What our Summer Fellows are Saying
"I was fortunate to attend the LMWP Summer Institute early in my teaching career, in 2007. The various colleagues I met that summer became those with which I began my work as a teacher researcher, a presenter, a summer writing camp instructor, and most importantly, a teacher who continuously learns alongside motivated educators. My current role in educational leadership wouldn't have been possible without my experiences with LMWP."
Jill Annable (2007), Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, and Technology Integration of Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Grand Rapids
"The ISI was not a pivotal moment in my journey from teacher to teacher-writer -- it was the pivotal moment. Prior to ISI, I had never led any form of teacher professional development, and I had little direction in my writing life. Now, I have led over 90 PD experiences for teachers in 21 states, and I write a blog that is read by 35,000 educators per month. I am so grateful that I was accepted to the ISI that summer because I got to spend four weeks with such great, earnest educators and thinkers. It made me a better, wiser teacher in every sense."
Dave Stuart Jr. (2011), Cedar Springs High School, Author of A Non-Freaked Out Guide to Teaching the Common Core
"I had an opportunity to attend the Lake Michigan Writing Project Summer Institute in July of 2008 and 2009. This amazing experience was one of those defining moments in my life which caused growing pains, but in a positive way that demanded change in my status quo teaching style The LMWP SI gave me an opportunity to learn, and grow, and think, and write with like-minded educators. It was hard work, but the result was a network of colleagues and friends who shared in the growth process during each step. As a result of my time in the SI, I discovered a passion for teaching writing; I became determined that I'd be a voice for change in my learning community; and I developed a confidence for presenting PD outside of my home district. I have become far more than a simple 4th grade teacher at North Muskegon Elementary because of my time with the LMWP."
Terri Fortmeyer (2008 & 2009), 4th Grade - Reading/Word Study, Math, Writing, North Muskegon Elementary
"I'm so glad I applied for the Summer Institute of the LMWP. Even though I had a small child at home and it seemed a large commitment for my summer, I made the time, and what I learned there has profoundly changed my teaching. I now consider how I teach writing through the lens of my own writing process, and the closer attuned I am to the latter, the better I am at the former. During that time, my own craft stretched further than it had before, but I also made professional connections that continue to enrich my personal and professional life. Some of the other writers in the group have become dear friends. I know I am a better writer, stronger teacher, and a richer person for my time there. If there's a part of you that thrills (or feels terrified, which might be the same thing) by the prospect of applying, you should probably interpret that as the Universe telling you that you should do just that."
Erinn Caley (2015), English Department Chair, Byron Center High School
"I experienced the fellowship and love of the Lake Michigan Writing Project family for the first time in 2003. Our family album, a binder filled with great resources we each contributed that summer, sits alongside myriad binders I've collected from PDs throughout my career. I vaguely remember the content of most of them, but when I see LMWP on the spine of our family album, I am reminded of who I am as a learner. I have a deep sense of gratitude for my LMWP family helping me see myself and my learners with new eyes and for the conversations that continue to influence my journey. My voyage of discovery continues. The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes. -Marcel Proust"
Tracy Horodyski (2003), Instructional Coach, Kenowa Hills Public Schools - 2016-2017 Michigan Teacher of the Year
"The Lake Michigan Writing Project was the most enriching program I've ever completed as a teacher and as a writer. It opened me up to new ideas, new approaches to learning, and new colleagues who had a wealth of experience to share. I fed off their passion and curiosity all summer. Most importantly, the LMWP helped to cement something I'd believed my whole life but could never fully articulate: that writing isn't just putting your thoughts on paper: writing IS thinking! And because writing is thinking, it is worth endless exploration!"
Colleen Alles (2013), Local History Department, Grand Rapids Public Library
"The year I attended the Summer Institute were some of the greatest weeks of my life. I had the privilege of being surrounded by other teachers like me, teachers who love writing and want to engage in discussions about best practices related to the teaching of writing. I was challenged, I was affirmed, I was inspired. Those few weeks changed how I have approached teaching ever since and to this day I remain in close contact with my SI fellows."
Kim Bolt (2005), Proud Stay-At-Home Mom!
"Spending time with fellow educators to read, write, and reflect was truly a "mountain top" experience. I read and discussed books that were life changing. I found time to write, share my writing, and be confirmed. At LMWP I was surrounded by supportive and encouraging colleagues. I learned how to present to other educators with confidence. I am a different person because of LMWP. When do we, as educators, give ourselves the gift of time in the harried and sometime stressful world of education? I encourage you to become a part of the National Writing Project fellows."
Nancy Staal (2010), 4th grade teacher,Tokyo International School,Tokyo, Japan
"I had the privilege to experience the Summer Institute both in 2007 and 2017. It was valuable both when I was a new teacher and ten years into my profession. I truly believe the Writing Institute is the most valuable form of professional development I’ve ever experienced. The relationships I formed and my identity as a writer nurtured my soul and enriched my profession."
Brandy Navetta (2007 & 2017), English 9, Zeeland West High School
"LMWP allowed me to deeply reflect on myself and my teaching which I would otherwise not have made time for in my otherwise busy schedule. Being in the same room as other thoughtful educators allowed to share ideas which work and I have been able to directly bring those ideas to my students. Honestly, when I left that summer, I felt lighter--like the burden of the job was now shared, not mine alone. Without question, LMWP was the best professional development I've ever had."
David Theune (2013), Spring Lake High School