Randi WhitneyFounder, CEO, and Motivational SpeakerRandi Whitney has taught Kindergarten, fourth, and fifth grades. Her educational background is in Elementary Education and Brain Research. She is the owner of The Writing Academy, an educational consulting firm. The Writing Academy, now trademarked and copyrighted, has developed writing terminology that has become commonplace in classrooms across the country. Mrs. Whitney has written 10 children’s books and 23 teachers’ ancillary books on the child writer. Mrs. Whitney was published in the professional education journal “Instructional Leader” in May 2006 and in July 2006. Since 1998, she has traveled across the country giving seminars that spread her vision, “Every child can express a VOICE!” Mrs. Whitney and her consultants provide professional development training to over 10,000 teachers and students each year. Mrs. Whitney has presented at TEPSA every year since 1998. In addition, she has had the honor of being asked by TEPSA to host live Webinar sessions on February 15, 2012, December 5, 2012 principals across the state attended a “Lunch and Learn” Webinar session, and on February 12, 2013; and February 21, 2013, her audience was up to 1,000 educators in each webinar session. Mrs. Whitney’s verbiage is now fast becoming household-friendly as well with the addition of the fifty-nine lesson, parent module that has become available. Randi Whitney even opened an Early Childhood Preparatory School, Strawberry Fields, in 2009, which implements her own strategies! The school is currently full at 100 students and has a waiting list for Fall 2013.In addition to hosting hotel conferences across the country, Randi Whitney has spoken across the state of Texas, as well as nationally, at the following conventions and conferences: TEPSA (Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association) Region 4 TEPSA HISD – 4th Grade Writing Summit AEA Conference (Arizona Education Association Conference) KASSP (Kentucky Association Secondary School Principals) MAESP (Missouri Association Education School Principals) ASCD (Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development) ADE (Arkansas Department of Education) FASA (Florida Association of School Administrators) NAPHS (National Association of Private & Home Schools) NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) NYSEC (New York State Education Conference) PSEA (Pennsylvania State Education Association) TPA (Tennessee Principal’s Association)In addition to Curriculum Guides for every grade level, Randi Whitney has written the following ancillary books for educators:STAAR Narrative Prompt BookSTAAR Expository Prompt BookPrompt BookletElaboration StationEveryday WritingLexicon MysteriesSpelling SpiralsGame BookPaper Plate Writing PowerSentence WeatherCurtain C.A.L.L. (Child Authors Loving Literature)Research BriefsStudent Editor EditionHow to Write a NovelJasper’s JambalayaResearch PaperJasper B. SharpPattern PunctuationGrammar Bricks63 Golden MinutesRandi Whitney has been the keynote and motivational speaker at numerous conventions and seminars where she has gained critical acclaim from teachers and administrators alike. Having been a classroom teacher, Mrs. Whitney takes great pride in encouraging teachers to find the joy in children while juggling a hectic schedule. She enjoys speaking to new teachers as well as veteran teachers! Her special gift of communication is evident as the audience laughs out loud numerous times and is even brought to sentimental tears. Mrs. Whitney’s message will take you back to your own childhood and remind you of what a difference a teacher can make!A more personal look at the development of The Writing Academy: While a fifth grade teacher, Ms. Whitney realized that her students were not confident writers and – perhaps worst of all – they simply did not like to write. Determined to change this situation, she designed graphic organizers, rubrics and various techniques that were brain compatible, thus contributing to long term retention and smooth retrieval. In addition, she worked with her students to develop an effective peer editing avenue. Ms. Whitney then created the “rainbow revision” technique, as well as a grammar component. She trained her students to keep their writing focused through what they began to call “telescoping” and “magnifying.” Finally, she added a starring process that brought authentic and dynamic idea development to her students’ writing.Her students began to work on their papers at lunch, wanted to read their “masterpieces” to their prior teachers, and became proficient at allowing their own voice to come through to their readers. Teachers asked Ms. Whitney to teach what she and her students were now calling “The Writing Academy” (TWA) to them and their students. Soon TWA was being used school wide. Their state test writing scores soared, and by the following year 100% of the students passed the writing section of the state test!! Two local newspapers ran their story and other local schools began to ask Ms. Whitney to inservice their teachers. And so, the consulting firm was born from a classroom teacher developing a process so that her students could be successful writers!!You can also read more about Randi Whitney by clicking Read about what the Consultants say about themselves:Cheryl FowlerTWA Executive Director and Senior ConsultantCheryl Fowler graduated from The University of Houston and has taught at the Elementary, Secondary, and College level. Cheryl also has her masters and mid-management degrees, and as well as teaching she has been "in the trenches" as an Assistant Principal and Principal at both the Elementary and Secondary level. Her teaching experience spans the TEAMS, TAAS, TAKS and STAAR years! She has presented for The Writing Academy since 2002. She now serves as The Executive Director of The Writing Academy and as a dynamic, energetic Consultant. She also is on Randi’s team of developers of STAAR inservices and STAAR Student CAMPs. Cheryl loves sharing TWA. With deep commitment she shares the strategies to teachers around the country. Her favorite part of the seminars is that Randi Whitney has her consultants present to teachers like we hope the teachers present to students: not by just lecturing, but by hearing, seeing, and doing each activity. The interactive workshop and the effectiveness in the classroom makes Cheryl Fowler so proud to be a part of The Writing Academy team!! She specializes in teacher inservices at the PK-2, 3-5, & 6-8 levels, as well as the Fourth & Seventh Grade Writing CAMPs. For the past few years, Cheryl has served as a writing teacher to local schools.Sharon WhitneySenior ConsultantSharon Whitney attended the University of Florida and graduated from the University of Houston with a Masters in Education. She has taught for 36 years. Thirty of those years were in the elementary classroom. Six years she has been an elementary librarian. In her teaching career she mentored new teachers, presented numerous workshops and inservices in math and Language Arts. After becoming a librarian, she continued to model writing lessons in the classroom for teachers and students using The Writing Academy. Also, part of each day she tutored students in writing using proven techniques developed through The Writing Academy. In addition, Ms. Whitney successfully used the same Writing Academy principles with her adult ESL students two nights each week.Since joining the staff of The Writing Academy fifteen years ago, Ms. Whitney has inserviced numerous teachers across the state. Ms. Whitney’s forte is grades pre-kinder through fifth. She is a very energetic presenter, who gets the participants involved. She will take teachers through The Writing Academy graphic organizers, learning-styles activities, and interactive rubrics. She will demonstrate how color can add meaning and enable the brain to recall the steps of effective writing. Sharon loves sharing the new information about the STAAR tests.
Carole HelmleSenior ConsultantCarole Helmle holds a master’s degree from the University of Houston and has served in many leadership positions in her school and in professional organizations. Ms. Helmle brings experience from both the fields of education and medicine to The Writing Academy. This background has been of exceptional value to The Writing Academy and to Ms. Helmle’s participants in her seminars; and aides in her expertise in The Writing Academy grades Pre-Kinder through high school.Her background is an asset in the Academy’s emphasis on brain research and the development of brain compatible activities and strategies. Her years in the classroom have perfected her ability to motivate her students, and participants in her seminars. She keeps them engaged through the use of innovative, fun-filled activities. Ms. Helmle quickly develops a rapport with the participants. She uses humor as she takes participants through The WritingAcademy’s complete process. A very engaging presenter, Ms. Helmle is as thorough in content as she is entertaining.Becky HendersonSenior ConsultantBecky Henderson graduated from Lamar State University, having majored in Elementary Education with a minor in English. She received her master’s degree, with certification as a reading specialist, from the University of Houston at Clear Lake. Her thirty-eight years of teaching experience have included teaching every grade level, grades 1 – 8. Before retiring, Ms. Henderson was the Instructional Specialist at Havard Elementary in Galena Park ISD. In this capacity she became the TAKS expert who worked closely with students and teachers to prepare them for the TAKS test. She presented TAKS Holistic Writing training for her district. In addition, Ms. Henderson was also a presenter for four state and nationally known math workshops, as well as a reading workshop. Ms. Henderson spends the majority of her consulting time presenting The Writing Academy, because she has seen how helpful it has been for teachers across Texas and how effective it has been for students.Ms. Henderson is a humorous and highly-requested presenter. She will model telescoping and magnifying to aid children in maintaining the papers’ focus. She will use manipulatives to make a very sequential writing process come alive for students. Ms. Henderson’s expertise in The Writing Academy is grades Pre-Kinder through six, and loves sharing the new STAAR information and strategies.Elaine SparksSenior ConsultantAs senior consultant for The Writing Academy, Elaine Sparks works with schools across the state and across the nation to improve student writing skills. Ms. Sparks graduated from Texas Christian University, and earned her masters at Southwest Texas State University. With 43 years of classroom experience, she has taught both English and history and has also served as a department chair in a high school. In addition to directing numerous inservices and working with curriculum development, Ms. Sparks has been highly involved in test development and has been instrumental in creating effective writing strategies.A dynamic, thorough, and sweet presenter, Ms. Sparks will take you through The Writing Academy’s teacher-developed curriculum. She will help you to empower your students by allowing their voices to come through in their writing and will increase your knowledge of how they can use authentic idea development to enhance their writing skills. Ms. Sparks will also show you what the new TEA rubrics look like and will help you utilize the analytical and grammar rubrics of The Writing Academy to improve your students’ writing skills. Ms. Sparks specializes in inservicing grades PK through high school. Gina KearleyGina Kearley graduated from Southwest Texas State University having majored in Elementary Education with a minor in Sociology. Ms. Kearley has taught over twenty years in third and fourth grades. In her teaching career she has facilitated numerous faculty meetings, presented inservices, and mentored new teachers. She has served as grade level team leader. In addition to teaching, she has worked on developing curriculum. Ms. Kearley has used The Writing Academy in her classroom for over ten years. She has seen the techniques work on all ability levels in her classroom. Ms. Kearley is a fun and energetic presenter. She will enable you to create young writers in your own classrooms. You will be as excited as she was in her classroom when you hear your students’ voices come through using The Writing Academy techniques. Ms. Kearley presents teacher inservices and the Student Writing CAMPs.Kelley KratkyKelley Kratky graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor degree in Pharmacy. She has taught reading and writing in the classroom setting and currently works for Strawberry Fields of Learning as the Director. She enjoys working with children and raised two of her own. She loves using The Writing Academy curriculum and sharing it with teachers inservices and students in Writing CAMPs. She was born and raised in the great state of Texas. Kelley is an entrepreneur and she successfully owns her own business with her husband of 24 years. Mrs. Kratky enjoys working with teachers and students using The Writing Academy curriculum because she enjoys seeing them become excited about writing.Melinda LamanMelinda Laman graduated with a Bachelor degree in Education with an early childhood certificate from Abilene Christian University. She has taught kindergarten, second, and third grades for 28 years. She has used The Writing Academy strategies in her classroom for the past 9 years. She specializes in the PK-2 presentations. Melinda is a dynamic presenter who is well respected by the participants, as she brings many examples from her own kindergarten classroom to her presentations.Dena MayDena May graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor degree in Secondary Education with an emphasis in Biology and Geography and a minor in Sociology. She has had the opportunity to teach children for the last 13 years within a classroom setting, as well as taking time off to raise her four children. She has created and developed an Art History curriculum for early childhood teachers to use in their classrooms and currently teaches Private Kindergarten at Strawberry Fields Prep School. Dena is a creative, outside the box thinker, and enjoys in servicing teachers in The Writing Academy curriculum and brain-based research because it works! The Writing Academy's innovative activities ensure student success. Ms. May enjoys teaching our Writing Camps to 3rd, 4th, and 7th grade students inspiring students through proven strategies for compositional writing.Amy PryorAmy Pryor graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington, having majored in History and Elementary Education. She received her masters degree in Education Administration, along with her Principal's certificate. Her elementary teaching experience includes work in first, second, fourth and sixth grade classrooms. And, she has served as an elementary school assistant principal. Along with her teaching and administration experience, Ms. Pryor has also presented at the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA) state conference.Ms. Pryor was anxious to join the staff at The Writing Academy because of her own background in brain research. Amy has been with The Writing Academy for eleven years. She enjoys inservicing teachers in this program because it works! The Writing Academy's brain compatible activities ensure student success. Ms. Pryor will share with participants proven strategies for teaching compositional writing. Ms. Pryor also enjoys leading the Student Writing CAMPS that have become so popular.