Gretchen Bernabei has taught middle school and high school for 34 years. After earning her B.A. at Southwest Texas State University, she has devoted her professional life to learning, developing, and sharing best practices, particularly through the National Writing Projects. A sought-after speaker, Gretchen has authored Why We Must Run with Scissors: Voice Lessons in Persuasive Writing (2001, Discover Writing Press); Reviving the Essay: How to Teach Structure Without Formula (2005, Discover Writing Press); Lightning in a Bottle (2003, Trail of Breadcrumbs); Sparklers: High Scoring Test Essays and What We Learn from Them (2007, Trail of Breadcrumbs); The Good Writer’s Guide (2006, Hampton-Brown/National Geographic School Publications); Crunchtime: Lessons to Help Students Blow The Roof Off Writing Tests and Become Better Writers in the Process (2009, Heinemann); The Story of My Thinking: Expository Writing Activities for 13 Teaching Situations (Heinemann, 2012); Fun-Size Academic Writing for Serious Learning (Corwin, 2013); Grammar Keepers (Corwin, 2014), Text Structures from the Masters (Corwin, 2016), Text Structures from Nursery Rhymes (Corwin, 2018), and Text Structures from Fairy Tales (Corwin, 2019).
For her work, NCTE honored her with the James Moffett Award in 2010.
She lives in San Antonio, Texas.
Stephanie currently serves students by building capacity in the educators she works with in the areas of special education and literacy. In education since 1995, Stephanie has served as a classroom teacher in both general education and non-traditional learner settings, an instructional coach, campus and district level administrator, and consultant for special populations. She is married to her high school sweetheart, and they have five children from the ages of 12 to 23.
Kayla Briseno has been teaching for thirteen years and has taught all over the world (and Texas). She has taught just about all ages. She and her husband work right down the hall from each other (she teaches 6th and 7th and he teachers 8th), and they are the proud parents of five-year-old Zinnia (budding author and artist).
Stephen Briseno has been teaching English for twelve years and currently teaches 8th grade English at Alamo Heights Junior School. Along with his wife, Kayla, he has trained teachers to build classroom writing communities both in Texas and internationally. He lives in San Antonio where he reads a ton and writes poetry.
Marie Cleary has taught grades K-8 in Title One Schools in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Texas. As a National Writing Project Teacher, she believes that all children and adults have a story to tell and that it starts with a dot. She is a perpetual learner with extensive knowledge and is starting her 42nd year of teaching in Waco teaching 7th grade ELAR. Marie has spoken at NCTE and various districts sharing successful writing strategies and techniques. Her enthusiasm is contagious! In her spare time Marie enjoys spending time with her new granddaughter and keeping her scrapbooks up to date.
Joe Clites has taught 7th grade ELAR for five years in Dallas ISD. He is currently teaching 9th grade ELAR at Woodrow Wilson High School where is the golf coach. Joe has proven success on his campus helping raise test scores to 99% passing. He finds innovative ways to reach every student and generously shares these strategies with others.
Shirley Gerdes has taught elementary school for over thirty years and is a seasoned teacher and presenter. She co-directed the Central Texas Writing Project for twelve years and was an adjunct professor at Texas State University. She is a life-long learner and is passionate about kids, teachers, and learning. Shirley is enthusiastic, positive, and flexible. Giving back and sharing are her goals in life. She is married and has one son, one granddaughter, and a lot of extended family.
Chris Goode has taught 3rd-8th grade in the San Marcos School District for thirty years. She is currently teaching at The Master’s School. She enjoys being a trainer for Gretchen and Trail of Breadcrumbs and believes that Gretchen’s work is the most authentic way to teach writing. She is married, has one son and grandchildren. She loves life!
Dottie Hall has been an educator for over thirty-three plus years. She is married with two children, a son-in-law, two grandchildren and a chocolate lab. Working with students and teachers to be successful writers, Dottie uses her years as a teacher and administrator to be a master presenter of proven strategies for writing. She is the co-author of The Story of My Thinking, an authentic work on expository writing. Her love for teachers and students and her wonderful sense of humor make Dottie one of the most sought after presenters on the subject of writing.
Jayne Hover has over thirty years of experience as a teacher and administrator in all levels from elementary through high school. She loves helping kids develop confidence through writing and has been instrumental in improving scores drastically on state-mandated tests. Because of her love of kids and teachers and her proven success, Jayne is highly sought-after by school districts that want to improve writing instructions. Jayne has co-authored Crunchtime: Lessons to Help Students Blow the Roof Off Writing as well as Text Structures from Nursery Rhymes. Jayne enjoys spending time with her husband in their home in San Antonio.
Lori Johnson started teaching high school English eleven years ago. Her career began with a distinct and pure love for the literature. It quickly transformed into a love for the students and the art of teaching itself. Lori’s passion again shifted from working with students to working with teachers. She currently stays busy teaching 7th grade English and supporting teachers as an instructional specialist. At The Curly Classroom, she and her friend Suzanne blog about their experiences, share resources, and provide strategies to ELAR teachers who love to do things differently. Lori lives in Dallas with her husband and two children.
Jennifer Koppe believes writing is not only for the classroom, but is a way to connect with people. With an extensive thirty-five year experience of working with struggling students (and their families) in the mid-west, west, and San Antonio area, Jennifer is comfortable with any grade level and experience. She especially loves helping people learn how they can connect with all students and diverse learners. Jennifer is the co-author of Text Structures from the Masters.
Suzanne Langston aims to provide information and resources that are engaging, simple, and relevant. At the end of any presentation, she wants you to walk away with ideas that you can confidently implement in your classroom the very next day. With experience teaching reading and writing at the elementary, middle, and high school level, Suzanne can help teachers strengthen skills for current and future success. She firmly believes that smiles and laughter are trademarks of a good lesson. Along with her friend Lori, she co-authors the blog The Curly Classroom.
Honor Moorman has more than 20 years of experience in teaching. She is a National Board Certified teacher who has served as a literacy specialist, dean of instruction, and university instructor. Honor has also been a co-director and teacher consultant for the San Antonio Writing Project, reviewer for ReadWriteThink, and associate editor for NCTE’s Voices from the Middle. She is currently an adjunct faculty member of the Department of Education at Trinity University.
Nicole Morales is a former teacher, reading specialist and literacy curriculum specialist. She currently serves a diverse magnet school as a literacy coach. Nicole is passionate about developing sound literacy practices in classrooms through supporting teachers with practical approaches. Her creativity and engaging personality enhance her work with teachers, students, and those who attend her trainings.
Alana Morris has been a literacy educator for thirty years and has taught all levels from elementary through high school. She received her undergraduate degree in music where she developed her intense interest in the science of learning and how to best reach the special interests and needs of every student. Her background in music education served as a framework for her style and voice as a teacher, which carried over to her exploration and study of language arts and literacy. She is currently the Director of Personalized Professional Learning in Spring Branch ISD in Houston.
After teaching 4th grade in Texas for 17 years, Judi Reimer has experienced almost every evolution of the state writing test. She is currently the Director of Staff Development for Trail of Breadcrumbs where she works with schools, districts, and regions to connect their professional development needs with the perfect workshop and trainer. Judi thoroughly enjoys working with the Trail of Breadcrumbs collaborative and has been privileged to co-author two books with Gretchen, Fun-Size Academic Writing for Serious Learning and Text Structures from Fairy Tales.
Kayla Shook, an energetic, motivational, and inspiring presenter will not only capture your attention, but keep you totally engaged. With eight years of experience teaching 4th grade, she has a wealth of knowledge to share. Kayla demonstrates model lessons and useful strategies and techniques for teaching writing. She maintains a proven track record with successful students. Kayla’s participants appreciate her high energy and implementation techniques. Kayla is a co-author of Text Structures from Nursery Rhymes.
Amy Stengel is currently a literacy and theatre educator at The Advanced Learning Academy in San Antonio ISD. In the past, she has worked as Director of Creative Writing at The North East School of The Arts, Dean of ELA Instruction at Lee High School and as a literacy specialist and independent consultant for San Antonio ISD, Harlandale ISD, Uvalde ISD, Northeast ISD, and other organizations. Amy brings her unique style of sharing into her presentations.
Tracye Thomas began her love affair with writing in junior high with her 6th grade teacher’s daily journaling activity, and her passion for motivating educators to affect change through writing instruction hasn’t wavered since. With 19 years of educational experience as a classroom teacher, instructional specialist, and district coach she continues to motivate educators to challenge and inspire students to develop their own voices through writing as well as explore various ways to engage and empower ALL learners. Her authenticity and passion are evident to those she trains and leaves participants wanting even more at the end of the session.
Maureen Ucles has worked in education for 29 years. She began her educational career as a teacher trainer in Honduras, Central America as a Peace Corps Volunteer. For most of her teaching career, Maureen has worked with bilingual and ESL students in elementary and middle school. Teachers enjoy her workshops because of her vast experience with diverse learners, enthusiasm, knowledge, and humor. Additionally, teachers leave her workshops energized, excited, and confident. She also authors an educational blog called Just Write, Baby 1, 2, 3, a YouTube Channel where she posts educational videos, and a Google Site called The Elementary Digital Reading Project.
Darren Victory has spent the last six years as a 4th-5th grade teacher. Prior to entering the world of education, he spent about fifteen years as a professional writer and editor for a variety of newspapers and magazines. His work has appeared in publications in the United States, South America, and Japan. He lives in Ft. Worth, Texas.
As an ESL Specialist with 30 years of teaching, coaching and presentation experience, Lorraine is a firm believer in Gretchen’s writing techniques. She has been a “groupie” from the early days and was a contributor to Gretchen’s 2012 book, The Story of My Thinking, combining InfoShots to write powerful thesis statements for secondary students. Lorraine believes that thoughtful writing is possible for even reluctant writers and that building student confidence to write in all content areas is critical to their academic success. Lorraine’s engaging presentations model hands-on strategies and low-prep activities that teachers can easily incorporate into their teaching repertoire.