Meet Our Contributors

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Teachers

Meet Our Contributors

Beverly Anderson received a BA in Elementary Education and an MA in Teaching Theory and Practice from California State University, Fresno. She is retired after thirty-four years of teaching and is the President of the Western Neuropathy Association, which she co-founded in 1998. She enjoys helping people learn about neuropathy.

Catherine Arnault received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education in 1984 and her Master’s of Education in Curriculum Development and Instruction in 1991. She taught third and fourth grade in southeastern New Hampshire for twenty-six years before retiring to explore her interest in writing.

T.A. Barbella is a writer and artist living in San Jose, CA. Retired from thirty years in education, she currently provides independent instruction and consultation services to families of special needs students. She holds both bachelor and master’s degrees, is an avid reader and animal lover, and enjoys all creative endeavors.

Rosanna Micelotta Battigelli has received four Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association Best Practice Awards for her unique strategies in early literacy, promoting positive pupil interactions and self-esteem, and helping pupils who grieve. Her novel La Brigantessa will be published by Inanna Publications in 2018.

Jessica Marie Baumgartner’s motto is “Adventure first, then write!” She has authored the Embracing Entropy series, and My Family Is Different. Her stories and articles have been featured in Outposts of Beyond, Circle Magazine, and many more. She’s a member of Missouri Writers’ Guild and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Pamela Berardino has “found her place in the world” as a Library Media Specialist in a K–2 school in Connecticut. Whether teaching in the classroom or the library, she has always shared her passions for flying, music, sailing, technology, and writing with her students. She lives with her husband and two spoiled cats.

Sandy Kelly Bexon is a communications specialist in Alberta, Canada, where she has enjoyed a successful career as a reporter and nonfiction writer for over twenty years. She enjoys fiction — both to read and to write — and is currently working on her second novel. Learn more at

Jessica Blake received her Bachelor of the Arts in education from Metropolitan State University of Denver. She currently teaches fifth grade in Denver, CO. In her free time, she enjoys baking, cooking, writing, and creating. In the future, she would like to get into education policy as well as write novels.

Laura Boldin-Fournier is a retired teacher who lives in Florida. She is a previous contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. She is the author of Orangutan’s Night Before Christmas, a humorous children’s book. She is also the winner of a short story contest sponsored by

Jackie Boor began her freelance writing career in 1968. She went on to raise three children and build a distinguished career as a large group facilitator, mediator, civic engagement specialist, speaker and award-winning author. Besides gardening and golf, Jackie enjoys educational adventures with colleagues and family.

Helen Boulos received her Master’s in Education at the University of Virginia in 2000. She currently lives with her husband, three children, two dogs, and four cats in Wilmington, DE. She has been featured at BlogHer and Scary Mommy. She likes to think she sees the humor in a life well lived.

Patricia Boyer is a retired teacher who has written articles for children’s magazines. She volunteers with her husband and therapy dog, visiting hospitals and reading with children. Patricia enjoys traveling, reading, and plans to continue writing motivational stories about children and her dog’s experiences.

Affectionately know as “Jim Carrey with a Ph.D.,” Dr. Danny Brassell is a best-selling author of fifteen books, including The Reading Makeover, based on his popular TEDx talk. He is a highly sought-after speaker and consultant on leadership development, reading, motivation, and communication skills. Learn more at

John P. Buentello is the author of books, essays, fiction, nonfiction, poetry and articles. He is the co-author of the novel Reproduction Rights and the anthologies Binary Tales and The Night Rose of the Mountain. He is completing a mystery novel and a collection of short stories. E-mail him at [email protected].

Dr. Sandy Cameli, EdD, has worked with middle level learners and educators for nearly thirty years. Currently she serves as an Education Specialist for the Hawaii Department of Education supporting teacher leaders statewide. Writing stories about her teaching and learning experiences makes her heart smile.

Linda Carol Cobb taught English electives at the same high school in Virginia Beach, VA for thirty-seven years. She sponsored an award-winning newspaper and forensic team. Unwilling to retire, she teaches seminars, copyedits and coaches public speaking. She writes true stories about her Tennessee family and personal experiences.

Ginny Huff Conahan taught for fourteen years in Los Angeles Unified Schools and sixteen years in Fort Collins, CO for kindergarten through college-level students. She has a doctorate in Education from USC. Now retired and a grandma, Ginny loves crafts and volunteering. E-mail her at [email protected].

Harriet Cooper writes essays, humor, creative nonfiction and health articles for newspapers, newsletters, anthologies and magazines. She’s a frequent contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. She writes about family, relationships, health, food, cats, writing and daily life. E-mail her at [email protected].

Katie Coppens lives in Maine with her husband and two children. She is a middle school English and science teacher. She has published two books: Creative Writing in Science: Activities that Inspire and Geology Is a Piece of Cake. Learn more at

Tracy Crump enjoys storytelling and has published numerous stories in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. She encourages others through her Write Life Workshops and webinars, speaks at conferences, and edits a popular writers’ newsletter, “The Write Life.” But her most important job is Grandma. Visit her at

Brie Dalliant has since overcome her depression. She wishes for everyone out there to know that one life can change the world. One life can make a difference, and you are one life. Though she hopes to pursue a medical career when she is older, she plans on writing as a side job or hobby.

Lola Di Giulio De Maci is an essayist and children’s author. Her stories appear in numerous Chicken Soup for the Soul books, the Los Angeles Times, Reminisce and Sasee magazines. Lola is a retired teacher with a Master of Arts in education and English. She writes overlooking the San Bernardino Mountains.

Stephanie Delorme taught fourth grade before deciding to stay home with her two miracle daughters, Evelyn and Abigail. She shares their stories on her blog In 2016, she opened an Etsy shop, Mommy’s Heart Prints, where she strives to bless others through her artwork and writing.

J. Duval is a fourth year teacher who loves reading, writing, art, music, and mathematics. She loves working with young people and inspiring them to make a difference.

Deborah Elaine received her Bachelor of Arts from Ball State University in 2010. She enjoys traveling, writing, and spending time with her many nieces and nephews.

Marie Ellen is a very proud single mother of three talented children; her love for her children will often show in her passion for writing and poetry. She is a traveler and loves to explore new places and meet new people. Marie Ellen loves animals, reading, music, dancing and being close to the ocean.

Jerome Elmore received his bachelor’s degree in Special Education and Masters of English and American Literature from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He is married to his wife Karen. Jerome enjoys trout fishing, traveling and gardening. He retired in 2015.

Tanya Estes has both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from The University of Texas. She spent many years in education, mostly as a librarian. She now writes full-time while raising her son with her loving husband in Georgetown, TX.

Sara Etgen-Baker’s teaching experience at Fabens High School provided her with both her greatest teaching challenges and her greatest rewards. Her story is a recap of her initial experience and her desperate desire to connect with and teach the students whose eagerness to learn captured her heart.

Melissa Face lives in Virginia with her husband and two children. She teaches English 11 and 12 at the Appomattox Regional Governor’s School for the arts and technology. Melissa enjoys traveling, reading, and writing nonfiction when she is not busy grading student work. E-mail her at [email protected].

Margaret Flaherty won the Teacher of the Year Award her first year of teaching high school English. Her essay “The Power of Character in the Classroom” is available on and she is currently working on a memoir about surviving the first year of teaching.

George M. Flynn is a husband, father of three, freelance writer and a retired English teacher. He is also an avid gardener and the author of Twilight Journey and Other Stories, a collection of heartwarming short stories. The book is available by contacting him at [email protected].

Lynne Daroff Foosaner is a political activist, freelance writer, painter and grandmother… not necessarily in that order. Read her blog at

Daisy Franco is a writer, performer, and former teacher. She has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Dreams and Premonitions, among other publications. Daisy holds a BA degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago and an MA degree from DePaul University. She is working on several writing projects.

Stephanie Gates is an educator by day, and writer by night. When she’s not teaching or writing, she enjoys spending time with people she loves, dining out, traveling, dancing and anything else that nurtures her spirit.

Patricia Gordon taught general music in elementary classrooms, and now teaches music education courses at Grand Valley State University. She and her husband live in West Michigan near their five children, nine grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. She writes romantic fiction under the name Patricia Kiyono.

Yvonne Evie Green taught Outdoor Environmental Ed. grades 1–12 in USD 501 Public Schools, Topeka, KS for twenty-four years, and first grade for thirteen. She also taught adult and children’s zoology at the Topeka Zoo and has led a writing group since 2001. She enjoys her three children and four grandchildren. She’s a true nature lover!

Lonnie D. Groendes is a U.S. Army veteran with a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing for the Media from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He is the author of two “cozy mystery” novels: The Blue Ridge Murders and Deadly Reading, and the inspirational book Enchanted Summer for all ages.

Bradley Hall was a substitute teacher in Jacksonville, FL for ten years. While he is no longer in the classroom, he still finds time to teach wayward students.

A native of Oklahoma, Elizabeth Ann Harsany has been teaching English for almost nine years. She has taught in public, private, and charter schools. She currently lives in Michigan with her loving and supportive husband, Joshua; their son, Zachary; and their dog, Logan. Her story is dedicated to the staff and students of Peterson-Warren Academy.

Miriam Hill is a frequent contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and has been published in Writer’s Digest, The Christian Science Monitor, Grit, St. Petersburg Times, The Sacramento Bee, and Poynter online. Miriam’s submission received Honorable Mention for Inspirational Writing in a Writer’s Digest Writing Competition.

Jennie Ivey lives and writes in Tennessee. She is the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, including stories in dozens of Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Learn more at

Mary Pat Johns is a Bible teacher at Faith Family Church in Victoria, TX. This is her second story published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. She writes devotionals, short stories, and is currently at work on her first book-length novel. Learn more at or e-mail her at [email protected].

Cindy Jolley is a former teacher who loves not only teaching, but also learning from her students and others around her. Inspired by her experiences in the classroom, Cindy is now following her heart to write and illustrate stories for children. She lives in Grapevine, TX.

Megan Pincus Kajitani is a writer, editor and educator. She’s written for publications such as The Chronicle of Higher Education and Mothering magazine, and books such as Mama, PhD. She’s edited books including The New York Times bestseller The Daring Book for Girls, and she has taught in various classrooms from kindergarten to adult ed.

Jeaninne Escallier Kato has several teaching credentials and a master’s degree. She taught for thirty-six years in the California public school system and is author of the children’s book Manuel’s Murals. Jeaninne continues to write for online journals. She lives with her husband and three furry children in Northern California.

Wendy Keppley, a Florida native, counseled troubled teens and taught college courses for high school honor students. She enjoys family, playing with her grandsons, and living in the woods near Tampa, FL. Wendy also loves writing, kayaking, reading, yoga, exploring waterfalls, and oneirology. E-mail her at [email protected].

Catherine Kopp received her BS from Framingham State and her Master of Education from Lesley University. She has been teaching elementary school since 1973. She currently teaches fourth grade in Denver, CO, where she lives with her husband, Jim. During her free time, she enjoys reading, yoga, and gardening.

Jeanne Kraus is a retired elementary teacher with thirty-eight years of experience. She is a public speaker and author of children’s books. Her three children’s books deal with issues related to ADD in children. Currently, Jeanne is a private tutor and volunteer in a local elementary school.

Tom Krause, an Inspirational Educational Speaker, speaks to educational audiences nationwide. Tom has been published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series more than twenty times. Learn more at coachkrause. com or e-mail him at [email protected].

Sandra J. Lansing received a Master of Arts in English Composition from California State University, San Bernardino in 1997. She has worked as a freelance and staff writer and is the author of three published books. Recently she completed a book of encouraging poetry. Sandra is a guest teacher with two daughters.

Carolyn Lee received a BS in Middle Grades Education from Mercer University and her MEd in TESOL from Grand Canyon University. She lives in Georgia with her husband, Gary. They have five adult children and nine grandchildren. Carolyn enjoys writing, traveling, researching her family tree, and doing faith-based ministry.

Genein Letford received her Bachelor of Arts from UCLA and a Master of Education from Cal State University. She has been awarded numerous teaching awards and is a sought-after speaker focusing on creative and financial literacy. She is working on her first book on these important topics.

Kristie Betts Letter has won several teaching awards in Colorado for forcing Hamlet on high school seniors, and loves playing pub trivia with her husband. Editorial L’Aleph publishes her poetry book Under-Worldly, available on Amazon. Learn more at

Nancy Lewis is a retired public school educator who now works part-time as a pet sitter. In addition to writing, she enjoys playing bridge, visiting family, singing in the church choir, and coordinating a volunteer storytelling group. Nancy has one daughter, six grandchildren and a cat named Fred.

Barbara LoMonaco has worked for Chicken Soup for the Soul as an editor since 1998. She has co-authored two Chicken Soup for the Soul book titles and has had stories published in numerous other titles. Barbara is a graduate of the University of Southern California and has a teaching credential.

Ilana Long is a writer, actress, stand-up comic, English teacher and mom of teen twins. She is the author of Ziggy’s Big Idea, published by Kar-Ben Publishing in 2014 and is seeking representation for her surreal, comic novel about teaching, titled How I Married a Gelatinous Sea Blob: A Plagiarized Love Story.

Katherine Mabb’s hero is her daughter who is an artist, designer, and home renovation consultant/builder. Although retired, Katherine enjoys teaching at a public school, as well as facilitating a literacy course at her area library. She has a special place in her heart for all of her nieces and nephews.

Bridget Magee is a writer, poet, speaker, teacher, and mom — not always in that order. When not writing, Bridget can be found reading. She lives in Tucson, AZ with her husband, two daughters, and crazy dog, Smidgey.

Carrie Malinowski was a first grade teacher and reading tutor for many years. She now enjoys working with anxiety sufferers in the mental health field. Carrie is the author of Tattletale: A Teacher’s Memoir, Hand-Me-Down Bear, and is a previous contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

Mike McCrobie taught high school English for thirty-three years in Oswego, NY. He’s now a contributing columnist for The Palladium-Times. His self-published memoir, Our Oswego, is available at amazon. com. He’s proud to follow the lead of his daughter Sarah, who has had several stories published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

Vickie McEntire writes about things that are important to her: literacy, community and family. She has been published in Telling Stories, a Calhoun Area Writers anthology, local magazines, and on her blog at Her first children’s book, Baby Birds, inspired by her children and grandson, is available on Amazon.

Jessica McIntosh-Brockinton received several degrees from the University of Central Arkansas and is a Schedler Honors College and Sigma Sigma Sigma alumna. Recently married, she loves biking, kayaking, and traveling with her husband, Gary. Currently, she works for the Arkansas Department of Education.

Caroline S. McKinney recently retired from the School of Education at the University of Colorado where she was an adjunct, teaching graduate courses in children’s literature, reading and writing for over twenty-five years. During many of those years she was a literacy teacher and staff developer for Boulder Valley Schools.

Melissa Monteith holds a BA from Warner University and a M.Ed. from Antioch University. She has a passion for inspiring others to find the silver lining in each day. She is a teacher, writer, and motivational speaker. She resides in Pennsylvania with her beautiful daughter who has autism. E-mail her [email protected].

Linda Morel publishes personal essays and is a food columnist at the Jewish Exponent. She teaches writing through Teachers & Writers Collaborative. Linda is writing a family memoir. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and enjoys cooking and baking with her granddaughters. E-mail her at [email protected].

Marya Morin is a freelance writer. Her stories have appeared in publications such as Woman’s World and Hallmark. Marya also penned a weekly humorous column for an online newsletter, and writes custom poetry on request. She lives in the country with her husband. E-mail her at [email protected].

Nicole L.V. Mullis is the author of the novel A Teacher Named Faith. Her work has appeared in newspapers, magazines and anthologies, including the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Her plays have been produced in New York, California and Michigan. She lives in Michigan with her husband and children.

Katie O’Connell writes from the heart. A former teacher and mother of two, she is passionate about living an authentic and meaningful life. Her writing has been featured in Reader’s Digest, Sasee, Patheos, and several Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Follow her work at blog.

Amellia Pinson has been teaching middle and high school students for the past ten years. She has learned that one word in her English classroom can be just as powerful to her students as one note in the band room was to her. She still plays her flute in church each week, and Mr. Curtis will always be her favorite teacher.

Wendy Poole is now a retired Early Childhood Educator. She worked in both staff and management positions within the ECE field as well as teaching part-time at a community college. Wendy also wrote/piloted a literacy program for preschoolers and also wrote/piloted a parenting information program for newcomers to Canada.

Jill Printzenhoff teaches high school science in the southern tier of New York, and counts it a privilege to work with teens. When she’s not in the classroom, she spends as much time as possible on family adventures, biking rail trails, kayaking local waterways, fishing, and writing nonfiction and inspirational stories.

Laura Raicu was born in Bucharest, Romania and currently resides in Illinois where she teaches high school English. She has a Master of Arts in Teaching from National Louis University and a BA from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She has been writing and telling stories since she was a child.

Cory Rasmussen teaches tenth grade world literature in Huntington Beach, CA and is an MFA student at Chapman University. He is an advisor for ASB, KIWIN’S, and Runes Literary Magazine. There’s no other career he’d rather be in, and he feels grateful to be involved with such a great school.

Michele L. Rausch is an educator and coach in St. Louis, MO. She wears many hats in her life and believes in the power of a good hug. “In my twenties, I spent most of my time trying to make people love me. In my thirties, I learned to love myself. Now, in my forties, I’m sharing that love with the rest of the world.”

This is Mary Ellen Redmond’s twenty-third year teaching English to students in the Dennis-Yarmouth School District on Cape Cod, MA. The Ocean Effect, her second chapbook, was published in 2011, but the publication she is most proud of is the poem tattooed on her son’s rib cage.

Virginia Reeder lives in East Texas and is a retired teacher. She spent fifteen years as a cross-country truck driver, among the many occupations she considers “life experiences” prior to becoming a teacher. Since retiring, she has joined a local artist consortium, taking art and writing lessons while enjoying many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Sharika Reeves was born in the city of Pahokee, FL where she and her siblings were raised by their grandmother. She’s the youngest of five and works as an administrative assistant. Sharika enjoys traveling, journaling, writing poetry, and spending time with her family. Her goal is to become a children’s book author.

Martin Reisert, a California State Teacher of the Year, teaches sixth grade at Oak Valley Middle School in the Poway Unified School District. He has traveled to nearly sixty countries, and together he and his wife Heidi have two boys. He has a tennis academy. Learn more at

Julie Rine holds degrees from Ohio State University and Marygrove College. She has one daughter and teaches high school English in northeastern Ohio. She enjoys yoga, writing, reading, and geocaching. She is a frequent blogger for the Ohio Education Association’s blog, Voices of Change.

Ellen Rosenberg is a retired teacher who now spends her time riding horses, caring for wildlife, and writing.

Darlis Sailors graduated from Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, CA with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She was a California certified classroom teacher for several years before opening a private music studio in her home. Now in Arizona, she enjoys local walkabouts, photography, reading, and writing for children and adults.

JC Santos teaches humanities to adolescents by day; by night, he writes, reads and revises what he hopes will be a published novel. He loves playing basketball — as long as his joints cooperate — and a good fish fry. Despite aspiring to author novels, he’ll always be a teacher. E-mail him at [email protected].

Anne Cavanaugh Sawan lives with her husband, five children, two dogs, three cats, chickens and assorted fish in the suburbs of Boston, MA. She has written for Scary Mommy, BLUNTMoms, Adoptive Families, MeeGenius, Brain, Child, and recently published her first picture book, What Can Your Grandma Do?

As a retired educator, Gwyn Schneck celebrates the diversity of our world. She currently writes, speaks, and loves to bring life lessons and humor to any audience. Learn more at

Eloise Elaine Ernst Schneider is an artist, author, and teacher. After many years in the classroom, Eloise now spends most of her time creating in her art studio. Her paintings can be found at fineartamerica. com/profiles/eloise-elaine-schneider.html?tab=artwork.

Jackie Sinclair graduated with a BA in Elementary Education from Spring Arbor College. She and her husband, Gary, have two grown children and six grandsons. Together they enjoy hiking, traveling, reading and exploring new places. Jackie is especially thankful for Gary’s help in writing her story.

E.M. Slone is a dedicated wife, mother, educator, artist, writer and cancer survivor. She has completed a dual BA in Art Studio and Art Education at the University of Kentucky and an MA in School Counseling. She enjoys all things creative and finds solace in nature, books, and yoga.

Ariela Solomon is a social work student at Salem State University. She currently interns at an elementary school and finds it extremely rewarding. Ariela enjoys traveling, playing music, being outdoors, writing, yoga and spending time with friends and family. E-mail her at [email protected].

Mara Somerset is a product manager in the automotive industry. She has two daughters, two stepchildren and four lively grandchildren. When she isn’t running, crafting, reading or traveling with her husband, she loves to write inspirational short stories.

Naomi Townsend is a teacher, new mother, and writer based in Portland, OR. She is currently working on her first children’s book.

Award-winning author Susan Traugh’s stories have appeared in several Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Her YA novel, The Edge of Brilliance, about the heroism of a teen with bipolar is on her website at Susan lives with her family in the San Diego area where she reads, writes, and walks in the California sunshine.

Jude Walsh writes memoir, essays, and fiction. A teacher for thirty-three years, she focused on literacy, children with learning disorders, language development and, with a group of visionary teachers, founded a school. Her writing is published in literary magazines and anthologies, including The Magic of Memoir (She Writes Press, 2016).

Dorann Weber is a freelance photographer and newfound writer living in the Pinelands of southern New Jersey. Her photos have been featured in ads through Getty Images, and on several Hallmark cards. Her love for Chicken Soup for the Soul books inspired her to write. Dorann likes hiking with her family and exploring new towns.

Kate Wells received her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from The University of Texas at Austin. She is an English teacher at Charter University Prep in California. She volunteers at the local animal shelter and is a volunteer violinist at the American River College in Sacramento.

After eleven years of teaching, Patricia Wood is now a stay-at-home mom to her two toddler girls. Happily married and pursuing her dream of being a writer, her daughters and educational experiences inspire her writing.

Dallas Woodburn is a writer, editor, teacher and literacy advocate living in the San Francisco Bay Area. To date, she has been a proud contributor to more than two dozen titles in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. She regularly blogs about simple, joyful, healthy living at

Jenine Zimmers is the author of the novel Fatty as well as several cookbooks and children’s books. She is also a graphic designer and former reporter, whose work has appeared in The Washington Times, New York Post and Daily Racing Form. Jenine is a graduate of Mary Washington College and lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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