2024 Teacher & Librarian Scholarships

We are thrilled to announce this year’s scholarship recipients!


Teachers and librarians are more important now than ever before. At a time when trust in traditional institutions is on the decline and disinformation is on the rise, the skills of reading and assessing information are increasingly vital not only to individual growth, but to society at large.

Here at Key West Literary Seminar, we have long sought to recognize and reward these important, often overlooked, individuals, through our Teacher and Librarian Scholarships. This year’s cohort has made enormous positive impacts on readers in their communities, and we are honored to provide them with full scholarships to attend our 41st annual Seminar.

We hope that participation in our vibrant literary community will inspire fresh engagement with literature in schools and libraries around the country.

Thank you to all who applied, and congratulations to this year’s outstanding teacher librarian scholarship recipients!


Lisa Allen is committed to sharing the work of others, whether by helping amplify writers’ voices via Johnson County Library in Overland Park, Kansas, where she works as the system’s social media coordinator, or through The Notebooks Collective, an online art space she co-founded and co-directs with poet Rebecca Connors. Lisa is also a poet and nonfiction essayist, and her work can be found in Bacopa Literary Review, Lily Poetry Review, Bear Review, MER, and others.


David Brusie is an English teacher at Acton-Boxborough Regional High School in Acton, Massachusetts. He aims to bring his love of literature, music, and writing to his classroom on a daily basis. His favorite part of teaching is imparting to students the power that literature has to engage, empower, and challenge. He is inspired by his students’ seemingly endless capacity for empathy and curiosity.


Celeste Chan creates, collaborates, and curates to amplify voices within marginalized communities. She founded QTPOC Free School, a monthly writing workshop for LGBTQ people of color and launched writing workshops for LGBTQ youth at the Queer Ancestors Project. She served as the queer/trans teaching fellow at Catapult and is an incoming artist-in-residence at San Francisco Public Library. She’s currently writing a memoir.


Michael Cooper teaches writing at Central Oregon Community College and Oregon State University-Cascades and teaches creative writing workshops throughout Central Oregon, including at Deer Ridge Correctional Institute. He is president of the Central Oregon Writers Guild and co-founded Blank Pages Workshops and the Forge’s 10-month online creative writing program. He holds an MFA degree from Oregon State University-Cascades in Bend, Oregon.


Tyler Flynn Dorholt is an assistant professor and director of the writing program at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry, a SUNY campus in Syracuse, New York. His pedagogical, programmatic, and community-based work collectively serves to empower wide varieties of storytelling while engaging with the nuances and boundaries of what we consider to be place and environment. Much of this work informs his own aesthetic practices as well, which include writing and image making.


Christine Drewel, Ph.D., is the English language arts teacher at College of Florida Keys Academy, a new charter high school in Key West. She has taught for more than twenty-three years, from the university level to middle school, online and in person, in Michigan, Hawaii, and Florida. She loves creating and connecting with students and rekindling their love of reading, writing, and thinking.


Cristina Favretto has been lucky enough to have worked in her dream job for more than forty years, as librarian at the University of Miami. Her mission is to provide interesting, useful, and free information to as wide and diverse a population as possible. She is still filled with wonder about the world and its inhabitants, and she especially loves exploring life through literature, essays, poetry, and art.


Luke Fredland is an adult education instructor at Literacy Pittsburgh, where he teaches reading, writing, social studies, science, and math to adults seeking high school equivalency diplomas. He relishes the opportunity to share his love of reading and writing with students who are often bringing a history of educational frustration and personal obstacles to the classroom. Previously, he served two years in AmeriCorps and taught classes for inmates at Allegheny County Jail.


Carly Lynn Gates is a journalism teacher at a public magnet high school of the arts in South Florida. She holds an MFA degree in creative writing from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. She strives to teach her students that everyone has a story and deserves to be visible and heard. She believes all writers must be curious and be a voice for the voiceless.


Colleen Herman teaches gifted English at Oak Hammock Middle School in Fort Myers, Florida. She aims to combine writing, reading, and technology skills in her classroom through student-focused projects. Throughout her teaching career, she has expanded professionally by achieving Google educator level 1 and level 2 certifications and is a Google Applied Digital Skills ambassador.


Jade Jemison is a graduate instructor at the University of South Florida. She teaches various courses in the English department while studying nonfiction writing, comparative literature, and curriculum. Her recent literature course includes a diverse collection of works by authors such as Toni Morrison, Jamaica Kincaid, Alice Walker, and Amanda Gorman.


Rachel Knox is an instructor of first year composition and creative writing at the University of South Florida. A lifelong Floridian, her complicated love for the Sunshine State influences her teaching, where she encourages and empowers her students to add their own stories to the existing canon of Floridian voices, as well as her own work, where it is the central subject of her essays and criticisms.


Catherine Manfra is a Miami native, born and raised in Hialeah, Florida. She is in her twenty-first year as a high school English teacher for Miami-Dade Public Schools. She has self-published two books, as well as a book of her students’ creative writing.


Michele Nereim is an educator in The Villages, Florida, where she teaches children of the local workforce. She has great faith in the power of literary arts and strives to channel that power into deepening her students’ connections to self, their real lives, and humanity. She has a doctorate degree in creative writing and literature from the University of Houston, where she won the Inprint Joan and Stanford Alexander Prize in Fiction and worked as managing editor for the literary journal Gulf Coast.


Maegen Rose is the director of libraries and upper school librarian at Brooklyn Friends School. She believes school libraries are essential to literacy development and to children becoming lifelong readers. Teaching information literacy and empowering students to find themselves and the stories of their hearts in literature are at the core of her work. She is an active member of national and regional library associations.


Melissa Annette Santiago teaches dual enrollment at a charter school in Pembroke Pines, Florida, where she chairs the English Department and serves as the high school instructional coach for literacy and writing. She is a mother, author, and current doctoral candidate in the Comparative Studies Program at Florida Atlantic University. Puerto Rican by descent, her graduate work has centered on the space-making capacity of racial conflict as experienced by minority adolescents within academia.


Kyla Shoemaker is a tenth grade English teacher at Key West High School. For the past eighteen years, she has taught a diverse population of students in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Florida, covering all grade levels from kindergarten through high school and GED. She works closely with the Freedom Writers Foundation and Erin Gruwell to bring the mindset that there is always hope and that everyone has a story to tell to her classroom, school, and community.


Megan Spring has taught literature for more than ten years to students from sixth grade to undergraduate level, and she is currently a doctoral student and instructor at Florida Atlantic University. Throughout her life, she has found safety in stories and respite in books, and she deeply desires to share that experience with her students.


Julia Tulba is a librarian at Butler County Community College, just north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A true citizen of the world – she’s been to nearly 40 countries – she uses her love of travel and other cultures to help bring the world to her patrons through library programming and collection development. She is the author of three historical novels, two of which were inspired by her travels to Germany and Vietnam.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>