Pamela Michael, CEL Director
Pamela is the co-founder (with Robert Hass) of River of Words. A writer, radio producer and host, and the former director of the United Nations Task Force on Media and Education, she has also worked for Save the Children (Egypt), the United States Coalition for Education for All, and many other development and educational organizations. She worked for the Discovery Channel’s Educational Division as a curriculum development consultant and was director of marketing and public relations for the San Jose Symphony. Pamela is the author of several books, including The Gift of Rivers; The Whole World is Watching: An International Inquiry into Media Involvement in Education, and many magazine, journal, and newspaper articles. Her anthologies of children's art and poetry are used in classrooms around the world. She has taught writing to aspiring and professional writers, as well as teachers, for over twenty years.
p: (925) 631-4289
Casey McAlduff, Program Assistant
Casey McAlduff received her MFA in Poetry from Saint Mary’s College of California in 2012, and a BA in English and Spanish from the University of Southern California in 2009. In her professional life, Casey has been working to increase literacy rates on both coasts through programs that promote poetry as an agent of social change. These programs include former California Poet Laureate Carol Muske-Dukes’ non-profit organization, the Magic Poetry Blimp– a dramatic approach to the teaching of poetry in the classroom and in the community—as well as America SCORES, a national non-profit organization that empowers youth through creative writing, service-learning, and soccer. She is happy to be continuing this work here at the Center for Environmental Literacy. Casey lives in Oakland, where she also curates the Studio One Reading Series on the First Fridays of each month, and is the Blog Writer for the International Poetry Library of San Francisco.
p: (925) 631-8817
Amber Parker, Contest Manager and State Coordinator Liaison
Amber Parker is a So-Cal native and writer with a BA in journalism from California State University, Long Beach. She currently lives in the Bay Area and is earning her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Saint Mary’s College of California. As the new Contest Manager, Amber is honored to be a part of the 2013 River of Words Youth Environmental Poetry & Art Contest. She believes working with ROW on this project will be a rewarding experience because it combines her greatest passions: writing/art and environmental advocacy. It’s an amazing opportunity for young people to explore their relationship to the world around them and then express that relationship in a creative and beautiful way. In the past, Amber has interned at several news publications. She covered sports and a variety of campus topics for CSULB’s Daily 49er student newspaper. She reported on business and community news for San Gabriel Valley Newspaper Group and was published in The San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, Whittier Daily News and Highlander/Star Weekly papers. She also served as research/ copy-editor for the affluent lifestyle-guide, Pasadena Magazine and she briefly worked as a freelance sports writer for Patch.com. For her undergraduate thesis, Amber served as a volunteer and blogger for the environmental advocacy group, Friends of Colorado Lagoon in Long Beach. She currently blogs entertainment news for popstoptv.com when she’s not working on her graduate thesis.
Margie Simone was born in Fresno, California. She was raised on a fig and almond farm. She is currently a freshman at Saint Mary's College. She is interested in a Health Science major and is also involded in the Dante Club. Margie also strongly believes in the SLOW food movement.
Bay Area born and raised, Audrey is currently a Class of 2015 undergraduate, pursuing a degree in English. At Saint Mary’s College, she is the Assistant News Editor of The Collegian and works in the Center for Writing Across the Curriculum as an adviser. Although she is particularly interested in prose, she appreciates working with River of Words because it allows her the opportunity to explore poetry and artwork from all corners of the earth. When she is not reading or writing, she enjoys watching old films and following professional basketball.
River of Words Advisory Council
Robert Hass, co-chair
River of Words judge, advisor, and co-founder, and former U.S. Poet Laureate, Bob is the author of several books of poems, including Field Guide (1973), Praise (1979), Human Wishes (1989), and Sun Under Wood: New Poems (1996); and a collection of essays, Twentieth Century Pleasures: Prose on Poetry (1984). His poetry collection Time and Materials (2007) won the National Book Award for poetry and the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. His awards include the Yale Younger Poets Award, the William Carlos Williams Award, the National Book Critics’ Circle Award for criticism in 1984, an Award of Merit from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship. A professor of English at the University of California at Berkeley since 1989, Bob served from 1995 to 1997 as Poet Laureate of the United States and as consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress. He is a graduate of Saint Mary's College.
Dean of the Kalmanovitz School of Education at Saint Mary's College, Metcalf-Turner has published extensively in the areas of teacher preparation and literacy, with attention to advancing the achievement of underserved populations, and most recently served as the Chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Illinois State University. Metcalf-Turner received both her Doctorate in Education Policy and Administration and Master of Arts degree in Journalism Scientific Communication from the University of Minnesota. She also received her Master of Arts degree in Speech/Language Pathology and Bachelors of Science degree in Special Education from Eastern Michigan University. Her academic and administrative leadership experience includes serving as Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs at the University of West Florida, with particular authority over diversity and international education and programs; and Assistant Provost for Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment at the University of Louisville. Metcalf-Turner also has an outstanding record as a classroom educator, which has included working with students in special education programs for the Detroit Public Schools and designing courses in liberal arts at Augsburg College.
Christopher Sindt is Vice Provost for Graducate and Professional Programs at Saint Mary's and was director of the College’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program for seven years. Sindt has a doctorate in English and a master's degree in creative writing from UC Davis. His book The Bodies was published by Parlor Press in 2011 and his poetry chapbook, The Land of Give and Take, was published in 2002 and his poetry has recently appeared in nocturnes, Pool, Swerve and Xantippe.
Dr. Raina J. León
Dr. Raina J. León, Cave Canem graduate fellow (2006) and member of the Carolina African American Writers Collective, has received several prestigious poetry awards and is the author of the forthcoming 2013 book of poetry, Boogeyman Dawn, which was also a finalist for the Naomi Long Madgett Prize (2010). Her first collection of poetry, Canticle of Idols, was a finalist for both the Cave Canem First Book Poetry Prize (2005) and the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize (2006) and is now available through Wordtech Communications. She headed the High School Literacy Project at the University of North Carolina where she recently received her doctorate in education and is currently an assistant professor of education in the Kalmanovitz School of Education at St. Mary's College of California. She came to Saint Mary’s from the Department of Defense Education Activity, where for three years she taught military dependents in Bamberg, Germany. Raina received her BA in Journalism from Pennsylvania State University, MA in Teaching of English from Teachers College Columbia University and PhD in Education under the Culture, Curriculum and Change strand at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. Her research interests include high school engagement and the teaching of poetry, critical literacy in the high school classroom, facilitating freshmen transitions and educational technology usage among high school educators. She also is a founding editor of The Acentos Review, an online quarterly, international journal devoted to the promotion and publication of Latino and Latina arts.
David Wood has worked for more than 25 years as an English teacher at Northgate High School in Walnut Creek, currently serving as department chair. He received a distinguished teacher award from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, in 2002. He was a member of the board of the Aurora Theatre in Berkeley from 1998 to 2007 and served as board president from 1999 to 2001. He received an undergraduate degree from Yale University and a master of arts in teaching (MAT) in English education from the University of Chicago. Mr. Wood is also a director of the Wood Foundation of Chambersburg, PA.
John Muir Laws
River of Words art judge, Naturalist, educator and artist John (Jack) Muir Laws delights in exploring the natural world and sharing this love with others. Laws has worked as an environmental educator since 1984 in California, Wyoming, and Alaska. He teaches classes on natural history, conservation biology, scientific illustration, and field sketching. He is trained as a wildlife biologist and is an associate of the California Academy of Sciences. In 2009, he received the Terwilliger Environmental Award for outstanding service in Environmental Education. He is a 2010 TogetherGreen Conservation Leadership Fellow with the National Audubon Society. He was the 2011 artist for International Migratory Bird Day. Laws has written and illustrated books about art and natural history including The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds (2012), Sierra Birds: a Hiker's Guide (2004), The Laws Guide to the Sierra Nevada (2007), and The Laws Pocket Guide Set to the San Francisco Bay Area (2009). He is a regular contributor to Bay Nature magazine with his "Naturalists Notebook" column. His illustrations are informed by extensive field experience and capture the feeling of the living plant or animal, while also including details critical for identification. Laws is deeply committed to stewardship of nature and collaborates with organizations throughout the state. He is the founder and host of the Bay Area Nature Journal Club. A free, family friendly, intergenerational community who connect with nature through art and field journaling. He is the primary author and editor of the California Native Plant Society Curriculum: Opening the world through Nature Journaling. This standards based, curriculum is kid tested and teacher approved and integrates science, language arts, and visual arts through teaching students to keep a nature journal. He initiated Following Muir's Footsteps, an educational program to engender passionate love of nature, personal understanding of natural history and commitment to stewardship. This program gets students out in the field, learning from their own observations and using field guides and nature journals as the basis for discovering nature around them. As a part of this project, he is working secure funding to donate sets of field guides to every middle and high school in the Sierra Nevada.
Leonore Wilson has long taught English and creative writing at various colleges and universities in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her new book of poetry is Western Solstice (Hiraeth Press). Her poetry, stories and essays have been featured in such magazines as Quarterly West, Madison Review, Laurel Review, Pif, and Third Coast. She has won fellowships to the University of Utah and Villa Montalvo Center of the Arts. Her work has been nominated for four Pushcart awards. Leonore lives on her historic family cattle ranch in the east hills of the Napa Valley. She is the mother of three grown sons.
In addition to serving as the climate change information officer for the California Air Resources Board, Mr. Young is an author and journalist who has written books and articles on environmental subjects. As communications director of the California Resources Agency, the umbrella state agency for natural resources and environmental management, he oversaw the internal and external communications of 28 departments, boards, commissions, and conservancies and managed a budget of $5 billion and a staff of more than 14,000. Later, as director of marketing for Jones & Stokes, he oversaw communications and branding for this environmental consulting firm of 500 professionals with offices in seven states. He is currently the climate change information officer for the California Air Resources Board. A Commonwealth Scholar who attended universities in Canada, Israel, and England, Stanley has also worked as a modern dancer, yoga teacher, and chef, and was a field officer in a Cambodian refugee camp.