Kate Reuther is the founder and director of Uptown Stories with the mission of providing young writers the chance to discover and develop their inner voices. Over the past ten years, Uptown Stories has offered nearly 200 writing workshops, and championed the voices of more than 1,500 kids in Manhattan’s uptown neighborhoods. Before Uptown Stories, Kate taught middle and high school Humanities for over 25 years, in both public and private schools, including the Tompkins Square Middle School, Calhoun, Fieldston, and Bank Street. Her own fiction has appeared in The Madison Review, Brain Child, Salamander, and The Ledge. Kate is a life-long New Yorker and has been living in Washington Heights since 2003 with her husband and two children. (she/her/hers)
Dorkys Ramos is a bilingual writer, editor, artist, and teacher born-and-raised in Washington Heights/Inwood. Her work has appeared in a variety of digital and print publications, including Travel + Leisure, BET.com, Time Out New York Kids, Parents Latina, the Syracuse Post-Standard, and the Manhattan Times, among others. She currently teaches art to grades pre-K through 5th through Scribble Art Workshop in elementary schools in Washington Heights and Inwood and is part of the steering committee for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ metro chapter. She’s a graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications where she studied Magazine, Newspaper, and Online Journalism and is also the founder and illustrator of stationery company Porcupine Hugs. (she/her/hers)
Josh Bayer is visual artist, and our Ava’s Smile Teaching Artist, whose work has appeared in print, video, posters, and exhibitions internationally. His graphic novel Theth was featured in The Best American Comics 2015, and he is the editor and head writer for All Time Comics, a 2017 imprint from Fantagraphics Books. He can be found in New York City in teaching to students at the 92st Y Art Center, Parsons Illustration Department, JobPath and Visiting Nurses Services. (he/him/his)
Bobby DeJesus the Actor/Screenwriter/Director was born to Dominican parents and raised in New York City’s Washington Heights. He is a graduate of The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts and is a practicing artist as well as a teaching artist. His work as a screenwriter can be seen on youtube in the short film comedy “Fifi Patelito Goes to the DMV” and soon on the current film festival circuit with his directorial debut “Indentured Servant” a short film drama. Bringing over 13 years of experience in the teaching artist field, he inspires students to write and perform beyond their imagined abilities whether in poetry or theater. He is incredibly passionate about fostering confidence in all of his students, no matter the level but particularly with children and young adults. (he/him/his)
Shamie Cuthbert is a teacher, writer, and local mom. After teaching creative writing workshops for about a decade, she attended Bank Street College of Education, where she received a Master’s in Early Childhood and General Education. She has been teaching in New York City independent schools for the past five years. Passionate about both teaching and writing, her main focus is to enhance the natural creative abilities of children, while facilitating the development of skills and strategies to execute ideas. As a freelance writer, Shamie has published several social perspective pieces for the independent publication, Circle Magazine. She is currently working on a collection of New York City based short stories for children. (she/her/hers)
Stacy Davidowitz is a proud Washington Heights-based author, playwright, and screenwriter whose work has been produced regionally and internationally. She is the author of the four-book middle grade series Camp Rolling Hills (ABRAMS), the three-chapter book series Hanazuki (ABRAMS / Hasbro), and the upcoming book The Chance to Fly with coauthor Ali Stroker. Stacy’s full-length plays and musicals are published by Broadway Play Publishing, Steele Spring Stage Rights, YouthPLAYS, and Indie Theater Now. Stacy is also an active teaching artist, facilitating creative writing, drama, musical theater, and improvisation workshops to students in NYC public schools, private schools, camps, and foster care programs seven days a week. She is a graduate of British American Drama Academy, Tufts University (Bachelor of Science) and Columbia University (MFA in Acting). Check her out at stacydavidowitz.com. (she/her/hers)
Joshua Johnson wears many hats: he is an award-winning designer, storyteller, and columnist whose work in print media has been recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists, the American Scholastic Press Association, and the Associated Collegiate Press. With a BA in journalism and theater from Harding University in Arkansas, he works as a copy editor for Vocal Media and is pursuing an online MS in print and digital publishing from George Washington University. On a typical New York Saturday, you will find him out on the fire escape, reading a book and probably eating pizza. “Health guru” is not one of his many hats. (he/him/his)
Jane LeCroy is a poet, performance artist and educator who fronts the band The Icebergs and was a part of Sister Spit, the famed west coast women’s poetry troupe. Since 1997 Jane has been publishing student work and teaching writing, literature and performance to all ages through artist-in-the-schools organizations such as Teachers & Writers Collaborative and DreamYard, and as adjunct faculty at the university level. Her poetry book, Names was published by Booklyn as part of the award winning ABC chapbook series, purchased by the Library of Congress along with her braid! Signature Play, her multimedia book from Three Rooms Press, features a poem that was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. (she/her/hers)
Thea Nunez-Trauceniek is a teacher and writer, she has been teaching writing for over a decade. She holds a BA in Literature from the City University of New York and an MS in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College of Education. Thea’s articles and short stories were published by several collegiate newspapers and literary anthologies. She is passionate about working with students and creating spaces where they can take risks and receive support to reach their highest creative potential. Thea is also a native New Yorker and lives in the nautical hamlet of City Island with her husband, daughter and dog. (she/her/hers)
Mx. Mimi Shelton is a black, queer, gender non-binary educator who has lived in Washington Heights for the past three years and is originally from Louisa County, Virginia. For the past four years, they have taught Humanities, specifically Middle School English, at independent schools and non-profit programs in Philadelphia as well as Riverdale Country School and The TEAK Fellowship in New York City. Mimi received their Master’s of Science in Education from the University of Pennsylvania and their BA from the College of William and Mary. Their pedagogy, research, and facilitation emphasizes diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging for underrepresented students and faculty at all levels of education. In addition to teaching, Mimi works part time as an executive assistant for the Bronx-based LGBTQ center, Destination Tomorrow, and they serve on GLSEN’s National Educator Advisory Committee outside of the classroom. Their publications include a blog post for GLSEN entitled 4 Ways You Can Support Black, Queer, Trans & GNC Educators Today (2019) and a written contribution within Charity-Hudley, Dickter, and Franz’s (2017) The Indispensable Guide to Undergraduate Research: Success in and Beyond College. (they/them/their)
Noelle Tannen is a Vocalist, Songwriter, Producer Composer, and Educator based in Upper Manhattan. Noelle holds a degree in Composition from The SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Music where she studied under Pulitzer Prize Winner Du Yun and Joel Those. Noelle has written and produced 3 studio albums in the past decade and has nationally toured as a solo artist and has performed at theaters such as Merkin Concert Hall, Village Underground, The Neptune Theater, The New Orleans Music Box Village, Jazz festival Rochester Jazz Festival and more! Noelle has been teaching music for the past 7 years, at various community outreach programs and schools in both New York City and New Orleans, LA. (she/her/hers)
See what parents, teachers and students have to say about Uptown Stories.
The quality of the teaching at Uptown Stories is phenomenal--it is not an exaggeration to say that my daughter's teacher is one of the most important and influential adults in her life, and I couldn't be happier about that.
My daughter took a summer workshop at Uptown Stories. She presented her story at Word Up Bookshop and it was amazing! They even did a Facebook live broadcast for working parents. A great resource in our community and an even better resource for our kids to have a love of writing.
Uptown Stories has given my daughter a voice. She's become a passionate writer who has the skills and opportunities to tell her stories in many ways. We are so grateful for this wonderful organization and its excellent, caring teachers!
Kate and her team of amazing, talented instructors engage the kids in ways I couldn't have imagined. My ADHD child (who gets "bored" in an instant) begs to go back every term. I feel so fortunate to have discovered Uptown Stories for my child.
My 17-year old son has been lucky enough to have this creative outlet in his life since he was in 4th grade and I can honestly say that Uptown Stories has changed his life. I am a big fan of Uptown Stories and its mission to provide a safe space for young writers from all walks of life.
My daughter is 8 years and is doing her second session with uptown stories. She loves it! She has learnt a lot about expressing herself. Teachers are very lively and encouraging. Since it is pay as you can it makes it affordable.