We’re pleased to introduce you to our bloggers. You can read short bios at the bottoms of their posts, but here’s a bit more information about each of them. If you or someone you know is a teacher and would like to blog for Lolly’s Classroom, you can find submission guidelines on our Employment page.
Jada Bradley (jadabradley.com) is a writer and editor who enjoys telling stories in formal and informal ways. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post and The Prince George’s County Gazette. She also teaches ESL to adults and has earned a Masters in Spanish Translation. Jada is a great supporter of creative expression in the various forms it takes. She blogs about books at booksploitation.com. Her middle grade novel Paper Routes are for Boys is available through Smashwords (where you can download it to a Kindle), Barnes and Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.
Briana Chan is an elementary school teacher in California. She received her B.A. in English Language Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Spurred by an interest in bilingual education, Briana attended the Harvard Graduate School of Education with a focus in Language and Literacy. With experience in AmeriCorps, private and public schools, literacy and writing curriculum development, and summer camps for gifted children, Briana recently moved home to the Los Angeles area where she continues her work as a teacher and tutor. With a passion for literacy and writing, Briana continues to devour children’s books and YA novels, and loves to hear a student inquire, “Can you recommend a book for me?”
Christina Dobbs is a clinical assistant professor of English education at Boston University, where she loves working with aspiring secondary teachers. She is a former high school teacher, literacy coach and reading specialist, whose research interests include academic language development, the argumentative writing of students, and writing instruction. She has served as an adjunct instructor at Lesley University, Simmons College, Hunter College, and Salem State University and as a consultant for several local schools and districts. She is a part of the group AdLit PD and Consulting, a group that works with schools to provide context-driven approaches to teacher training. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Texas A&M University and her doctorate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is co-editor of Humanizing Education: Critical Alternatives to Reform. Christina is a proud native Texan, YA book lover, amateur cook, and shoe collector.
Whitney Gruenloh is a first grade lead teacher at KIPP Believe Primary, a charter school in New Orleans, Louisiana. As a Teach for America Corps Member, Whitney began her journey into teaching in 2008. After teaching in both rural and urban Louisiana, she left in 2012 to pursue a Master’s degree in Language and Literacy studies from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Upon completion of her M.Ed. in 2013, Whitney returned to the classroom to apply the literary theories she studied in graduate school. She is particularly interested in the acquisition of language and literacy in early childhood settings, specifically those located in lower-income environments and special education settings.
Danielle Hayden is a French, English, and Algebra teacher living in Seattle, WA. A very early reader — and a bibliophile from a young age — Danielle has always loved the written word and is eager to blog about books for young people. Born and raised in Detroit, Danielle earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan where she studied Philosophy and English Language & Literature. Following graduation, Danielle spent a few years tutoring and teaching before returning to school to earn an M.Ed. in Language and Literacy from Harvard Graduate School of Education. In addition to being a bibliophile, Danielle is also a linguaphile who possesses a voracious appetite for learning languages, dissecting and comparing languages, and studying the relationship between language and identity. She speaks French, Italian, and Spanish and dabbles in other foreign tongues as well. One of her major goals is to become a hyperpolyglot. She recently married and has two adorable cats, Quinn and Felix.
Nicole Hewes is a first year teacher at a small school in rural Maine. She graduated from Colby College in 2012, where she became something of a Seussologist by completing a yearlong project on the impacts of Dr. Seuss’s rhymes on reading comprehension. After graduation, she completed an M.Ed in language and literacy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is always on the lookout for quality children’s literature that relates to social justice issues or that fits neatly into her thematic units. She and her second grade students, named the Curious Questioners, especially enjoy reading realistic fiction and historical nonfiction. You can read more about her general experiences in the classroom by visiting http://cultivatingquestioners.com/.
Lola Irele began her education career as a program administrator, working in an adult literacy nonprofit, higher education, and more recently early childhood education for international development. Over the years, she has taught K-6th grade students and is passionate about teaching comprehension strategies that make high quality texts accessible to students. Lola’s professional training is in curriculum development and literacy instruction. She is a graduate of Swarthmore College and earned her Master’s degree in Language and Literacy from Harvard Graduate School of Education. Lola currently teaches first grade as an apprentice teacher at Shady Hill School in Cambridge, MA.
As a child, Junia Kim moved often and found much comfort and friendship in books. In high school, she discovered that physical friends were just as good as her fictional friends Ramona Quimby, Anne Shirley, Edmund Pevensie, and Hagrid. Junia attended college at UC Berkeley, where she earned a degree in Comparative Literature. Upon graduating, Junia taught in Taipei for one year, worked with high school students in East Palo Alto, CA, and finally studied adolescent literacy and educational innovation at Harvard Graduate School of Education. She now teaches middle school in Oakland, CA, where she focuses on reading and vocabulary across content areas as a means of access. She believes that the right book can move any unmotivated and underestimated student. In her free time, she loves to read, serve in her church community, and make spur-of-the-moment decisions. One day she hopes to write an allegorical adventure novel and/or a dystopian series about an urban charter school system conspiracy. Stay tuned!
Teddy Kokoros has worked for more than ten years as a Pre-K teacher at the non-profit Transportation Children’s Center in Boston, MA. He also works as an adjunct instructor in the Early Childhood Education departments at Fisher College and Bay State College. He attained his Master’s in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education with a concentration in Language and Literacy. He has a Bachelor’s degree from UMass Boston in Sociology and an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Bay State College. You most likely will find him biking along the Charles River or watching the Red Sox. His favorite authors are Jon Klassen, Mo Willems, and Dr. Seuss and most children’s books that have subversive qualities to them.
Joanna Lieberman is a district literacy coach in the Cambridge Public Schools in Cambridge, MA. She also works as a literacy consultant. Joanna has taught elementary, middle, and high school in Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. She is co-author of a book chapter entitled “Reading Specialists and Literacy Coaches in Secondary Schools” and just recently co-wrote “Multiple Texts in Practice: Fostering Accessibility, Engagement and Comprehension.” Joanna’s professional interests include adolescent literature, literacy coaching, workshop pedagogy, and children’s/young adult literature of all kinds. She holds a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In her spare time, Joanna enjoys reading, spending time with friends, and traveling with her family. She is grateful to have book-adoring young nephews and a niece to justify her bookstore browsing habit. She is also grateful for her two early adolescent sons who still accept her book suggestions every now and then.
Armida Lizarraga worked as an elementary teacher in international schools in Spain, Brazil, and Peru. She has also taught in the U.S. public school system in Boulder, CO and Charlotte, NC. She worked for 5 years as a Research Associate and Project Manager for the Language Minority and Literacy Diversity Research Group at Harvard University where she obtained an Ed.M. in 2008 in Language and Literacy and International Education Policy. She has worked on a qualitative analysis for a randomized evaluation for Innovations for Poverty Action Lab to evaluate a Math and a Science curriculum implemented in rural and urban elementary classrooms in Peru. She also worked for RTI/USAID Nicaragua designing a literacy module and training the national technical team for teachers (K-3rd grade) as part of a public private partnership initiative. Currently, she is the lead researcher for the Proyecto 3 Regiones in Peru, which seeks to understand teachers’ literacy practices and knowledge in K-3 classrooms. She lives in Lima, Peru.
Elizabeth Maine graduated from the University of Washington with a psychology degree in 2007 and received an Ed.M in language & literacy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2012. She has previously taught elementary, middle, and high school English and special education in Florida, Massachusetts, and Washington State. Elizabeth is currently a K-6 language and literacy interventionist and coach in the Highline Public Schools just south of Seattle, WA. Her favorite authors are Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume, and she loves introducing her students to their books. After seven years away, Elizabeth is thrilled to be back in Seattle cheering on her beloved Seahawks and Mariners in person!
Randy Ribay was born in the Philippines and grew up in Michigan and Colorado. He teaches high school English at an all-boys charter school in Philadelphia where he also coaches the wrestling team. He is a regular reviewer for The Horn Book Guide, and he holds a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Colorado and an Ed.M. in Language & Literacy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He lives in Camden, NJ with his brilliant wife and their dog Loki. In his spare time, he plays video games, writes strange stories, and is trying to learn the cello.
Lolly Robinson is the designer and production manager at The Horn Book, Inc., and teaches children’s literature at Harvard Graduate School of Education. In addition to administrating this blog, she also writes for Calling Caldecott, the Horn Book’s mock Caldecott Medal blog. She has worked as a preschool teacher, curated exhibitions at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, and served on the Caldecott and Boston Globe-Horn Book Award committees. As a member of the Beatrix Potter Society, she occasionally presents papers on Potter’s American connections. Lolly has degrees in studio art (BA, Kenyon College) and children’s literature (MA, Simmons College).
Jessica Scott, Ed.M., Ed.D. candidate at Harvard Graduate School of Education, is an applied instructor in Deaf Education at the University of Tulsa where she teaches about language and literacy development of children who are deaf and hard of hearing. She was previously a high school teacher of deaf and hard of hearing students, and later a reading specialist with this same population. Her current work lies in the areas of literacy development and language acquisition among deaf and hard of hearing students, especially the role that American Sign Language plays in literacy development and achievement. When she is not doing that, she loves reading young adult literature, especially but not exclusively fiction.
Carli Spina is a librarian and is currently in the master’s degree program in technology, innovation, and education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She frequently writes on young adult literature, children’s literature, and technology, and has been published in a variety of library science publications. She also serves on the advisory board for and regularly contributes to The Hub, the adolescent literature blog of the Young Adult Library Services Association. She can be found on Twitter at @CarliSpina.