Staff & Writing Coaches
Sarah Poulter | Executive Director
A native Oregonian, Sarah Poulter moved to Boston for love in Y2K and hasn’t looked back. While she remains curious about the many career possibilities left unexplored – professional sewist, craft blogger, face painter, fabric designer – her passion for education is fueled by the insatiable curiosity of her two children and her husband, a dedicated middle school teacher who convinced her to pack her bags for Boston.
Before assuming the role of Executive Director in July 2016, Sarah worked at WriteBoston for five years in roles ranging from Grant Writer, Director of New Business and Evaluation, to, most recently, Deputy Director. Sarah brings over 15 years of leadership, program management and partnership development experience through a range of roles within education intermediary organizations. Notable past employers include City Connects, the Boston Plan for Excellence, and the Boston PIC. She earned her Master’s degree from the Education Policy and Management program at Harvard University.
When she’s not learning how to play Pokémon or supervising messy cooking projects with her children, she should be reading, running, or improving her garden. Phone: 617-541-2631
Jessie Gerson | Deputy Director
Jessie Gerson's previous work has included serving as the Literacy Director for McCormack Middle School in Dorchester, MA, and directing the Oakland Practitioner Teacher Training Program in Oakland, California. She started her career as a middle school English and Social Studies teacher, and has worked as a coach and consultant with district and charter schools, helping to train new and experienced teachers and strengthen building-wide literacy practices. She earned her Masters in Policy, Organization and Leadership Studies from Stanford University and her Masters of Arts in Teaching from the University of Louisville, Kentucky. Phone: 617-541-2664
Betty J. Southwick | Strategy Advisor
Betty Southwick was WriteBoston's founding Executive Director (2002 - 2016) and currently serves as a part-time Strategy Advisor for the organization. She brings business, management, and teaching experience to her work, including consulting on work-life and dependent care issues for major Fortune 500 companies for ten years. She is an educator with experience as a teacher and a guidance counselor and the parent of two Boston public school graduates. Phone: 617-541-2604
Anne Shackleford | Development and Communications Director
Anne Shackleford joined WriteBoston in 2012 and manages the organization’s communications, grant writing, and fundraising. (If you call the office, you’re also most likely to hear her voice.) Prior to coming to WriteBoston, she lived in Providence, RI, where she amassed an impressive collection of art created by other people's children from working in communications and development at a youth arts organization. Before that, she spent two years working one-on-one with college students as a writing center tutor: helping freshman football stars navigate their first college essay to working with international graduate students as they express the minutia of turf grass science. The experience of working closely with other writers – talking and thinking about the writing process – gave her a deep appreciation of how writing can push real reflection and growth in thinking. Anne is a proud alumna of the AmeriCorps VISTA program, having served two years. She graduated summa cum laude from the Ohio State University with a BA in English and minors in professional writing and business. She's inspired by great theater, weird art, and the amazing perspectives and voices of young people. Phone: 617-541-2663
Coaching and Training
Merle Berman | Writing Coach
Merle Berman’s husband wants to move out of their hometown of over three decades to savor the freedom of anonymity because Merle’s visibility in town extends far and wide - as wife, mother, educator, child and social justice advocate, coach, community leader, fitness fanatic, garden aficionado. Perhaps to her husband’s chagrin, she isn't leaving town anytime soon. Instead, she is exploring new territory through an unchartered shift to working in urban schools, mentoring a maximum security inmate, and teaching pronunciation to new immigrants, with her South African accent. It’s no secret that Merle is a Bruce Springsteen devotee. Bruce is an iconic educator, and like The Boss, Merle’s career springs from the ground up. Through teaching children, and training, coaching and leading teachers and administrators, Merle knows how to empower learners to break barriers in their thinking and writing - in life transforming ways. Ask Merle what skills have been most critical to her success and her answer might surprise you: humility and nuance. When not steeped in schools and scholarship, you'll likely see her wheeling or chasing her grandchildren, throwing pots, braving steep downhills on her bike, or consuming stunning sunset views!
Roberta Logan | Writing Coach
While teaching in Boston Public Schools for over thirty years, Roberta Logan worked collaboratively with colleagues as well as interns from Harvard University and Tufts University. Since retiring from Boston Public Schools, she has continued to work with educators at various levels, who are at different career stages. She is an adjunct faculty member for The Boston Teacher Residency Program. Her appreciation of authentic voices has led to an ongoing relationship with the Africa Outreach Program at Boston University, where she co-facilitates a book group for k-12 educators. Beyond her work with classroom teachers, she serves on the Mission Hill School Governing Board and enjoys gardening, long walks and making soup. Her most recent writing project focused on the historical relationship between African Americans and the legal system in Massachusetts.
Jenny Miller | Writing Coach
Jenny Miller is obsessed with words. More specifically, she is obsessed with the transformative power of words. Providing equal access to this power has driven her professional career for over 20 years. After immersing herself completely in words at Boston University’s MFA program in poetry, she began her career as a teacher with a mission to inspire students to access the power of language. She worked in Boston Public Schools as a high school teacher, amazed by all her students had to say, and determined to give them the tools to put their ideas into writing. Later, she worked as a literacy coach, working with teachers to unlock doors of comprehension, allowing students to make meaning from what they read. Her obsession was such that she traveled to Cuba to study the 1961 Literacy Campaign. Jenny has worked as an administrator and consultant across Massachusetts. She is very excited to have joined the WriteBoston team, fueled by her obsession with words and her belief in the great African proverb that states “until the lion learns how to write, every story will glorify the hunter.” Seven years ago, Jenny found yet another obsession, her daughter Georgia. She and her family live in Dorchester, Massachusetts.
Christina Shea | Writing Coach
Christina Shea is an experienced teacher of writing and a published novelist. She holds a BA from Kenyon College and an MFA from the University of Michigan as well as a Massachusetts teaching certification in ELA.
She began as a TEFL instructor in the Peace Corps in the 1990s and, subsequently, became coordinator of language teacher training programs for the Peace Corps, fueling an interest in service through education and cross-cultural experience that has never gone away. As Director of Writing in the Charles Hamilton Houston Enrichment Program at New England School of Law from 1999 to 2002, Christina supported minority student writers in the critical first year of law school. She worked as writing consultant to Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in the Needham school’s first years of operation in 2002 and subsequently held the post of Visiting Writer for four years, teaching creative writing to young engineers. Since 2003, she has been a core faculty member of the low-residency MFA program in Creative Writing at Lesley University. Since 2011, she has worked at the English High School with WriteBoston, as a teacher coach.
Christina is now at work on her third novel. She is the mother of three boys and lives in Roslindale.
Teens in Print
Carla Gualdron | Teens in Print Program Director
Carla Gualdron's story with WriteBoston is a quintessential one of things coming full circle. As a sophomore at the former Media Communication Technology High School in West Roxbury, she joined the Teens in Print newspaper as a staff writer. It was there that she got her first taste of ink. That feeling of accomplishment in seeing her name in print sent her on a quest to become to journalist. A Boston native, Carla stayed local and attended Emerson College where she earned her degree in print journalism. Since then, Carla has quenched her thirst for bylines through the Boston Herald, El Mundo newspaper, and The Enterprise. In 2016 Carla returned to Teens in Print as the Program Director, hoping to inspire budding cub reporters. Phone: 617-541-2635
Julie Biegner | Teens in Print Operations Improvement & Outreach, AmeriCorps*VISTA
Julie Biegner is the AmeriCorps VISTA for Teens in Print. She studied Communication at Boston College, falling in love with issues of social justice and youth development along the way. After graduating, she worked for a freelance writing boutique where she enjoyed writing, editing and drinking too much coffee.Julie then joined a startup as a Community Manager and developed a fascination with the possibilities for technology and digital media in social impact. Now, she is excited to join Teens in Print and work with amazing students on putting together an amazing newspaper. Phone: 617-541-2628
Calvin Lescault | Writing Center Coordinator
From a young age, a commitment of service to others was a priority for Calvin Lescault. After graduating from Queens University of Charlotte with a BA in Political Science and Journalism, Calvin moved to Boston and participated in two years of AmeriCorps service with City Year. During that experience, he deeply connected with young people in Boston and began looking for more ways to support high quality education for Boston’s students. After City Year, Calvin joined the team as a Writing Center Coordinator at Boston International Newcomers Academy, where he leads a team of tutors supporting Boston's recent immigrant population. After work you can find Calvin cooking vegetarian means, searching for the next great band, and watching his favorite soccer team, Tottenham Hotspur, on Saturday mornings.
Sage Marsters | Writing Center Coordinator
Sage Marsters (M.Ed, MFA) has worked in two bookstores (one in San Francisco and one in Jamaica Plain), on a ranch in Montana, in an afterschool program in Brookline, as a Humanities teacher at the Little House alternative school in Dorchester, as a writing teacher in the First Year Writing Program at Emerson College, and finally as a Writing Coach and Writing Center Coordinator for the past 10 years at WriteBoston. She is a writer herself and has published short stories in literary journals such as The Alaska Quarterly Review, Fugue, and The New England Review. Her short story, “Bear Story” won a Pushcart Prize. She loves to talk, think and write with students and to hear their stories take shape, and to tell stories to her daughter most nights, sometimes about her actual day with many brave and interesting students, and sometimes about the talking insects and fairies who live in the community garden across the street.