Almeta Whitis is a renowned storyteller, theatre artist, author, and poet who has taught on five continents. Combining diverse stories and traditions, alongside history, she encourages students to explore movement, dance, film, and the visual arts; and helps them gain knowledge of academic subjects and the world at large. Her experience as an educator, university professor, and Master Teaching Artist has resulted in many awards, among them, Phi Delta Kappa’s 1995 Lay Teacher of the Year, National Endowment for the Arts’ Most Skilled and Experienced Community Artist, and Governor Mario Cuomo’s 1993 Decade of the Child Award. She is featured in Rochester Museum and Science Center’s “CHANGEMAKERS: 200 Rochester Women Who Have Changed The World” exhibition. Photo credit: Annette Dragon
Vanessa is an enthusiastic reader and educator who earned her Master’s degree in Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology from The University at Albany and a dual Bachelor’s degree in Childhood and Special Education from The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. Outside of sharing her talents with Writers & Books, she currently is an elementary public school teacher in the Albany area. A former SummerWrite camper and apprentice, Vanessa is passionate about creating learning opportunities and programs for students of all ages.
After attending youth camps, working as a SummerWrite Intern (2016) and SummerWrite Coordinator (2019), Clara was proud to join the Writers & Books team full time in 2020 as Bookstore Coordinator of Ampersand Books. She graduated from Ithaca College in 2018 with a degree in Culture and Communication, and served with AmeriCorps, 2018-19.
Alison is a veteran nonprofit leader with previous appointments at Cave Canem Foundation (Executive Director, 2006 – 2016), Hill-Stead Museum, CT (Poetry Director and Director of Marketing, 2000 -2006), and Oberlin, OH, Consumers Co-op (General Manager). She also has served as Director of Development at the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses, and for many years owned and managed an independent bookstore in Connecticut. She consults as a LitNYS mentor for New York State literary arts nonprofits, is Treasurer of the Board of Kweli, and serves on Monroe Community College’s Arts & Humanities Advisory Board. Alison is a Pushcart Prize‐nominated poet, fiction writer, and essayist whose work may be found in journals and anthologies and at www.alisonmeyers.com.
Prior to joining Writers & Books, Rachael managed development programs for clients in Uganda, Ghana and South Sudan. She holds Bachelors degrees in Environmental Sciences and French Language and Literature from the University of Virginia. Reading and sharing impactful stories and poetry has been a part of her life as far back as she can remember, and she is thrilled to help connect readers and writers to each other and to the written word through Writers & Books’ work.