Meet the Team

This is our family of presenters. These stellar educators are equipped to conduct staff development sessions and have received rave reviews from their participants.

Gretchen Bernabei

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.

Email Gretchen

Kayla Briseno

Kayla Briseño has been teaching for 17 years and has taught all over the world (and Texas). She has taught just about all ages. She is a 6th grade teacher and is one of the authors of Text Structures from Picture Books, and is the proud mama of 10-year-old Zinna (budding author and artist).

Stephen Briseño

Stephen Briseño has been teaching English for 16 years and currently teaches 6th and 7th grade English. Along with his wife Kayla he has trained teachers to build classroom writing communities both in Texas and internationally. He lives in Texas where he reads a ton and writes picture books. His first book, The Notebook Keeper, received a Pura Belpré honor, and he is also one of the authors of Text Structures from Picture Books.

Marie Cleary

Marie Cleary has taught in Title One Schools in MA, NH, WI, NE, Washington D.C. and TX. As a National Writing Project Teacher, she believes that all children and adults are writers with a story to tell! She is a perpetual learner with extensive knowledge and over 40 years of K-8 teaching experience. Marie has spoken at NCTE and various districts sharing special strategies and techniques. Her enthusiasm is contagious. In her spare time, Marie loves spending time with her three grandchildren, reading, collecting angel ornaments, and paper crafting.

Dottie Hall

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

Jayne Hover has over 30 years of experience as a teacher and administrator in all levels from elementary to high school. She loves helping kids develop confidence through writing and has been instrumental in improving scores dramatically 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 instruction. Jayne has co-authored Crunchtime: Lessons to Help Students Blow the Roof Off Writing, Text Structures from Nursery Rhymes, and Text Structures from Fables. Jayne enjoys spending time with her husband in their home in San Antonio.

Stacy Lewis

Stacy Lewis was born and raised in Graham, America, and loved to talk and attend social events which may or may not have led her to a career in education. She recently retired from Graham Junior High where she taught ELA for 25 years. She has one dog named Tillie, and she loves birds, often caring for injured or lost ones in her home. Stacy loves lifting weights, and she referees basketball in her spare time. She also enjoys fishing with her husband. People think she talks funny, and her colleagues appreciate her organizational skills and attention to detail; they lovingly refer to her as “Mr. Mayor.”

Jennifer Martin

Jennifer specializes in guiding readers to not only access rigorous texts, but to boost critical thinking skills. Her “Reading Lenses” methods have been helping teachers and students across Texas find deeper meaning and growth in their reading and writing abilities. Check out her website for workshop information and resources.

Honor Moorman

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

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

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.

Judi Reimer

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.

Tracye Thomas

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

Maureen Uclés has worked in education for 34 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, middle, and high 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 has authored a book for dual language titled ¡Ándale Ya! Let’s Go!. She has also authored a book designed for English Learners in grades 3-8 titled Let’s Go Now!, a Youtube channel where she posts educational videos, and a Google Site called The Elementary Digital Reading Project.

Laura Van Prooyen

Laura Van Prooyen’s collections of poetry are Frances of the Wider Field (Lily Poetry Review Books 2021), Our House Was on Fire, nominated by Philip Levine, awarded the McGovern Prize (Ashland Poetry Press 2015), and Inkblot and Altar (Pecan Grove Press 2006). She is also co-author, with Gretchen Bernabei, of Text Structures from Poetry—a book of writing lessons for grades 4-12 (Corwin Literacy 2020).

Laura has over 20 years experience teaching poetry and writing in a variety of academic settings including: Dominican University, Henry Ford Academy: The Alameda School for Art + Design, Chicago Public Schools, Del Valle High School, and University of Illinois at Chicago. She also facilitated therapeutic writing sessions for soldiers with PTSD in an Intensive Outpatient Program for three years at Brook Army Medical Center.