Freelance writer, memoirist and creator/facilitator of Writing to Change the World at Isaac Dickson Elementary School, Janet engages students with creative non-fiction forms (memoir, personal essay, profile, narrative journalism and issue-based feature story) and innovative multi-media non-fiction writing and publishing, including writing for radio, public presentation and internet-based platforms.
Janet believes that students need to develop and practice writerly habits and writerly ways of thinking in addition to learning discrete writing skills and craft. Janet often says she can relate the writing process to “anything!” and is an advocate for writing across the curriculum. She believes that writing enhances problem solving and critical thinking, develops integration of process, content, and skills, increases decision making abilities, and encourages a healthy skepticism which leads to exploration of ideas, an enlarged world view and a confident imagination.
Janet brings is the founding director of True Ink, providing creative opportunities for young writers in the Asheville area since 2008, including summer camp programs, afterschool programs, private classes and special events and workshops. She also publishes Trill, a complete arts magazine for teens. She is the co-founder and acting administrator for Asheville Writers in the Schools, which trains and places writers in long-term residencies in local schools and community programs. She recently completed a year-long residency at Isaac Dickson Elementary which included a collaboration with WCQS to record and air 60 This I Believe essays in the greater WNC area, as well as the second annual production of TEDxyouth@isaacdickson.
Janet has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts and has a BA from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill , where she completed the honors program in creative writing.
Janet has a long history of working with young people in addition to her True Ink programs. She has volunteered with young writers from kindergarten through fifth grade in Asheville, Chapel Hill, NC Athens, GA, and New Paltz, NY. While living in the Piedmont of North Carolina in the the early nineties, she worked with award winning poet and playwright Jaki Shelton Green to develop and co-facilitate a writing program for the Cedar Grove Head Start program as part of a North Carolina Arts and Education grant. Janet 's experience with young people includes directing and facilitating youth leadership programs for The Center for Peace Education based in Carrboro, N.C. and for Rites of Passage in Athens, Georgia. In 1994, she directed the Haw River Festival, an environmental education program serving over 2000 fourth grade children.
Also a storyteller, Janet has performed in elementary school classrooms in Asheville, Chapel Hill, Athens, Georgia and New Paltz, New York. In 1994, she performed for hundreds of children along the Hudson River as the resident storyteller for the Pumpkin Festival, a Clear Water Sloop environmental education program. In the early nineties, she also co-founded The Far Fetchers and True Tellers, a Chapel Hill based storytelling performance group.
Connections to NC Essential Standards and Common Core: technology, language arts, social studies, science
Tamiko Ambrose Murray
Tamiko Ambrose Murray is a writer, a storyteller, and a teaching artist through the Teaching Artists Performing in Asheville Schools (TAPAS) program. She is the winner of the UNC-Asheville 2005 Wilma Dykeman Award for creative non-fiction and is an Asheville Arts Council Grant recipient. She has been a contributing writer for the Mountain Xpress; the Urban News and Observer; Gentle Strength Quarterly, a Journal of the Fine Arts, and other publications.
Tamiko’s strategies for teaching creative writing have resulted in demonstrable increases in EOG scores with 8th grade students. Engaging new writers in the creative writing process since 2003, Tamiko continues to work with various community arts organizations to empower youth and adults through the arts including LEAF in Schools and Streets and the R.E.A.C.H. program of Arts2People.
Tamiko received a BA in Literature and Language from UNC-Asheville. She is pursuing a Masters in Social Work at Western Carolina University, where she continues to research the arts as an intervention strategy and as vehicle for education.
In the words of 6th grade Asheville Middle School student: “Ms. Ambrose rocks!”
Since 1998, Michael has been performing poetry professionally for schools, festivals and special events throughout North Carolina. His poetry and creative writing workshops challenge students with fun, engaging activities, from brainstorming and writing to editing and publishing. Workshops for teachers and students grades 3–12 include Kaboom Performance Poetry, Verse for a Diverse World, The Art of Advertising, and Parody Poetry.
Michael’s poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. He has published two poetry chapbooks, a poetry CD (Kaboom) and three local history books on Haywood County. He is coauthor of Haywood County: Portrait of a Mountain Community, which won the North Carolina Society of Historians 2010 President’s Award. Over his 15-year career as a journalist, Beadle published more than 1,500 articles in newspapers throughout the state and won several North Carolina Press Association awards. An A+ Schools Fellow since 1999, he has taught and facilitated staff development workshops for teachers in North Carolina, Oklahoma and Michigan.
Connections to NC Essential Standards and Common Core: drama, language arts, social studies,
Meggen Lyon has taught creative writing workshops for people aged 7 to 70. She has served as Artist-in-Residence at Dreams Wilmington, a nonprofit arts education center for at-risk youth in Wilmington, NC. She also leads writing workshops for children enrolled in school-age programs at the Asheville Jewish Community Center. Her student-centered workshops have included poetry, multi-genre, mixed media, and collaborative performance projects.
Meggen has been the writer-residency at Ira B Jones Elementary during the Jumpstart program, summer 2011, in Zack Brown's 4th grade classroom, 2011-2-12, during the Asheville City Schools Summerplus enrichment program 2012, and is currently working with 2nd grade teacher Lisa Carver and 3rd grade teacher Mollie MacDonald in a unique residency which includes a family writing component.
Meggen earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and her BA in English from Michigan State University, where she was an Honors College member. She taught a wide range of writing courses in the English and Creative Writing departments at UNCW, and at Cape Fear Community College. In 2002, she received a UNCW Graduate Teaching Excellence Award.
Meggen has been a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and a finalist for the N.C. Arts Council-sponsored residency at Headlands Center for the Arts. She was a member of Brawdeville, a women’s performance art troupe based in Wilmington, where she wrote and performed poems, songs, and skits. Her poems have appeared in The Journal, The Kerf, Potomac Review, Elixir, and Show and Tell: Writers on Writing. She is currently an online writing consultant, and a researcher and contributing writer for a commissioned biography of character actor Pat Hingle.
Laura shares her passion for writing through a range of activities that engage all learning styles. Connecting the curriculum to poetry, fiction, personal narrative, and storytelling through art and drama, students are given the opportunity to process material creatively and enhance their understanding of the subject matter. Working in K-8 classrooms, Laura meets students of all learning levels, including ESL students, where they are to develop confidence in writing and skills in questioning, comprehension, literary techniques such as structure and figurative language, and group work.
Laura has facilitated creative writing camps for elementary and middle school students through the Thurber House, Asheville Writers in the Schools, and True Ink, and she is a recipient of a Mary Duke Biddle Grant for her creative writing work with bilingual students. Her experience with ESL students also includes teaching English in a public middle school in South Korea as well as tutoring and community organizing with Latino youth at Centro de Enlace in Burnsville, NC. A graduate of Oberlin College, Laura is a children’s writer. Her story, The Day the Sea Split appeared in the March 2012 issue of Spider Magazine for Kids.
Connections to NC Essential Standards and Common Core: drama, language arts, social studies