The WPWP enjoys a model of shared leadership with frequent contributions from many of its Fellows. Here are a few faces and the positions they currently hold.
WPWP Administrative Staff
Laura Roop, director of the Western Pennsylvania Writing Project and assistant professor at University of Pittsburgh School of Education, previously worked for fifteen years at the University of Michigan School of Education as director of outreach and as school-research relations coordinator. She directed National Writing Projects of Michigan, the state network of 10 NWP sites—each a university-school partnership, three times in separate stints, and directed the Oakland (MI) Writing Project for 18 years. She worked as an intermediate school district literacy consultant in both Oakland and Washtenaw counties, and served as dissemination coordinator and professional development facilitator for the Michigan English Language Arts Framework Project, a state standards effort, in the mid-90s. From 2009-2012 she followed a cohort of Ypsilanti students who had been assessed as being in the bottom quartile from ninth grade through college, designing summer programs and organizing trips and presentations, under the auspices of the Algebra Project, a national network founded by civil rights organizer and mathematician Bob Moses. With MDE consultant Steve Best and NBPTS-certified teacher and consultant Linda Denstaedt, she wrote Doing and Making Authentic Literacies, published by the National Council of Teachers of English in September 2014.
Cj Coleman, Co-Director Summer Institute for Teachers
Cj Coleman, a 2000 WPWP Fellow, has worked for the Pittsburgh Public Schools since 1990. She currently teaches 5th and 6th grade Creative Writing at the Pittsburgh Gifted Center, is a current member of Madwomen in the Attic, at Carlow University, and has co – directed the WPWP Summer Institute for Teachers since 2003. During the few free moments that fall in between, she writes.
Tameka Cage-Conley, Coordinator for Young Writers Institute, Grades 9-12
Tameka Cage Conley is a multi-genre literary artist living in Pittsburgh. Her first play, “Testimony,” was produced in May 2011 at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, where she was a Fellow in literary arts from 2010-2011. In 2011, she received the Advancing the Black Arts grant for two community-based theater projects with young African American men. This fall, she completed the Cave Canem Pittsburgh poetry workshop. Her second play, “I Said Good Night,” was part of the 2011 Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Black and White Festival. She is completing her first novel and works as a teaching artist and educator. She is a proud 2010 SIT Fellow of the Western Pennsylvania Writing Project.
Elisa Greb-Link is a 2008 Fellow of the Western Pennsylvania Writing Project. She has been teaching 8th grade English in the East Allegheny School District since 2006 and has been involved with several Young Writers Institutes since the summer of 2009 (and plans to keep going until forever). Elisa earned a B.A. in English Literature in 2005, a teaching certification in English 7-12 in 2006, and a M.Ed. in Secondary English Education in 2010—all of which were acquired through the University of Pittsburgh’s main campus, which partially explains her adoration of the Cathedral of Learning. She loves reading, writing, teaching, traveling, and spending time with her family.
Michelle King, Digital Inquiry Coordinator
Michelle King is a Learning Instigator and former fellow of the Writing Project. Hailing from University of Southern California, Michelle is currently teaching at the Environmental Charter School. Michelle has taught for 15 years, is a self-described dreamer and a life-long learner. Michelle’s mission is to be disruptive not for the sake of destruction, but in service to a greater good.
Sheila Carter-Jones is a 1988 Fellow of the WPWP. She taught Communications for the Pittsburgh Public Schools for thirty-five years and is a Nationally Board Certified Teacher. Sheila credits the WPWP for much of the success in her teaching and writing careers. She says, “Participating in professional development and personal writing opportunities offered by the WPWP has been instrumental in refining my teaching and writing practices. In this community of teachers as consultants and teachers as writers, I have found like minded people who believe in the power of writing to transform not just the teacher but the student as well.” Sheila now works as an educationl consultant and spends what extra time she has working on personal writing. In 2011 she won the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Book Award.
Karen Howard, Coordinator for Scholastic Writing Awards
Fitzhugh is currently a University of Pittsburgh undergraduate student working towards degrees in French, German, and Business, with plans to continue her studies on the graduate level, earning Masters and Doctorates in French and German. Fitzhugh is a Student Worker with the Western Pennsylvania Writing Project, serving as Archivist and Website Manager.