction, word study, differentiation, and classroom management.

Katy SmithKaty Smith – A longtime high-school English teacher and expert in curriculum integration and interdisciplinary teaching, Katy now teaches at Northeastern Illinois University and is serving as leadership intern with IWP. She has authored journal articles: “Becoming an ‘honors student’: The interplay of identities, literacies in an interdisciplinary classroom” and “Becoming the guide on the side.” Katy has led many IWP workshops on writing and leadership.

STEINEKE PHOTO-2Nancy Steineke – A public school teacher for 37 years, Nancy now consults nationally as a keynote speaker, workshop presenter, and literacy coach. She specializes in content-area literacy, nonfiction writing, purposeful close reading, literature circles, and student engagement, always focusing on manageable teaching strategies that best benefit students. A published author, Nancy’s work with book clubs and student led discussion groups is captured in her books Assessment Live! and Reading and Writing Together. She also has been featured in classroom videos for Best Practice and Comprehension and Collaboration. Nancy presents annually at the National Council of Teachers of English, International Reading Association, and various state conferences.

Mary Stoeger Mary Stoeger – Mary teaches Special Education at Oak Park River Forest High School. She has been working in education for 10 years and has a background in special education. Mary’s passion is literacy, and she is dedicated to learning, teaching, and sharing it with the world.


DSCN1500Steve Zemelman – Steve has worked on writing instruction and school reform for many years in Chicago and across the country. He helped found Best Practice High School in Chicago, plus other small schools in the city, and served on the Steering Committee of the Consortium on Chicago School Research. His most recent book is 13 Steps to Teacher Empowerment, written with Harry Ross. Presently he’s promoting teacher voice through the website http://teachersspeakup.com and writing a new book on action civics as a strategy for developing students as active and empowered citizens.

For a selection of published books and articles by IWP leaders, click here.

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