Units of Study Team

These individuals help schools and districts that have recently adopted the new Units of Study to get off to the strongest possible start.

Elaine Bakke

Bakke, Elaine

Elaine Bakke has demonstrated a commitment to Literacy Education throughout her career. A former supervisor of Language Arts K-12, supervisor of HR, literacy coach and classroom teacher, she has worked with TCRWP to bring reading and writing Workshop to her former NJ school district, with teachers and administrators to develop curriculum and staff development, and with various professional organizations to present workshops on literacy topics.

Kris Barnes

Barnes, Kris

Kris Barnes brings thirty years of educational experience to her work as a Units of Study staff developer. During her career with Seattle Public Schools, Kris was a teacher, literacy coach, administrator and district level curriculum specialist. She holds a master's degree in Reading from the University of Washington and has extensive experience supporting schools' implementation of reading and writing workshop and the alignment of standards-based instruction. Kris currently works as a literacy consultant supporting schools in the Seattle region.

Jenny Bender

Bender, Jenny

Jenny Bender brings over fifteen years of education experience to her work as a Units of Study staff developer. She is a former K-8 TCRWP staff developer and also helped write the new Units of Study. Jenny is the author of two texts on the teaching of writing: The Resourceful Writing Teacher (Heinemann, 2007) and Teaching Young Writers to Craft Realistic Fiction (Scholastic, 2011). She currently works as an independent literacy consultant.

Rita Bongarten

Bongarten, Rita

Rita Bongarten brings over 25 years as an educator to her role as a Units of Study staff developer and has served as a classroom teacher, literacy coach, district level literacy curriculum leader, school improvement specialist, building principal, and assistant superintendent. Rita's doctoral work focused on New York City public schools that served as a model for literacy leadership. Rita has helped many schools implement workshop teaching.

April Delude

Delude, April

April Delude was a teacher in Hazel Park, Michigan for sixteen years before joining the Project. Her classroom was a demonstration site for best practices. She led state-wide literacy institutes, and coached both lower and upper elementary teachers across Michigan's Oakland County. April works with schools across the country.

Kate DiMeo

DiMeo, Kate

Kate DiMeo brings 20 years of education experience to her work as a Units of Study staff developer. She holds an Educational Specialist degree in Administration from Oakland University and a master's degree in Teaching from Michigan State University. She has spent the last several years as a K-12 literacy consultant in a high performing school district. Kate is passionate about increasing professional development opportunities for teachers.

Katie Even

Even, Katie

Katie Even brings years of experience teaching grades 3-5 in both general and special education settings to her work as a Units of Study staff developer. Katie is a former TCRWP staff developer who has led many TCRWP reading and writing institutes around the country.

Brianna Friedman Parlitsis

Friedman Parlitsis, Brianna

Brianna Friedman-Parlitsis taught in New York City and received her M.Ed. from Teachers College before joining the Project. Brianna has a special interest in data. She works with teachers who have large populations of struggling students and ELL's. Brianna is a co-author of Bigger Books Mean Amping Up Reading Power, a unit of study for second grade readers.

Mary Green

Green, Mary

Mary Green has worked as both a classroom teacher and a literacy specialist in a large urban district. She brings experience helping teachers and administrators create cultures of learning and norms of high expectations across schools to her role as a Units of Study staff developer.

Annemarie Johnson

Johnson, Annemarie

Annemarie Johnson’s work as a Units of Study staff developer stands on her experience in teaching, literacy coaching, and working with teachers from schools across the US and Canada. Her background includes work with the Bureau of Education and Research (BER) and work as a university instructor, and spans both urban and suburban settings.

Linda Kasarjian

Kasarjian, Linda

Linda Kasarjian has taught primary grades and more recently the teachers of primary grades since 1994. She began her teaching career in NYC, where she was a classroom teacher in Harlem and on the Upper West Side and then a full-time staff developer at TCRWP. Linda currently consults in schools around Charleston, SC and travels around the country as a Units of Study Team Member.

Gael Lynch

Lynch, Gael

Gael Lynch has served as a classroom teacher, program administrator, curriculum developer, mentor and coach in Newtown, CT. She has extensive experience in the K-6 classroom, building a learning community that embraces the TCRWP reading and writing workshop model and invites conversation and collaboration. She is currently an educational consultant, designing transition alignment for students and educators.

Lindsay Mann

Mann, Lindsay

Lindsay Mann taught elementary grades and was a teacher leader and literacy specialist in Michigan before joining the Project. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in the department of Curriculum and Teaching at Teachers College with a focus on writing in kindergarten. She has also taught and supervised graduate students in TC's Literacy Specialist program. Lindsay values the role that teacher inquiry plays in the classroom, and encourages teachers to be researchers.

Cynthia Mershon

Mershon, Cynthia

Cynthia Mershon draws on her experience as a reading specialist, language arts supervisor, and teacher resource specialist as a Units of Study staff developer. She also has experience working with both struggling and gifted students and developing and implementing classroom reading and writing workshops.

Cheney Munson

Munson, Cheney

Cheney Munson has worked as a middle school English teacher and Writing Department Chair at a network of charter schools in Newark, NJ. Working to invest teachers and administrators in TC methodology and curriculum, he has implemented reading and writing workshop at the level of classroom, school and network. He has also worked with a wide range of struggling to gifted readers and writers.

Chara Rodrigues

Rodrigues, Chara

Chara Rodrigues is a literacy coach and former reading specialist who has received extensive training in these areas from TC. Chara was a K-5 reading and writing workshop teacher for many years before becoming a coach. She has been an integral part of teachers transforming their practice and loves helping create readers and writers for life.

​Laura Schiller

Schiller, ​Laura

Laura Schiller brings experience in teaching, authorship of professional texts (Using Discourse Analysis to Improve Classroom Interaction), staff development in literacy, and work as an administrator to her role as a Units of Study staff developer. Her doctoral work focused on literacy, language, and culture.

Sara Shenkan-Rich

Shenkan-Rich, Sara

Sara Shenkan-Rich's relationship with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project began over 15 years ago. Sara first partnered with the Project as a classroom teacher at PS 132 in New York City, then as a principal at Sherman Elementary School in San Francisco, and now as a trainer on the Units of Study team. Due to Sara's success as a principal, the Mayor of San Francisco named her the 2010 Mayor's Principal of the Year.


Jeanne Tribuzzi

Tribuzzi, Jeanne

Jeanne Tribuzzi draws on a variety of roles and extensive experience with literacy and curriculum for her work as a units of study staff developer, including primary teacher, middle school English teacher, director of staff development, director of English Language Arts, ESL, and Second Languages, and, most recently, district administrator of global concepts.


Patty Wright

Wright, Patty

Patty Wright brings 15 years of experience as a K-8 literacy consultant/coach as well as experience as a primary classroom teacher, a Reading Recover teacher, and a high school English teacher to her role as Units of Study staff developer.