Amber Beattie teaches writing to students in grades 5-8 at Rockford Middle School—Center for Environmental Studies. She is passionate about student engagement and has made a fool of herself on more than one occasion, all in the name of learning. Her goal is to create a happy place for her students to foster high-level authorship in all its forms.

Lisa M. Dembouski is an Assistant Professor of Education at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, MN where she instructs an array of courses for the myriad preparation experiences they offer their teacher candidates. Prior to that, she taught K-12 SpEd in the Upper Midwest school district she and Kari write about. Prior to that, she enjoyed a variety of excellent career opportunities including Wilderness Survival Counselor, Peace Corps Volunteer, and Day Treatment Mental Health Worker. Ask her what she’s reading or where to find great Thai food and she’ll enjoy the conversation a good long while:

Chris Drew is an Assistant Professor of English at Indiana State University, where he supervises the English Teaching program and teaches literature, creative writing, grammar, and teaching methods courses. He previously taught English at Heritage Hills Middle School in Lincoln City, Indiana, and English and theatre arts at Mater Dei High School in Evansville, Indiana. His writing has appeared in various publications, including English Leadership QuarterlyThe Journal of Creative Writing Studies,Wisconsin English JournalQuarterly West, and Bellevue Literary Review. He is also an editor ofDispatches from the Classroom: Graduate Students on Creative Writing Pedagogy (Bloomsbury). Chris can be reached at

Kari Eloranta graduated from the University of Minnesota with her M.Ed. in 2013. After her first year of teaching, she thought she never wanted to teach again. She quickly realized alternative education was where her true passion was, and has been at the Mounds View ALC teaching Language Arts for the past five years. Writing has helped her process her experiences in the classroom, and she hopes sharing her stories can help future teachers as well! She can be contacted at if you’d like to reach out to hear more stories or share your own.

Catherine Fox is a professor in the Rhetoric and Writing program at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, MN. Her research and teaching interests include embodied learning and writing, critical race studies, feminist and queer studies, and rhetorical theory. She is most interested in examining questions of power, language, and agency as they play out in our daily lives.

Sheryl Lain taught at least a thousand kids in English classes. She honored them by writing A Poem for Every Student, a book about humanizing the secondary classroom through writing. She has published hundreds of articles and poems in various venues.

Shaina Lane is an English teacher in the alternative program titled “A” School at Armstrong High School in Plymouth. She has her B.A.A. in Teaching Communication Arts and Literature with an English minor from the University of Minnesota Duluth, and she has been teaching for five years. Beginning her college career as a mechanical engineering major, she shifted after a year to teaching English because she realized that was where her passion and skills reside. Her major interests, besides teaching, are psychology, art, and music.

Tanya Stafsholt Miller has an MFA in memoir and poetry from Minnesota State University, Moorhead and an MA in English from Bemidji State University. She co-hosts the North Beach Writers’ Retreat, teaches writing classes, and adjuncts at the University of Minnesota Crookston. She has taught high school English for 26 years at Park Rapids Area High School. Her work has appeared in the The Criterion, Red Weather Literary Journal, Dust and Fire Literary Journal, Bombshells, The Talking Stick, and The Star/ Tribune, among other places. She has been an invited fellow to the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing, The Pelee Island Writing Retreat (with Margaret Atwood and Wayne Brady), and the Minnesota Northwoods Writers’ Conference.

Hayley Vetsch is currently in her fourth year of teaching English and Theater at Watershed High School, where she thrives in the chaos of being the sole English teacher. Her passion is getting students to enjoy reading, and she is particularly fond of spirited student-led discussion. Her pedagogical interests include writing curriculum, inclusivity, and closing the achievement gap.

Amy Vizenor is a former English teacher at a middle school and an alternative high school who currently works as a teacher educator at Gustavus Adolphus College. In addition to teaching, Amy has also served as a district curriculum specialist and a co-teaching consultant. She may be contacted at

Kay J. Walter is a Professor of English at University of Arkansas at Monticello, where she serves as the British literature specialist. She is a Companion of the Guild of St George and a life member of Friends of Ruskin’s Brantwood, Carson McCullers Society, Royal Oak Foundation, Arkansas Library Association, and HI USA. For the Arkansas NCTE affiliate, ACTELA, she edits the award-winning newsletter, The English Pub. Her recent writing appear in The Companion, Arkansas Libraries, Arkansas English Journal, FoB Newsletter, and CEAMAG Journal. She loves collaborating, mentoring first-generation students and early-career teachers, and designing courses which include travel to Europe. Contact her at