Kara Belden (@belden_rocks) is entering her 7th year of teaching English to freshmen at Dublin Coffman High School. She has always taught Honors English I and English I; this year, she is teaching English I inclusion all day long and is very excited to learn the best practices of co-teaching. She has a Masters degree in English Education (7-12) from The Ohio State University. She considers herself a work in progress and constantly seeks ways to better her teaching practices.
Kara recently rekindled her love of reading for pleasure and strives to instill this passion in each of her students. She takes pride in her ability to inspire her students to authentically enjoy reading and to naturally become better readers through this pastime. Due to Kara’s increased confidence in teaching reading, she loves to share these reading practices with fellow teachers, and also consequently, she wants to improve her skills in teaching writing. This is why she has taken on blogging. She believes that becoming a writer will help her to become a better teacher of writing just like being a reader has helped her to become a better teacher of reading.
You can keep up with what Kara is currently reading and view her book reviews here: Goodreads.com/karabelden
She is a wife and a mother to two daughters, Delaney and Denver. She enjoys trying vegetarian recipes and has recently fallen in love with hot yoga.
Lindsey Brauzer (@lbrauzdcs) is currently a middle school Cognitive Education (gifted) and 8th grade language arts teacher for Dublin City Schools. Before moving to the Columbus area three years ago for her husband’s job with the Columbus Crew professional soccer team, Lindsey taught high school English in Northern Virginia for twelve years. She also taught composition classes at Northern Virginia Community College for five years. While middle school is extremely different from high school and college, Lindsey is enjoying the switch to middle school and encourages everyone to try the change at some point in their career.
Lindsey earned a B.A. in English from High Point University in North Carolina and her M.A. in English from George Mason University in Virginia. When her son is a bit older, she hopes to pursue a doctorate in English or a degree in Library Science. Lindsey is a Teacher/Consultant for the National Writing Project, a member of the National Council of Teachers of English, and a member of the Nerdy Book Club. Lindsey is passionate about reflective practice and challenging her learners (and her colleagues!) to think deeply about their learning goals. She is obsessed with professional development and learning as much as possible to be a better teacher/facilitator for her learners.
When she’s not attending a professional development class or a Columbus Crew soccer game, Lindsey designs jewelry with KEEP Collective (a sister company to Stella & Dot jewelry), reads voraciously, binges Netflix with her husband, plays LEGO’s with her son, and dreams of one day living on the beach. She is also a rescue dog lover, and hopes to adopt a child one day.
Corinne Evans is currently a Middle School Principal in the Dublin City Schools. She has earned a Master’s Degree in Reading from Bowling Green State University and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Miami University. Corinne taught middle school and high school reading and science for 26 years, and she is an enthusiastic reader, writer, and leader. Corinne finds instructional leadership challenging and rewarding and is especially interested in supporting teachers as they reflect on their practice, individually and collaboratively.
In her spare time, Corinne enjoys traveling with her husband, visiting with her children and grandchildren, reading YA and adult fiction and nonfiction and exercising. She has recently taken up yoga and loves it. She finds that it is a great way to clear her mind AND burn a bunch of calories – which is extremely important since she is also a serious foodie!
Beth Honeycutt (@bhoneycutt96) is a middle school literacy coach in Dublin, Ohio. She has completed 25 years of teaching – always in middle school and always in language arts. She loves to read middle grade and young adult fiction, graphic novels, and novels in verse. Beth is working to become a more prolific writer. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Centre College and a Masters of Education from Bowling Green State University. Beth is committed to professional development, and she loves to talk and collaborate with colleagues. She believes that students and their needs are the driving force in the classroom and enjoys working with teenagers to become avid readers and confident writers.
When Beth is not at school or reading YA lit, she spends time with her husband and two daughters. She is venturing into new territory with a daughter, who is in her first year at Ohio University and is constantly challenging another daughter, who loves to read almost as much as Beth. Beth is a certified yoga teacher; she practices yoga or cycles multiple days every week.
Beth is a member of NCTE and the Nerdy Book Club.
Lori Marple (@lori_marple) is a K-12 curriculum coordinator in Dublin, Ohio currently working in math and related arts. Prior to starting in administration in 2017, Lori served as the high school math instructional coach for 2 years and taught 13 years of high school math in the classroom in Dublin. Lori’s passion lies in helping teachers and student feel excited and empowered by learning. She believes that math teachers, especially, have great opportunity to influence a child’s love of math and that we must seize this opportunity by connecting them with interesting problems, going slower and deeper in our thinking and making math visible to each learner. Lori believes that leadership is most impactful through an example of action and enthusiasm and that reflection is the cornerstone of an educator’s growth.
She graduated from Miami University in 2002 with undergraduate degrees in mathematics (BS) and secondary education (BS). She has a Master’s degree in math education from The Ohio State University and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Miami University.
Lori is a wife, a mother, an avid cook, a learner, and binge watcher of Netflix.
She is a member of NCTM.
Rachel Polacek (@rachelpolacek) is currently in her 6th year teaching 8th grade Language Arts in Dublin, Ohio. As a teacher, she loves trying out new instructional methods with reading and writing and seeing how her students respond. She aims to be a reflective teacher, which is one of the reasons why she loves blogging. In her classroom, there is a strong focus on workshop practice. She earned a B.A. in English as well as a Masters of Education (7-12 Integrated Language Arts) from The Ohio State University, so she is a Buckeye for life. In the future, she is interested in pursuing a degree in Library Science.
Rachel is a runner who loves her boxing bootcamp class, and in her free time she loves creating – knitting, sewing, or playing with lettering. She is also an avid reader (obviously) and enjoys being outside – hiking and traveling. She and her husband, Scott, love traveling to National Parks.
She is a member of NCTE, OCTELA, and has participated in Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life Story Challenge. She is also the Chair of the 2018 Dublin Literacy Conference. She loves professional development and always strives for reflective self-improvement.
Rita Shaffer (@ritamshaffer) is beginning her first year as a high school assistant principal. Before becoming an assistant principal, she was a literacy coach and taught 8th grade English language arts for 14 years. Empowering student voice in the classroom is a passion of Rita’s. She is very excited to work to empower students in her new leadership role.
Rita earned an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education with a K-12 Reading Endorsement from Ohio University and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Miami University. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Miami University where she is focusing on increasing her learning about instructional coaching in secondary classrooms. Rita is a member of NCTE, OCTELA, ASCD, ILA and the Nerdy Book Club.
Rita is a wife, mother, avid read (favorites are YA lit and recipes), and has developed a new love for yoga.
Thanks for taking interest in our blog! Melissa Voss is a 7th grade Language Arts teacher in Dublin, Ohio. She was born to a family of educators and even married one, so it is not a surprise that she has enjoyed 21 years in this career. It is truly a blessing when you love what you do.
She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary English Education from The University of Toledo and a Master’s degree in Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Development from Bowling Green State University. She began her career in the traditional setting. She taught middle school ELA in Anthony Wayne Local Schools and high school English in Springfield Local Schools. Then, an opportunity of a lifetime fell into her lap and she started writing curriculum and teaching middle school online for TRECA Digital Academy, an online school based in Marion, Ohio. After teaching online for 10 years, she moved into the administrative role of Senior Manager of Curriculum and Instruction. She enjoyed 15 years of cutting-edge experience and professional development. Online teaching and research ignited her passion for seeking the best blended model of instruction for a new generation of students. Thus, when her family relocated, she was thrilled to find the opportunity to return to her favorite place to be–the 7th grade traditional classroom.
Now, living with two “iGen” teenage daughters, she is seeing first-hand the impact classroom teachers have on young minds, and how critical it really is to understand the students we are shaping. She loves fusing together what she has learned online and off, and designing instructional strategies that visibly move my students forward.
Hi! My name is Jennifer Wolf, and I am honored to be a contributor to this blog!
I am currently in my 27th year of teaching! When I first started my career, I worked with children who are deaf and hard of hearing through two different county programs, serving grades 4-8. After seven years in this role, I accepted a job with Dublin City Schools, teaching reading in a middle school classroom. Since that time, I have taught and learned ELA and/or reading intervention with students in grades 6, 7, and 8 in Dublin. I have also had the opportunity to work with college-level students in composition and public speaking classes.
The processes through which we acquire language and learn to read have always fascinated me. In fact, this fascination is what initially sparked my interest in working with students who are deaf and hard of hearing. After graduating with a degree in English from the University of Notre Dame, I got my master’s degree in special education and my first teaching certificate at the Ohio State University. Once in the classroom, I realized that I had so much more to learn, so I continued my studies at OSU, culminating in a doctorate with a focus on students and their reading of history. As a means of continuing to learn, grow, and inform my practice as a teacher, I pursued and attained National Board Certification (2003) and later TESOL endorsement.
As a true believer in getting the right books into the hands of students, I read and listen to as much middle grade and young adult literature as I possibly can (plus I just really, really, REALLY love reading). I have served for several years on the planning committee for the annual Dublin Literacy Conference, and this year I had the privilege of chairing the conference. In addition, I remain committed to reflecting on and improving my practice by attending PD, collaborating with colleagues, and reading professional books. Over the past several summers, I have moderated (along with amazing Dublin teachers) a fun series of Twitter book chats based on various professional books. Follow me @jennifertwolf and search #dubMSela to check it out!
In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my husband, reading with our two children, and wrangling our 150-pound Rottweiler. I also like to play the drums, spend time outdoors, and avoid appearing in my daughter’s TikToks.
Emily Ziesenheim (@askmewhyiteach) believes in dark chocolate and dance parties. She believes that you should spend time outside everyday, despite, or because of, the weather. That expressing gratitude is life-giving and speaking your truth is life-saving. She believes that there is the perfect song for every occasion and that our society needs to speak more openly and honestly about mental illness. Emily believes in absolute love and the power of words.
Her career affords her opportunities to engage with all of the above on a daily basis. As a gifted intervention specialist (GIS), Emily works with 6th, 7th, and 8th grade cognitively gifted learners. As a certified ROX facilitator, she aims to empower 7th grade girls. Her role as a GIS allows her to support teachers as they navigate the terrain of high-ability and gifted learners.
Emily has taught for seven years; the last four with Dublin City Schools. Prior to moving to Columbus, Emily lived in Winston-Salem, NC where she chased the sun and began her journey as an educator teaching 8th grade language arts. After that, she spent two years at the University of Akron as a graduate assistant in the New Student Orientation department.
Bachelor’s in Middle Childhood Education from the University of Mount Union. Master’s in Higher Education Administration from the University of Akron. Emily has dreams of adding a Doctoral degree to this list! She loves all the usual things and Justin Timberlake.
Kristina Zakrzewski (@k_zakrzewski) has been teaching for 16 years as a language arts teacher. Currently, she is co-teaching AP American Studies, a course that combines both AP American History and honors English II into a humanities course for sophomores. While she loves the team teaching environment, she has also enjoyed teaching courses such as AP Literature and Composition, AP Language and Composition, Honors English II (10th), English I (9th), Creative Writing, and Etymology. These experiences have assisted in her own learning through the years.
Kristina graduated from The Ohio State University where she earned her Bachelor’s in English and her Master’s in English Education. Additionally, she holds a Master’s degree from Miami University in Educational Leadership.
When she isn’t teaching, she is busy rollerskating in the house, participating in karaoke in the basement, reading a number of books or jamming out to audio books as she walks down the hallway. She also likes lifting weights, spinning, boxing, and running (actually she really hates running, but she does it because she likes to run the Disney runs dressed in costume).
And lest she not forget, she has a wonderful family: two kiddos, a husband who plays drums in a band and is also an IT guy, two ornery little pups Max and Irma, and a leopard gecko named Nobody who comes with a story all of his own.