TIM WHITAKER, executive director, began his career teaching fifth and sixth grade in Philadelphia before becoming a writer and editor. He was the editor of Philadelphia Weekly (1994—2008), and previously the editor of PhillySport and Pittsburgh magazines. Whitaker was a head writer at NBC Radio and has written for The New York Times, Washington Post and Philadelphia Inquirer. He is also the author of “Crash: The Life and Times of Dick Allen.” Email: twhitaker@mightywriters.org



RACHEL LOEPER, education director, has taught ESL, remedial reading and creative writing. In 2011, the Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool Network honored her as an Afterschool Champion. She served as an Afterschool Matters Fellow with the National Institute on Out-of-School-Time from 2010-12 and wrote, “Combat Sports Bloggers, Mad Scientist Poets and Comic Scriptwriters: Engaging Boys in Writing on Their Own Terms,” (Afterschool Matters, Spring 2014). Email: rloeper@mightywriters.org

NAOMI LEVECCHIA, MW’S development director, worked in fundraising for The Westfield Symphony and American Repertory Ballet. Prior to her nonprofit work, Naomi practiced law, working with the public defender’s office and law firms. Originally from Toronto, Ontario, Naomi reads as much as possible (especially anything by or about Winston Churchill) and lives with more than 3,000 books. She has a bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music, a master’s degree in French Horn performance and ethnomusicology from the University of North Texas and a law degree from Rutgers, Camden. Email: nlevecchia@mightywriters.org


KHALIA ROBINSON, program director at MW West, received her degree in communications from Clarion University. Her passion for writing and creative arts first brought her to MW as a volunteer in the fall of 2013, when she first launched the popular “Carpe Diem” writing workshop. Email: krobinson@mightywriters.org


TANESHA FORD, program director at MW South, earned her B.A. in theater at Florida A&M University and her M.S. in Arts Administration at Drexel University. Her life-long passion of affecting change within her communities has led her to Mighty Writers, where teaching children to think and write with clarity is the cornerstone of her philosophy. Email: tford@mightywriters.org



MADELINE KARP, program director at El Futuro, has a bachelor’s in history from American University and a master’s in museum education from Tufts University. In 2013, Madeline moved to Philadelphia to work with underserved and at-risk youth as part of Please Touch Museum’s Community Learning team. Madeline loves children’s literature and hopes you’ll stop by to share your favorite books and stories at El Futuro in the 9th Street Market. Email: mkarp@mightywriters.org


JAMES OWK, program manager at MW South, received his degree in World History from Temple University. Since Fall 2011, Owk has been supervising middle school writers in the afterschool program and leading the weekly Teen Scholars program. Email: jowk@mightywriters.org


SHAMIRA O’NEAL, program director at MW North, earned her bachelor of arts degree in women’s studies and bachelor of arts in political science from Florida International University. After graduation, she joined Teach For America and moved to Philadelphia where she taught high school and middle school. Shamira earned her masters of education degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 2014. Email: soneal@mightywriters.org


CHRISTINA RISSELL, program manager at MW West and MW’s mentorship coordinator, is a 2008 Ohio Wesleyan University graduate. Hired as MW’s very first intern in 2009, Christina served as a tutor and workshop assistant. She subsequently spent four years implementing federal government funded mentorship programs in the public schools. Christina works to foster mentorships so meaningful that students will want to become mentors themselves in the future. Email: crissell@mightywriters.org

MARIO MEZA, Program Manager at Mighty Writers El Futuro, earned his M.S. in education from SUNY, Buffalo State College. In 2017, Mario moved to Philadelphia to volunteer as an Artist Teacher for the cultural program Taller Puertorriqueño helping students to understanding the real value of their Latin heritage. Mario’s passions are music and teaching. He is looking forward to sharing a wonderful creative writing experience with you.

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