Don Anderson teaches at a small public school in northwest Oregon. Besides journalism, he teaches college English, AP chemistry and forestry. He got his love of classics from Reed College, his love of science from Oregon State University and his love of teaching from George Fox University. Nine times a year, his students create a publication, The Jay, which has a circulation of about 1,000. The Jay fulfills the need of a small newspaper and literary magazine for the community of Jewell, where he teaches. He also works for The Daily Astorian, a local newspaper in Astoria, Oregon.
Greg Anderson has been involved with scholastic journalism for 28 years. As a young English teacher, he was asked whether he would take over the student newspaper, and he naively said, “Sure; that sounds interesting.” Little did he know that his life would never be the same – but for the better! He advised the student newspaper at San Manuel High School and Sedona Red Rock High School in Arizona and currently advises the Arapahoe Herald newspaper, the Calumet yearbook and the Spear broadcast and video team at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado. He launched the student media website ArapahoeXtra.com this year.
Lindsay Benedict is in her fourth year of teaching a full schedule of journalism and broadcast journalism classes at McLean High School in northern Virginia, where she advises The Highlander newsmagazine/website and WMHS News, a live morning show. She loves working with students to create multiple publications and was honored to receive the JEA Rising Star award this year. Lindsay received her undergraduate degree in English/international studies/Spanish (with a minor in film studies) from the University of Idaho and earned her Master of Education from Portland State University. Her hobbies include traveling, reading/writing, and hanging out with her husband and two cats.
Tracy Brogelman has been teaching for 10 years at Grafton High School in Grafton, Wisconsin. She teaches English 9; English 10/American literature; and professional writing, a course that produces the yearbook and an online news magazine. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Minnesota and a master’s in teaching from Cardinal Stritch University, where she has also taught in the post-bac education program. Her husband, Ryan, also teaches at Grafton, and they have two children, ages 6 and 8. In her spare time, she tries to keep up on reading, running and DIY home projects.
Kristi Calvery is an English and journalism teacher at Conrad High School in Conrad, Montana. She graduated from Conrad High School in 2002, received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Great Falls in 2007 and finished her master’s degree in May of 2015. She is the adviser for the high school newspaper, The Cowboy Chronicles. In her free time, Kristi enjoys traveling, camping, writing and reading.
Sandra Coyer is an Advanced Placement senior literature teacher and publication adviser at Puyallup High School in Puyallup, Washington. She has advised The Viking Vanguard newspaper for the past 16 years and its website counterpart for the past three years. Next year, she will be teaching Broadcast Journalism I &II, a course she designed, for the first time. She graduated with a communications degree from the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication at Washington State University in 1998 and a master’s in teaching from Grand Canyon University in 2004.
Marissa D’Orazio teaches English 11 and journalism at Centreville High School in Fairfax County, just outside of Washington, D.C. She is the adviser of Centreville’s student-run newspaper, The Sentinel. Although she previously sponsored a middle school publication, 2014-15 marked her first school year as a high school adviser. She graduated from University of Virginia, where she worked as an editor on The Cavalier Daily and earned a bachelor’s degree in English. After graduation, she began teaching secondary English and earned her master’s in education from UVA, as well. She is currently a Master of Fine Arts candidate in fiction writing at George Mason University.
Leslie Dennis is the assistant director the South Carolina Scholastic Press Association and Southern Interscholastic Press Association, which includes the Carolina Journalism Institute. She graduated from the University of South Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in English with a creative writing concentration and a master’s degree in American literature. She is an avid reader, especially of modern American literature, and film buff with a propensity toward 1940s and ’50s foreign films. Most of her time outside scholastic journalism is spent with her husband and three cats.
Kaitlin Edgerton is an English teacher at Madison High School in Madison Heights, Michigan. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in English and Master of Arts in Teaching in secondary education from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. She currently advises The Aquilla, a print and online newspaper, and The Madisonian, a yearbook publication, at Madison High School. She is a member of the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association. She regularly participates in journalism conferences at Michigan State University and has participated in MIPA’s judging day. In addition to teaching journalism, she teaches AP literature and composition and ninth-grade literacy and is the adviser of the National Honor Society.
Marcia Erickson is a seventh-grade world history teacher and a ninth-grade introduction to journalism teacher at Hollidaysburg Area Junior High School in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. She advises the school newspaper, Eye of the Tiger, and the yearbook club, Tiger Tales. She also serves as a library assistant. She received her Master of Education from Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania, and she graduated from Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, with a Bachelor of Science in Education in comprehensive social studies with a psychology concentration and an English minor. She is also certified in English, communications and library science. Marcia is an avid geocacher and enjoys travel.
Michelle Fields has a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s in education. After a 12-year career in the insurance industry where she supervised employee publications, she took time off with her children. During this time, she worked part-time as a reporter for a local weekly newspaper, The Vermont Standard. Michelle began teaching high school English in 2006 and started a school newspaper, Woodstock Union High School’s The Buzz, in Woodstock, Vermont, a year later at the request of several students. When not teaching journalism, English I or AP language and composition, Michelle loves to hike, read, cook and travel.
Susan Gray has advised The Stampede newspaper and The Hoofbeats yearbook at Wichita Southeast for 17 years. She received a Bachelor of Science in English and journalism and a Master of Arts in English from Emporia State University and a teaching license from Wichita State. The Stampede was named All-Kansas twice, and Hoofbeats was featured in the Jostens Look Book twice. She received the Ad Astra advising award from the Kansas Scholastic Press Association in 2012. Gray worked externships with The Wichita Eagle and The Newton Daily Kansan. Married with three daughters, she enjoys music, writing poetry and running. She ran her first marathon last year at 47.
Kristen Hamilton has been an English teacher for the past 10 years and currently teaches language and literature honors, college literature, multicultural literature and writing enrichment at Roslyn High School in Roslyn, New York. She also advises the school newspaper, The Hilltop Beacon. Next year, she will be launching a journalism class, which will be a first for Roslyn High School. She received her bachelor’s from the University of Chicago and her master’s in education from Queens College. Outside of teaching, she is an enthusiastic runner who enjoys spending as much time outdoors and at the beach as possible.
Laura Harrawood grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, and earned her Bachelor of Arts in journalism at the University of Montana in Missoula and her Master of Education in English education from Vanderbilt University. She moved to Lexington, Virginia, in 1989 for her first teaching job with Rockbridge County Schools; earned a Master of Arts in creative writing from Hollins University; and has taught for 26 years in the same system, focusing on junior English, creative writing, expository writing and journalism. She founded the Rockbridge County High School student newspaper, The Prowler, in 1993 and started an online version of the paper this year. Divorced, she loves skiing and riding horses.
Niki Hively is a second-year journalism teacher at Newton High School in Newton, Iowa. She graduated from Central College in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and English. She then completed a Master of Arts degree in secondary education in 2013 and began teaching high school journalism. She now teaches graphic design, photojournalism and introduction to journalism and advises two publications, The Cardinal Chronicle (newspaper) and The Newtonia (yearbook). She also coaches the speech team and does some freelance photography work. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, camping and boating.
Michelle Huss has taught for nine years at two different schools. She currently teaches 21st century journalism, computer applications and computer graphics in addition to advising The Tiger Print newspaper and Reflections yearbook at Blue Valley High School in Overland Park, Kansas. After graduating from Kansas State University with a degree in journalism and business education, she earned her master’s degree in business education from Emporia State University. In her spare time, Michelle enjoys photography and traveling. She also likes to work in the garden and spend time at the lake.
Jordyn Kiel just completed her first year of teaching and advising in the high school newsroom. After graduating from the University of Missouri in 2013, she came right back to her high school alma mater to take on an incredible opportunity teaching with her own high school adviser. She teaches all introductory-level journalism and photojournalism courses and advises the Excalibur yearbook. Although she’s just beginning her teaching career, she’s excited to see where the ever-changing world of journalism takes her. Her time away from students usually involves family and St. Louis Cardinals baseball.
Peter Laub advises The Lasso at George Mason High School in Falls Church, Virginia, where he also teaches journalism, creative writing and English. He has a Bachelor of Arts in communication from La Salle University and a Master of Education in English education from The Ohio State University. He devotes his free time to his garden, baseball games and trying to not be a total screw-up as a father.
Lina Mai has been an educator in New York City for over a decade. Currently, she teaches journalism and humanities at Frank McCourt High School, located in Manhattan. She advises the publication of a print and online student newspaper, McCourt News. Born in Belarus, she was raised near Princeton, New Jersey. She has a master’s degree in education through the NYC Teaching Fellows program. In addition, she earned a bachelor’s degree in English at Cornell University and a master’s degree in journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.
Christina Mitro teachers English 10 at Langley High School in northern Virginia, where she also is the adviser for The Saxon Scope, Langley’s student-run newsmagazine. She has an undergraduate degree in vocal performance from The Catholic University of America and holds her Master of Education from George Mason University. When she is not in the classroom, she enjoys spending time with her husband and her year-old daughter, Lucy. They enjoy spending time on the patio at Starbucks or splashing around at the local swimming pool.
Rebekah Morse has advised high school publications in Kansas for 10 years, three at McPherson High School and seven at Wichita High School Northwest. She teaches 21st century journalism, fundamentals of graphic design, photo imaging, digital media and technology, and project management for communications. She advises the Northwest Explorer newsmagazine and website, as well as Northwest’s yearbook, the Silvertip. She is a mother of two, runs to manage her stress levels and enjoys photography.
Ryan Rivera earned a Master of Arts in journalism from the University of Southern California in 2008. In a very short journalism career consisting mostly of internships, Ryan reported for the Orange County Register; OC Weekly; Huffington Post; and The Cape Argus in Cape Town, South Africa. Ryan thought he left journalism behind in 2009 when he began teaching math, but when the veteran journalism teacher at Burbank High School retired in 2013, Ryan threw his hat in the ring and took over as adviser for The Burbank Bulldog student newspaper. His current teaching schedule consists of four periods of geometry and one period of journalism.
Lindsey Ross has been an adviser for five years and just completed her first year at Gardner Edgerton High School in Gardner, Kansas. She advises The Blazer newspaper and The Trailblazer yearbook and teaches 21st century journalism and teen leadership. Ross received her undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and is working toward her master’s in journalism education through Kent State University. She also works for the University of Kansas athletic department tutoring student athletes. When she is not working or doing homework, she enjoys watching TV/Netflix, reading and snuggling with her Yorkie, or attending KU sporting events.
Julie Rowse teaches journalistic writing, photojournalism and publication design, and popular culture studies at Bellevue West High School in Bellevue, Nebraska. She advises the print newspaper, The West Wind, and the news website, The Thunderbeat. She received her Bachelor of Science in secondary education, language arts endorsment, from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and her Master of Arts in popular culture from Bowling Green State University. Julie also teaches piano lessons and serves on the education committee of a local nonprofit cinema. She enjoys reading and watching movies, and she loves watching sports.
Jacob Savishinsky is a New York native, now in Seattle at Raisbeck Aviation High School. He is a co-founder of the school (2004) and founder of the school’s Phoenix Flyer newspaper in 2009. In addition to journalism, he has taught social studies, civics, government and modern world history to freshmen and sophomores and literature to sophomores and juniors. He is nationally board certified in social studies and facilitates cohorts of teachers pursuing their certification. Outside of school, he is a professional musician and music producer, as well as a husband and father of a beautiful 2-year-old daughter.
Sharon Schmidt is a teacher and associate union delegate to the Chicago Teachers Union at Steinmetz, a neighborhood high school where she teaches English and journalism and advises the Steinmetz Star. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English education and a Master of Arts in reading. She is a reporter for Substance, a newspaper covering public education, edited by her husband. She has a 26-year-old stepson and two sons, ages 10 and 13, who she has opt out of most standardized tests. She coaches park district baseball, teaches Sunday School at Loop Church, reads lots of fiction and is devoted to her dog.
C.E. Sikkenga recently wrapped up his 23rd year teaching at Grand Haven High School in West Michigan. For the past 15 of those years, he has advised THE BUCS’ BLADE, GHHS’ student publication. A past president of the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association, he currently serves as the organization’s newspaper chair. A 1992 graduate of Michigan State University, he roots rabidly for the Spartans and Detroit Tigers. With what’s left of his free time, he can often be found crate-digging as he haunts his favorite record stores or enjoying leisurely strolls with his ancient beagle, Booker.
Matthew Smith advises the Cardinal Columns and Fondy Today at Fond du Lac High School, where he has taught English and journalism since 2010. Before becoming an educator, he spent two years as a reporter for a weekly newspaper in suburban Washington, D.C. He earned a journalism degree from the University of Missouri and a Master of Education from the University of Maryland, College Park. He is also currently a member of the board of directors for both the Kettle Moraine Press Association and the Northeastern Wisconsin Scholastic Press Association and a member of the JEA Principal Outreach Committee.
Kelly Sparks, a 24-year veteran teacher, has taught English and journalism at South Ripley High School in Versailles, Indiana, all of her teaching career. She currently teaches English 9, English 9 Honors, beginning journalism and advanced journalism. The Raiders Riot is the publication she advises and is in her first full year of publishing an online school newspaper. She is a graduate of Hanover College with a communications major and an English minor. Hobbies include watching her children compete in a multitude of sports and other activities and scrapbooking.
Nichole Stanford currently teaches English and creative writing at Madison High School in Rexburg, Idaho. She is excited to start a journalism program this upcoming year. Her students will be running their publication through the school’s website and social media pages. She has her Bachelor of Science in English education and feels lucky to have worked as a newspaper editor for a year after graduation. One of her most interesting experiences was starting a small newspaper run by her students while teaching at a juvenile corrections facility. Her hobbies include following her four children around in their activities and reading.
A jack-of-all trades, Rob Sterner has taught thirteen different courses in his 11 years of teaching English at Hershey High School. Currently, he teaches college preparatory English 10, Journalism I and science fiction literature. Next year, he takes on Journalism II and the school newspaper, The Broadcaster, which is moving online. He is an assistant cross country coach and a blogger for the Center for Teaching Quality, a national education research and policy nonprofit. He found his way to teaching journalism through his technical background thanks to stints as a wedding photographer’s assistant and as a self-taught digital filmmaker.
TJ VanDyke has been teaching high school for six years and is currently teaching advanced English 10 and journalism. He holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in education from the University of Tennessee. TJ returned to teach at his alma mater, Dyersburg High School, just two years ago and was bestowed the honor of being named sponsor of the Trojan Torch, an award-winning newsmagazine, when its long-standing sponsor retired. When not working with his students, TJ acts as youth minister at his congregation and loves spending time at home with his four daughters, ages 2-12, and his wonderful wife of 15 years.
An English teacher for 10 years at Penn-Trafford High School, Jason Wawrzeniak has also taught journalism and been adviser of the school newspaper, The Warrior, for the past nine. Prior to his teaching career, Jason worked in public relations for four years after graduating with a political science and English degree from the University of Pittsburgh. He currently resides in suburban Pittsburgh with his wife, Heather, and two children, Truman, 5, and Harper, 2, where he remains stubbornly loyal to Pitt’s perennially disappointing football and basketball teams.
Stephanie Weiss joined the teaching ranks 11 years ago at McDowell High School in Erie, Pennsylvania, where she uses her degree in journalism/mass communications, master’s degree in education and past experience as a writer/editor to create a hands-on atmosphere for her students. Her classes launched the school’s award-winning Trojan Times Online website in 2011. Others create video news for the Trojan News Network that broadcasts to McDowell classrooms daily. A recent addition to McDowell Media has been The Trojan Blitz, a bi-weekly sports news channel on YouTube. When she is not teaching, she enjoys photography and being crafty.
Joanne Wyant teaches ninth grade enriched English and writing for media at Stow-Munroe Falls High School, located in Stow, Ohio. She just completed her 14th year of teaching, and during this time, she has been been the adviser of the high school’s newspaper, The Stohion. She also taught and advised the news program, Stow Student News, her first six years as a teacher. She received both her bachelor’s degree in education and her master’s degree in administration from the University of Akron. She enjoys coaching her daughters’ softball teams and being involved with her four children’s activities.