Growing Educators Faculty
Renee Houser is Co-Founder and Director of Education for Upper Grades at Growing Educators and a former Teachers College, Columbia University staff member. While teaching at PS 126 in NYC Renee worked closely with Dan Ling Fu, Shelly Harwayne & Lucy Calkins as renegades of innovative instruction. She brought her knowledge from these experiences into the classroom to support her students with diverse learning needs and was later tapped to join TCRWP. During her time as a staff developer, Renee also taught as an adjunct professor, led administrative think tanks, and created curriculum with literacy coaches from across the city, as well as nationally and internationally. She earned her Master’s Degrees from Old Dominion University and Fordham University.
Jessica Martin is Co-Founder and Director of Education for Primary Grades at Growing Educators and a former Teachers College Reading and Writing Project staff member. She has taught both primary and upper grades and worked as a consultant for schools in reading and writing workshops across the country, K–12. Upon returning to the LA area in 2006, Jessica continued to work part-time for the TCRWP and as a Faculty Resident Advisor and Field Supervisor in LAUSD for the Teacher Education Program, Center X at UCLA. Her vision as Co-Founding Director of Growing Educators is to build an organization created and committed to innovative and collaborative professional development for educators that will help improve literacy instruction for all students.
Erin Donelson is a Senior Staff Developer for Growing Educators. Prior to joining the Growing Educators staff in 2011, she originally started out as a first grade teacher before spending several years as a K-5 literacy coach in the Los Angeles area. She has studied with literacy leaders such as Kathleen Tolan, Kathy Collins, Lucy Calkins, and Renee Houser during summer Reading and Writing Institutes and Winter Coaching Institutes at Columbia University's Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. Erin earned her Master’s degree in Education from the George Washington University.
Barbara Goodwin joined Growing Educators in July, 2015. She comes from L.A.U.S.D. where she held jobs as a teacher, assistant principal, math coach and BTSA Full Release Mentor. While teaching at Park Western Place, she worked as part of a staff that has been implementing balanced literacy and workshop for over 10 years. During that time, she studied at Teachers College for two summers. She holds a Masters in Administration and a Clear Administrative Credential.
Regina Hurh Kim received her M.A. in Elementary Education from Teachers College, where she was introduced to the idea of balanced literacy and workshop teaching from classes with Lucy Calkins. For several years, Regina lived in New York City where she taught at P.S. 163 and later worked as a staff developer for TCRWP. After moving to California, Regina worked as a full-time editor and as a freelance writer/editor for various educational publishing companies. She joined Growing Educators as a staff developer in 2011.
Genie Hwang is the Deputy Director at Growing Educators. She has worked for over 20 years in education dedicating her life to understanding how children and adult learn in the areas of reading, writing and mathematics in grades K-8. She has also studied Responsive Classroom and Developmental Designs for the past 8 years studying how social and emotional well being fosters learning in all areas. Genie has worked as a teacher and staff developer in New York and in Los Angeles and has worked with Lucy Calkin's at The Reading and Writing Project. Genie received her MA at New York University and continued her post-Masters study at New York University and at City College in New York.
Courtney Kinney joined the Growing Educators team in August 2013, after twelve years as a primary and upper grade classroom teacher in schools in urban Los Angeles. She earned an M.Ed. from UCLA with a focus in Social Justice, an M.A. in Education from CSULB with a focus in Reading and Language Arts, and holds a Reading and Language Arts Specialist Credential. She is an experienced Cognitive Coach and has traveled to Teachers College to strengthen her practice of reading and writing workshop. As a staff developer, she has a passion for working with educators to strengthen their efficacy as they implement a balanced literacy approach in their classroom.
Jodi Manby joined the Growing Educators staff in July 2011, after thirteen years in primary classrooms in urban Los Angeles. She has attended the summer institutes at Teachers College for the past six years, deepening her knowledge and refining her practice of reading and writing workshop. Jodi has recently worked alongside Jessica Martin in both the lab-site setting and think tanks for developing literacy leadership. Jodi was a selected as a teaching fellow by the Cotsen Family Foundation in 2003, continued as a demonstration teacher for the foundation after her fellowship, and continues to support both mentors and fellows. Jodi received her Master's degree from UCLA with a focus in Social Justice.
Michelle Peterson joined Growing Educators as a staff developer in July 2011. Prior to her work with GE, she taught in the Redondo Beach Unified School District for ten years—three years as a high school teacher and seven years at the elementary level in grades K, 2, 3, and 5. She has spent many summers studying at Teachers College. She currently works with schools all over Los Angeles and Orange County to support teachers with their reading and writing instruction. Michelle has an M.Ed in Education Administration from CSUDH.
Jamaica Ross joined Growing Educators in 2015 after working for Long Beach Unified School District for 15 years. In LBUSD, she worked as a teacher in grades 2-5. As an English Learner Specialist for 5 years, she was able to support students in balanced literacy work to increase their language and literacy levels. In addition, she was able to write curriculum for the district and coach teachers. Jamaicacompleted her undergraduate work in Northern California, where she grew up. She completed her post-graduate work at CSUF where she wrote her Master's Thesis on the topic of Academic Vocabulary Instruction as a means for building prior knowledge for children in poverty.
Claudia Vecchio Wille joined Growing Educators in 2014, after working in New York City Public Schools as a kindergarten and first grade teacher, as well as a literacy coach. While in New York City, she worked closely with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project as part of two different lab-site schools, numerous project summer institutes, and several leadership groups. She received an MS in Elementary Education from City College of New York. She also worked as an instructional coach in Federal Way Public Schools, transitioning schools from the Success for All literacy program, to a balanced literacy workshop model.