I had a wonderful time recently working with budding poets at LaCoochee Elementary School. They love poetry there!
I have spent most of the past 40 years as a teacher. Between teaching creative writing, technical writing, literature and composition in high school, college, community-based programs and outreach, I estimate that I have had the privilege of working with over 4,000 students of all ages. Since 2011, I have taught at Saint Leo University.
Over the years I’ve taught at The University of Tampa, Hillsborough Community College, University of South Florida and for the YMCA Writers Voice. Beginning in 1997, I co-directed the creative writing department at Blake School of the Arts, a Tampa magnet arts high school, and wrote and implemented an 11-course, 4-year creative writing program. This was a lengthy period
of deeply fulfilling work that was as much karmic or spiritual as it was physical and intellectual. I worked with some students for their entire four years of high school and had the honor of issuing them into adulthood and artistic maturity. A few of those students have continued to work at the craft of writing; a larger number of them have, in adulthood, become friends.
My colleagues were the hardest-working people I’ve ever known and some of the most dedicated on earth. I was recognized as Blake’s Teacher of the Year, 2003-2004.
In 2007, I left public school teaching to become the Curator of Education at the Henry B. Plant Museum. Part of the University of Tampa, the museum tells the story of the magnificent building where it is housed, Tampa’s first luxury hotel, the Tampa Bay Hotel and end of the line for the Plant Railroad. I organized and directed all the educational programs and did most of the in-house writing for the Museum, as well as the grant writing. I became very well schooled in Tampa’s early history and what I learned has stuck with me. The educational experience alone, besides learning how to stage exhibits, was a joy for me, a native of Tampa.
Upon leaving the museum, I briefly worked as the grant writer for Academy Prep Centers of Tampa and Saint Petersburg. Although I was there less than a year, I loved contributing directly to the lives of children whose families lived below the poverty level.
In 2011, I joined the writing faculty at Saint Leo University campus, http://www.saintleo.edu/ where I am happily teaching academic and creative writing to this day. I am deeply involved in building the literary community on campus, with the help of wonderful colleagues both within the Department of Language Studies and the Arts and across campus. I was awarded the position of Editor-in-Chief of the university’s literary magazine, Sandhill Review, and in 2012 founded the Sandhill Writer’s Retreat. I instituted the Literature for Lunch program which features two guest writers per year, brought to us by the Florida Literary Arts Coalition’s Writers Tour. I also began an occasional poetry column for the University newsletter call Poems for Our Lives that showcases engaging, thought-provoking and accessible poems.
Creative Writers kayakking trip for our Nature Writing course.