About us


Kate Reuther

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 kids. (she/her/hers)

Dorkys Ramos

Dorkys Ramos is the deputy director for Uptown Stories. She 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 writing and art to elementary, middle school, and high school students 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)


Melanie Thibeault is the director of marketing and operations for Uptown Stories. She likes rules, guidelines and procedures, especially when they’re applied all at the same time. She also likes skateboarding and surfing, though she can do neither. Melanie lives with her wife in Washington Heights, but would consider moving to the Bronx to be a zookeeper. (she/her/hers)

Josh Bayer

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 CenterParsons Illustration DepartmentJobPath and Visiting Nurses Services. (he/him/his) 

Cozbi Cabrera

Cozbi A. Cabrera paints, illustrates children’s books, quilts, and designs clothing. Trained as an art director, this Parsons School of Design grad left her dream job creating music packaging in NY to make handmade collectible cloth dolls (Muñecas) in honor of her Honduran heritage. Her dolls have been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Martha Stewart Living, and many US networks. She was artist in residence at Lincoln Center/Manny Cantor Center, conducting a collaborative quiltmaking project with culturally and generationally diverse residents of the Lower East Side, NY (2017-18). Cozbi’s illustrated titles include: Beauty Her Basket; Thanks A Million; Stitchin’ and Pullin’ A Gees Bend Quilt; Most Loved in All the World and Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks. She authored and illustrated My Hair Is A Garden and Me and Mama. More at Cozbi.com (she/her/hers)

Shamie Cuthbert

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 Headshot

Stacy Davidowitz is a proud Washington Heights-based author and playwright, 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 middle grade novel, 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, and YouthPLAYS. Stacy is also an active teaching artist, who facilitates creative writing and theater workshops to students in NYC public schools, private schools, camps, and foster care programs. 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)

Zetta Elliott

Zetta Elliott is the author of over thirty books for young readers, including the award-winning picture books Bird and Melena’s Jubilee. Her urban fantasy novel, Ship of Souls, was named a Booklist Top Ten Sci-fi/Fantasy Title for Youth. Dragons in a Bag, a middle grade fantasy novel, was named an American Library Association Notable Children’s Book and has been nominated for Young Reader’s Choice Awards in seven states. The sequel, The Dragon Thief, was named one of the best books of 2019 by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center. Her poetry has been published in several anthologies, including Show Us Your PapersWe Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices and New Daughters of Africa; her young adult poetry collection, Say Her Name, was named a 2020 “Best of the Best” title by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. Her latest picture book, A Place Inside of Me, was named an ALA Notable Book and a Notable Poetry Book by the National Council of Teachers of English. Elliott is an advocate for greater diversity and equity in children’s literature; her essays have appeared in The Huffington PostSchool Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly. She currently lives in Evanston, IL. (she/her/hers)

Jane LeCroy

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)

B Sharise Moore

B. Sharise Moore is a New Jersey native and graduate of Rutgers University. Moore’s poems and short stories have appeared in several anthologies and journals including For Harriet, Chosen Realities: Summer 2020 and Fiyah Literary Magazine. At present, she is an educator, the host of Moore Books with B. Sharise on YouTube, and the poetry editor at Fiyah Literary Magazine. Her YA magical realism novel, “Dr. Marvellus Djinn’s Odd Scholars” is set for an early 2021 release. For more about B. Sharise Moore, visit bsharisemoore.com (she/her/hers)

Mimi Shelton

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)


See what parents, teachers and students have to say about Uptown Stories.