Writers’ Workshop Summer 2018 Instructor Biographies

Jane Ware – Courses PN-2, RL-4

My passion for working with elementary writers motivated me to develop the summer Writers’ Workshop in 1992. Coaching young authors and watching them blossom has been a privilege.

Although I officially retired in 2013, my educational career in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District spanned more than a quarter of a century. Besides my many years as a classroom teacher, I have also taught GATE, and remedial students, worked as Mentor Teacher, Master Teacher, Teacher Leader, and Support Provider Mentor for new teachers. As a teacher on special assignment, I worked on staff development/coaching for the SRVUSD Reading and Writing Project. I have also been a presenter at many District and regional professional growth workshops for teachers.

Since my retirement, I have treasured my one day a week at John Baldwin Elementary School as a reading and writing intervention assistant.

I hold Permanent Teacher Credentials in both California and New York, and I am a Certified Reading Teacher. My 45 Post-Graduate credits follow an MS in Elementary Education and a BS in Social Sciences and Elementary Education. My continuing education includes participation in the Columbia University Teachers College Writing Project.

Jane Ware


Marissa Ware – Courses PN-K, PN-1

Now in my nineteenth year of teaching, I currently hold 2 roles in SRVUSD: 2nd grade at John Baldwin Elementary School and Literacy Coach for 5 schools in the district. My experience in teaching kindergarten for eight years combined with six years in first grade and four years in second grade has given me the opportunity to help children see themselves as writers and establish an early passion for writing. In teaching writing and storytelling to young children, my goals are to instill a love for literacy and a motivation to make writing part of their daily lives. I am constantly amazed by the craft and voice young children have when telling stories.

My classroom is a model classroom used for the SRVUSD Writing Project, where colleagues are invited to observe the lessons I am teaching my students. In addition, I have presented professional growth workshops, and am a BTSA mentor for new teachers. In 2016-17, I was named SRVUSD Teacher of the Year as well as Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year.

I received a MA in Education from Pepperdine University and hold a Multiple Subject teaching credential with a CLAD emphasis. I keep my teaching strategies current by attending workshops, adding to my extensive professional library, and collaborating with colleagues to further the practices of the SRVUSD Reading and Writing Project and other supplementary writing programs.

Marissa Ware


Dawn Monique Elkin – Courses OW-1, IW-2

I am currently a fourth grade teacher and an instructional reading and writing coach in the San Ramon Valley Unified district. I have taught kindergarten through fourth grade, in both private and public Bay Area schools, for over 17 years.

I hold a Bachelors in Education, a Masters in Child Psychology and a California Teaching Credential. I enjoy collaborating with other educators and have lead staff development and parent education workshops in the areas of reading and writing.

My true passion is teaching reading and writing to young children. For the past few years, I have worked closely with literacy coaches in our district and staff developers from the Columbia University Teachers College in New York, staying up to date with techniques, philosophy and content to motivate and engage students, while lifting the level of their reading and writing work.

I look forward to continuing this work with your children this summer.

Dawn Monique Elkin


Renee Doran – Course F-5

I have been a writing teacher for more than fifteen years, and have experience working with students from kindergarten through adult. I have taught in the San Ramon Valley for the past 15 years

I am currently working as an instructional literacy coach for SRVUSD, teaching and coaching best practices in literacy alongside other teachers and students.
I have a background in Reading and Writing Project training through the district’s affiliation with Columbia University Teachers College.

Formerly I taught middle school at Gale Ranch Middle School. I have also taught fourth and fifth grades, and worked as a reading intervention specialist. I have worked with primary, upper grade, and middle school readers and writers in workshop settings and one to one tutoring situations across the Bay Area. I have also facilitated workshops, book groups, and study groups for teachers around fiction, narrative, grammar and poetry genre-based book clubs, purposeful read-alouds and class conversations.

A graduate of the University of California Santa Barbara, I completed my undergraduate work there in English Literature. I have completed the Masters in Reading program at Saint Mary’s College of California and hold a Reading Specialist Credential.

Renee Doran


Kristina Sacks – Courses RL-5

For seventeen years, I have had the opportunity to teach students, watching as they discover the power of communicating through words.

I am currently a Common Core Instructional Coach for San Ramon Valley Unified School District. I have worked as a literacy coach, training and coaching teachers in best practices of literacy instruction. For the past eight years, I have provided professional development in reading and writing instruction for teachers, administrators and staff in SRVUSD and the Bay Area. I am passionate about providing excellent writing instruction for students.

I received a MA in Teacher Leadership from St. Mary’s College of California and hold a Multiple Subject teaching credential with a CLAD emphasis. I continue to develop my own teaching practices by attending workshops at Columbia University Teachers College and studying the latest research with my colleagues in the San Ramon Valley and beyond.

Kristina Sacks