Teaching is my vocation. I started teaching fresh out of college. I taught high school English, Social Studies, and Computer Technology for eight years in California. At the pinnacle of my teaching career, I was the district Technology Coordinator, a Mentor Teacher, ran a successful Writing Across the Curriculum program, and implemented an International Baccalaureate program at a brand-new high school. In 2000, I decided I wanted to try something new! I worked as a full-time assessment specialist for CTB/McGraw-Hill and Riverside Publishing. I started out as a writer and editor, and eventually led teams on several large-scale state assessment projects for states including Georgia, Louisiana, and New York, and on large item banks for both CTB and Riverside. As a freelancer, I’ve overseen the development of over 10,000 items for various clients’ Common Core assessment products.
I am a self-confessed “process junkie” and excel at creating clear specifications, documenting workflows and procedures, and keeping my colleagues motivated. I am really proud of the work environment we have created at Sikana.
I am passionate about communication, in all its forms. My initial professional career in academia focused on language acquisition and language education. I taught for the Monterey Institute of International Studies in environments that varied from multilingual, international settings to domestic graduate programs. I directed professional communication training in domestic and international settings for a variety of industries. For the past 16 years, I’ve dedicated my efforts to meeting a challenge persistent in the educational publishing industry: creation of content that is appropriate, engaging, and accurately presented to students and teachers. To that end, I led the development of the 9/10 edition of CTB McGraw-Hill’s Tests of Adult Basic Education (TABE), created processes for content development, and implemented business development standards and protocols for CTB and Riverside Publishing. As an independent author and editor, and co-founder of Sikana, I’ve been involved in a wide range of content creation efforts. Such efforts, driven with dedication and consistency by the entire Sikana team, have established us as a premier content provider for the past 10 years.
Throughout my career, I have loved the public side of being a teacher—connecting with students, engaging with them through interesting content, and watching their minds grow and change over time. I have learned, however, that I am most fulfilled by the private side of this profession, and by the behind-the-scenes work of researching best practices, aligning assessments and tasks with standards, crafting rigorous lessons, and sharing ideas with other teachers. This is where I find my true creative flow. I guess it’s the introvert in me!
Following this passion, I left a position teaching French and Study Skills at the middle-school level to pursue a new path in educational publishing. Currently, I am lucky to enjoy the best of both worlds, working part-time as an intervention specialist in a public elementary school and devoting the rest of my work hours to writing projects. I am thrilled to join the team at Sikana!
When I am not creating lessons or developing curriculum materials, I love exploring the restaurants, shops, concerts, and neighborhoods in my city, Chicago, with my partner and daughter.
Teaching has been my main focus in life, though I strayed a few times to try something completely different – human resources, The Art Institute of Chicago, service organization – but, each time, I returned to teach and had a broader perspective. In addition to my work in educational publishing, docenting at the Chicago History Museum (come and visit) and our local conservatory keeps me focused on what makes a good learning experience. It’s always changing. Outside of education, singing in local choruses is a joy and not just to exercise my vocal chords. Group singing, small and large, is a form of teamwork – everyone’s got to do their part and not too loudly!
Working with Hilary and Val and all the writers and editors has also been a joy. Teamwork, again, comes to mind and in the best possible way.
Shortly after graduating from Oregon State University with a degree in Liberal Arts and a minor in Writing, I cracked the books again and began homeschooling my four-year old son. Five years and two more children later, I’m still thoroughly enjoying this ride.
As a homeschool teacher I’ve poured over more than my share of curriculum and have developed a great appreciation for the high quality materials the Sikana team never fails to deliver. I’m far beyond grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given to work for Sikana as it combines my love of literature, creative thinking, and smart, funny people.
As a lifetime Oregonian, I find joy in running (rain or shine), riding bikes with my family, swimming in the creek, camping in the woods and snowboarding on nearby Mount Hood.
I was an elementary classroom teacher for 34 years in Salinas, California (Steinbeck country). A large number of my students were English Language Learners, and my greatest teaching joy came through using literature and visual and performing arts, especially music, to increase their language learning.
A few years before I retired from teaching, I began working in Assessment, including Fine Arts and Reading/Language Arts.
My husband and I moved to North Carolina and I am active in the local community. I recently realized a childhood dream: I’m now singing tenor in a Men’s Vocal Group.
I’m also active in Rotary. I’m past-president of Rotary eClub One, the world’s first Internet-based Rotary club.
I love working from home, and I am constantly amazed by the talented Sikana writers.
I was always the kid who loved school, so after completing my science degree in 2002, teaching seemed like the natural choice. I graduated in 2004 with my bachelor of education (secondary science and ELA). I spent some time as a substitute, all the while feeling that what I’d really like to be doing is developing the materials used in classrooms. With a little luck, I soon scored my first gig: writing sample TOEFL and TOEIC tests for ESL students. Another company hired me soon after, and I began to think that maybe I could actually make a living as a writer.
I officially began my full-time freelancing career in February of 2007, and I haven’t looked back since. With a background in both ELA and science, as well as course work in math, the list of projects I’ve worked on is long and diverse. I have written complex science passages to target the NGSS standards, developed SE and TE pages to teach vocabulary, and created math items. In recent years, much of my work has been focused on developing assessment materials to target the Common Core standards for ELA. I’ve worked with many different companies, but I’m most proud of the long-term relationships I’ve built with a small number of highly valued clients, including Sikana.
I started writing language arts educational materials as a freelancer in 2003, and for a girl whose greatest delight in middle school was diagramming sentences, the work was a pretty good fit. Since then, I’ve developed countless passages and items for K-12 as well as SAT and GRE prep materials. I’ve also taught writing and literature at the middle school, high school, and college levels.
I’m a fiction writer at work on a novel about land rights, oil, and erosion in my home state of Louisiana. I hold an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and I was a Truman Capote Fellow in the Wallace Stegner Fellowship Program at Stanford University, where I have also been a lecturer since 2009. My work has appeared in Glimmer Train, Ecotone, Tin House, New Stories from the South, and other journals and anthologies, and has been supported most recently by fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.
I live in Portland, Maine, with my husband Jonah, my three-year-old daughter Adelaide, and my sweet and cranky duck-tolling retriever mix Zelda.
I started out as a teacher in the Boston Public Schools. After an adventurous two years, I became a reading specialist and worked as a supervisor/teacher at a small private school, The Reading Institute. A move to New York City led to a 25+ year career in education publishing. I’ve been lucky to work on a variety of projects from video scripts to read-alone books and chapter books to PEs, TEs, and workbooks to assessments, assessments, assessments…. I also published two nonfiction books and recently several indies, including a novel, The Secret of Jeanne Baret, about the first woman ever to sail around the world. It took many years of research.
In my free time, I love hiking and hanging out with my husband and our critters (two cats and a bossy chihuahua). Sometimes I do author visits at schools and libraries. And I’m writing another novel.
I started off as a writer, and have always continued to write in some form, whether it be stories from my life or assessment passages. I began as a newspaper reporter before moving into educational publishing as a writer and editor. Projects I’ve helped lead include numerous K-12 English/language arts and mathematics textbooks, workbooks, and test banks. Educational publishers I’ve worked with include Pearson, McGraw-Hill, Loyola Press, and others, and I also developed nonfiction trade books with Heinemann-Raintree/Capstone and Agate Publishing. For some strange reason, I enjoy managing workflows, communicating with writers to ensure quality and consistency, editing manuscript, and meeting tight deadlines.
I’m glad to have found Sikana—Hilary and Val have fostered a community of writers and editors who combine positivity and quality in a way that keeps the best in the business coming back.
I have been working as a full-time freelance writer since 1999. During that time, I have worked as a travel writer and photographer, blogger, educational writer, magazine and book author, puzzle and game creator, and ghost writer for an internationally-distributed dentistry magazine. I love to learn new things, write, and teach—and because of that combination of “loves,” my chosen profession has been a perfect fit for me for the past 17+ years. Here’s to another 17+ more!
On a personal level, I collect vintage typewriters, am a semi-pro jam, marmalade, and preserves chef, love old movies and television shows, am an avid runner and yogi, and try to globe-trot as often as time and money permits.
Working with Sikana has been one of my greatest career joys. Hilary and Val have created an amazing company with a topnotch team of writers and editors. Every project I have worked on with Sikana has been an absolute delight.
I have been working as a freelance writer since 2003, writing for both educational and traditional publishing companies. My love of reading started at a young age and one of my main goals is to pass that along to children by writing engaging fiction and nonfiction. I have been writing passages and items for K-12 with companies like Pearson, NWEA, and ETS.
I have also authored over 20 published books for companies including Carson Dellosa, Scholastic, Random House, and Disney Press. A few recent books include: Zootopia: The Official Handbook, Inside My Mind: A Book About Me, and
Judy Hopps and the Missing Jumbo Pop.
I have been passionate about reading and writing for as long as I can remember and I am grateful that my career as a freelance writer allows me to earn a living while pursuing those passions. I have been writing instructional and assessment materials for Grades K-12 and beyond for over 15 years. I also write marketing materials, website content, and grant proposals. Prior to this writing life, I was an attorney who litigated for the City of New York. Although I loved every exciting minute, I much prefer my quiet days of writing in my home office in Austin, Texas
When I am not working for my wonderful and diverse clients, I write fiction and memoir. My creative work has appeared in several publications including, Lilith Magazine and ducts.org. I also had the honor of reading my memoir piece “If You Close Your Eyes” for the first annual “Listen to Your Mother, Austin” in 2011. For much needed breaks from the written word, I practice yoga, take long walks, dance, shop at the local farmer’s market, cook healthy meals, draw, and explore the world.
I have been a freelance writer for over twenty years and a poet for most of my life. I’ve published six collections of poetry: Queen Anne in Winter (1990), Women of Steam (1995), Murmurs (2000), Smoke (2005), Closet (2010), and Multiple Choices (2015). My book, There is a Crooked River, offers poems about the Maine woods for young readers. In 2003, I wrote and performed The Haiku Project, a playful celebration of 100 original haiku. In 2004, I was honored to author Elie Wiesel: Surviving the Holocaust, Speaking Out Against Genocide, a biography for high school students. I earned a degree in English and Theater from the University of Notre Dame and a Masters in Linguistics and Writing from Northeastern University which empowered me to teach in three New England high schools. Today, I offer workshops, write educational materials for a variety of clients, teach college writing, guide a monthly poet’s group, and lead the Board of Directors of a natural foods co-op. I share life with an inspiring local arts community, two sons, two dogs, two cats, and a scientist.
I am a freelance writer of language arts educational materials and a fiction writer (mostly as Liza Kleinman). My short fiction has appeared in several magazines and in the anthology “Writes of Passage: Coming-of-Age Stories and Memoirs from the Hudson Review.” I am the author of a middle grade novel, “Azalea, Unschooled” (Islandport Press 2015). I live in Portland, Maine.
Brittany and Glenn Beyer are a powerful creative team, combining artistic sensibility and precision graphic design. If you are looking for a design that is fresh, engaging, and memorable, then look no further.
An award-winning poet, I received a B. A. in Creative Writing and Literature from Kirkland College in Clinton, New York, and an M. F. A. from the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. My books include The Measure; Cradle of the American Circus: Poems from Somers, New York; Commonplace Invasions; and Rendering. I am also the editor of Lost Orchard: Prose and Poetry from the Kirkland College Community. For more than thirty years, I have worked as an educational writer and editor for textbook publishers and am the credited author of more than forty books for kindergarten through twelfth-grade students. I have been fortunate to contribute to a number of pioneering projects, including the first middle-level literature program. I live and work in New York’s Hudson River Valley in what was once the Pear Tree Hill School, which was built in 1830.
A long and windy road led me to Sikana. My past professional experience includes supporting development projects in the Middle East; implementing a teen pregnancy prevention program; managing budgets for a large municipal library system; and working as a portrait photographer. The common thread throughout these experiences is a passionate love affair with the written word. Like a magnet, in each job I gravitated towards writing and editing. Articles I wrote have appeared in the Arab Studies Journal, Professional Photographer magazine, and several blogs. I studied and achieved near-native fluency (note: past tense) in French and Arabic, and dabbled in three other languages. My educational includes a B.A. from American University in International Studies and Economics, and a M.A. from Georgetown University in Arab Studies.
Working at Sikana is immensely gratifying. I love delving into fascinating subjects, and finding creative ways to bring them to children and young adults in accessible formats. The environment at Sikana is creative, supportive, wicked smart and witty – this is the most fun I’ve had at a job in years!
Writing and teaching have been in my blood for as long as I can remember. As a sixth-grader, I simultaneously started my elementary school’s first student newspaper, the P.S. 11 Courier (Look it up; I’m sure the Library of Congress has a copy!) and had my first paid job as a tutor of English to two Japanese children, ages 8 and 5. I cut my teeth in professional publishing by working first at Newsweek, and then at People, Life, Condé Nast Traveler and Sesame Street magazines and The Charlotte Observer. After I got a master’s in English Lit at Rutgers University, I became a staff writer and editor at a small educational development company in New York City. From then on, I was hooked on creating engaging and effective school materials that would inspire children to love learning as much as I’ve always done.
I’ve been a freelancer for more than 35 years, working with all of the major educational publishers and many developers (of which Sikana has been by far the best). I also have a graduate certificate in gerontology and am a community educator and national blogger on older adult issues. Children and elders…learning never ends. My calling is to serve these populations as best I can with passion and skill.