Robin joined WITS as a writer in 1990, and she has worked in every facet of the organization, from teaching to program development to administration. Currently as Executive Director, Robin not only leads WITS in its Houston endeavors; she also heads the WITS Alliance, a national consortium of literary arts education groups. Robin earned an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a Ph.D. from the University of Houston Creative Writing Program. Her poems and essays have been published widely in books and journals such as Ploughshares and HOW(ever), and her chapbook Dear Red Airplane was published in 2011. Robin is Board Vice President for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP).
Jack joined WITS in 2004. He designs creative writing school programs, collaborations with community organizations, and teaching opportunities for creative writers. He is responsible for recruiting, training, and managing writers in teaching placements and leads the WITS summer writing camp programs. Jack has a B.A. in art history and Spanish from Trinity University and a Masters in Nonprofit Administration from the University of Notre Dame.
Kate oversees major giving, the WITS gala, communications and advocacy, board relations, and strategic planning. Prior to her work at WITS, Kate was instrumental in a $25 million capital, endowment, and program campaign. A Twin Cities native, Kate received a B.A. in Political, Legal, & Economic Analysis (PLEA) with a minor in English from Mills College in Oakland, CA. She recently co-authored a peer-review article on performance poetry in Children at Risk’s Journal of Applied Research on Children. Kate is a WITS parent and her husband is a former WITS writer.
After 37 years in public education, Tina joined WITS in 2012 to provide professional development to both writers and teachers. Before joining WITS, Tina taught English in several Houston area school districts and also served as the Manager of Adolescent Literacy and Response to Intervention for the Houston Independent School District. Tina earned her B.A. in English and history from the University of Texas and her M. Ed. from the University of Houston. Active members of the Houston Greek community, Tina and her husband Gus have two children, Alexis and Jimmy (both former WITS students).
Bean ranked 9th in the Individual World Poetry Slam in 2012 and appeared at TEDxHouston in 2013. His one-man show “Converse” went to Theatre Row in New York City in November 2013, as part of the United Solo Theatre Festival. Bean coaches the WITS youth poetry program, Meta-Four Houston. He recently co-authored a peer-review article on performance poetry in Children at Risk’s Journal of Applied Research on Children. Bean has taught with WITS since 2010.
Deborah is an internationally-known poet/vocalist/songwriter. She published her first poetry anthology, Heartstrings and Lamentations, at the age of 19. In addition to having a B.A. in English from the University of Michigan and a M.Ed from the University of St. Thomas, she is a certified teacher and the head coach of the Houston VIP National Poetry Slam Team. She has traveled across the continent writing, performing, and leading workshops. In 2008, she was ranked as the #2 Best Female Performance Poet in the World. She has also been a Juried Poet for the Houston Poetry Festival (2012), a Finalist for the Southern Fried Regional Poetry Slam (2013), and a Finalist for Houston Poet Laureate (2015). Deborah has been a WITS writer since 2009.
Maryann has been a writer-in-residence with WITS since 2008. In the summer of 2015, she joined the program team and works collaboratively to place and support writers, meet with school and community leaders, and manage The Menil Collection and Arboretum projects. She also assists the program team in creating ideas for writer meetings, the WITS Collaborative, and WITS Arts in Medicine. Maryann taught in the Houston Independent School District for 15 years as a classroom teacher and a literacy coach. She has a B.B.A in Accounting from Stephen F. Austin State University, became a Certified Public Accountant, and earned her post-baccalaureate teaching certification from the University of Houston. She studied the teaching of writing at Columbia University’s Reading and Writing Project. Maryann’s essays, poems, and short memoir pieces have appeared in The Sun, Teachers & Writers, Reflections (short personal narratives), M. D. Anderson’s Cancerwise blog, and Untameable City: Poems on the Nature of Houston.
Meggie Monahan joined the WITS community as a writer-in-residence in 2010. She received an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston where she served as nonfiction editor for Gulf Coast. Her poems have appeared in Best New Poets, Mid-American Review, Third Coast, Sonora Review, and elsewhere. Meggie’s work with the WITS Program Team includes supporting writers and interns, teaching at the Discovery Green Young Writers Workshop, and managing the WITS Digital program. A certified yoga teacher, Meggie loves hanging out with lots of sweaty, happy people at BIG Power Yoga.
Patricia Garcia is a poet and former teacher from the Twin Cities, Minnesota. She attended St. Olaf College where she received her B.A. in English Literature and Race and Ethnic Studies. Before moving to Houston, Patricia coached performance poetry and most recently, worked with students at an international school in South Korea. Patricia is passionate about Multicultural Education and utilizing poetry to empower youth. In addition to her work with the program team at WITS, she works as a social justice advocate for the Asian American & Pacific Islander community of Houston.
Development & Communications Team
Alyssa is an artist and educator from Houston, Texas. She received her B.F.A. from the University of Houston with an emphasis in photography and digital media. In the fall of 2012 Alyssa was recognized by the Leigh Bess Boone Foundation for her dedication to the performing and visual arts. Currently, she enjoys making and exhibiting her work and is a regular contributor to a local zine.
Monica Davidson is a youth activist, social justice change agent, spoken word poet, facilitator and educator from Madison, WI. Monica was a three-time member of the Youth Speaks Wisconsin team and a two-time finalist in the Madison Adult Slam Competition. She served as the Education and Community Outreach Coordinator for Generation Spoken and has helped facilitate and develop spoken word and writing curriculum for countless high school, grade school, professional and community programs. Monica has a passion for working with young people and believes every young mind has a great talent waiting to be discovered.
Analicia Sotelo is a previous WITS writer who earned her MFA in Poetry from the University of Houston and her BA from in English Literature from Trinity University. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The New Yorker, The Boston Review, The Iowa Review,The Antioch Review, Best New Poets, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, Nonstop Godhead, was recently selected by Rigoberto González for the Poetry Society of America’s 2016 Chapbook Fellowship. Analicia has received scholarships from Squaw Valley and Image-Text-Ithaca, and is the 2016 Disquiet International Literary Prize winner in Poetry.
Stephanie writes grants and assists with donor relations and the Celebration of Story benefit and is passionate about the WITS mission. She is a native Houstonian and long-time appreciator of this city’s literary community. Stephanie earned a B.A. in English with a minor in Film Studies from University of Houston. Before joining WITS Stephanie worked at a local performing arts non-profit assisting with patron relations.
Angie manages all financial aspects of the organization, including receivables, payables, payroll, budgets, and financial reports. She also oversees the annual audit and tax return preparation. A native of Wisconsin, Angie lives in the Houston area with her husband and two cats.