Leadership

  • Rebecca Wallace-Segall

    Executive Director
    Founder
    Rebecca Wallace-Segall

    Rebecca founded Writopia Lab in April 2007, and currently directs the national organization. She designed the organization’s mission and no-barriers sliding scale model, as well as its instructional approach, which has been embraced by thousands of children, teens, schools, and nonprofit partners across the country. In 2015, she established Writopia’s Training Institute that serves the youth development sector and the Department of Education and established The Positive Literacy Collaborative in partnership with Goddard Riverside in 2019 both with the support of the Pinkerton Foundation. Rebecca has lead the organization’s growth and impact in NYC, while establishing and overseeing its labs in the DC Metro region, NY Metro North, Chicago, Los Angeles, and The Bay Area.

    She presents and curates panels for schools, events, conferences, and parents' organizations on a variety of topics including "Building Safe Spaces: The Power of Creative Writing for Kids Who Have Experienced Trauma," "How to Inspire the Writer Within Your Child," “Partnering for Impact,” and "How to Love Writing for High School and College Admittance." She oversees communications and development at Writopia Lab.

    In the founding five years of Writopia Lab, Rebecca won multiple teaching awards including the Scholastic Awards' 2012 Ovation Inspired Teacher Award for submitting the most outstanding senior portfolios on the national level and for "developing a method of working with students that inspires them to create original work that embodies their unique, personal voice.... Because of [her] tutelage... these students are now empowered to bring that voice into the broader world..." She has also won the 2008, 2009, and 2011 National Gold Apple Teacher Award for "submitting the most outstanding group of submissions on the national level" to the Scholastic Art & Writing event.

    Rebecca oversees impact assessment at Writopia. She studied at Harvard Business School's Performance Measurement for Effective Management of Nonprofit Organizations for organizational leaders in 2015 and continues to oversee Writopia’s impact assessment team's practices as a Youth Inc partner. She recently won a 2021 scholarship to attend Columbia University’s certificate program in business excellence for nonprofit leaders.

    Rebecca also serves on Writopia Lab’s Board of Directors and is thrilled to have a team of accomplished board members from various social and business sectors, to help shape the future of writing education, and Writopia’s literary arts, youth development culture.

    Rebecca began writing for publications in 1997. She has contributed opeds about education and writing to the The Atlantic Monthly and The Wall Street Journal, and thought pieces to The Huffington Post and The Nation, along with five cover stories (and other pieces) to the Village Voice.

  • Jeremy Wallace-Segall

    Chief Operations Officer
    Jeremy Wallace-Segall

    Jeremy Wallace-Segall is the Chief Operations Officer for Writopia Lab. Jeremy oversees technology and back-office functions, contributes to the organizational literature, recruits new students and new schools, and does light housekeeping.

    Jeremy has built and implemented databases and websites for 15 years. He ran a consulting business, ABCDataworks, for six years, that brought database, website, and communications strategy to non-profits and socially minded corporate ventures. Jeremy spent a few years in the corporate world, but most of his work experience has been focused on making the world a better place by helping non-profit organizations manage their data collection and dissemination. Jeremy has written corporate policy documents, software documentation, branding copy for websites, and tutorials.

  • Yael Schick

    Director of Programs
    Co-New York City Regional Director
    Yael Schick

    Yael has been a member of the Writopia Lab team since 2011. As the Director of Programs, she oversees programs nationally and supports all instructors and workshops at Writopia’s Upper West Side lab. Yael’s favorite role at Writopia is that of instructor; she works with writers of all ages in all genres, including college essay. She has been recognized as an “Outstanding Educator” by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018, and her students have been awarded National Medals, including American Voice Awards, Best in Grade Awards, and Silver Medals with Distinction in their senior portfolios.

    Yael is also the lead Program Developer of Writopia Lab’s Language Play program, which runs enriching early-literacy engagement for the emerging writers. She has helped over 300 preschoolers become filmmakers as part of the Language Play Filmmaking program, and she regularly brings the program into UPre-Ks in homeless shelters and Title 1 schools in New York City. She also developed Writopia Lab’s service trip to Quito, Ecuador and has led the annual trip each year. She co-created and runs WriCampia, working closely with all instructors, counselors, and campers year-round.

    Yael will be graduating from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2022 with a Masters in Education Leadership, Organizations, and Entrepreneurship. At Harvard she is a recipient of a Saul Zaentz Fellowship, awarded to emerging leaders in early childhood education. She holds a BA in English Literature from Stern College for Women of Yeshiva University. She lives in Manhattan but will always call Queens home!

  • Danielle Sheeler, LMSW

    Director of Camps and Curriculum
    Co-New York City Regional Director
    DanielleSheeler

    Danielle has been part of the Writopia Lab team since 2011. She oversees workshops nationally, and develops and implements curriculum for after-school and in-schools programs. She runs workshops at Title-1 public schools, charter schools, and Alternative to Detention Centers.

    Danielle has been recognized by the Scholastic Awards "as an outstanding educator whose dedication, commitment, and guidance are represented by student work selected for national honors." She launched Writopia’s Essay Writing program at Writopia in 2013 and Narrative Therapy workshops in 2019. She oversees program evaluation at Writopia, using Hello Insight to measure Writopia’s SEL impact in order to evaluate and respond to the needs of our young writers. She has published her research on Writopia Lab's impact in the academic journal, The Educational Forum.

    She received her Masters in Humanities and Social Thought at NYU in January 2010 and her Masters in Social Work from Columbia University in Spring 2019.

  • Tom Flynn

    Director of Business Operations
    Tom Flynn

    Tom has worked in higher education, business consulting, and creative management. He is also a seasoned professional writer. Tom studied Philosophy and Peace Studies at Siena College and earned an M.S. in Communication and Rhetoric at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. At Rensselaer, he became Creative Director of a research group that created interactive multimedia learning software. He also worked on a variety of K-12 multimedia initiatives and taught a graduate level seminar for teachers on technology in the classroom. As a management consultant, Tom worked with a wide range of innovative technology companies and large corporate clients. In a past life, Tom studied with Marilyn Robinson and Amy Hempel at New York State Writers Institute Graduate Creative Writing Workshop at Skidmore College. He has written and edited for Pavement Saw, Guitar School Magazine, Hudson Valley Writers Guild, and Scyre. While living outside Boston, he wrote about the arts and nightlife for the Boston Phoenix publication Stuff @ Night. Also, during a more than 15-year association, Tom published countless feature length articles, interview pieces and reviews on music, culture and the arts for the alternative newsweekly Metroland in New York's Capital region.

  • Léna Roy

    Director of Teen Programs
    Lena Roy

    Léna began teaching Writopia Lab workshops in Manhattan in 2009, then went on to bring the program to New York City's northern suburbs in 2010. Léna is the author of the YA novel, Edges, published by FSG. She co-authored Becoming Madeleine, a Biography of the Author of A Wrinkle in Time by Her Granddaughters, coming out in February 2018. She co-edited the award-winning Girls Write Now anthology, First Lines. Her writing was featured in the essay collection for middle school kids and their teachers: Breakfast on Mars and 37 Other Essays to Devour: Your Favorite Authors Take on the Dreaded Essay Assignment. From 2014 to present, Léna has been recognized by the Scholastic Awards "as an outstanding educator whose dedication, commitment, and guidance are represented by student work selected for national honors." Léna earned her BA from Barnard, studying English and Italian literature, and her MA in Drama Therapy from NYU. Mentoring has long been the connective tissue in Léna's life, whether through her work with at-risk adolescents in Utah, California, and New York; or through her own writing discipline, as fostered by her late grandmother, author Madeleine L'Engle. It was her grandmother who taught Léna to transform the solitary nature of writing into a sacred sense of community, where her art and the art of others can flourish. You can visit Léna at www.lenaroybooks.com.

  • Janelle M. Williams

    Associate Director of Outreach and Programs
    Janelle M. Williams

    Janelle M. Williams has been a part of the Writopia Lab team since 2016. At Writopia, she works as an instructor and a program manager. She manages private sessions and co-manages the Write-to-Recognition Program and the Joy and Literacy in After School Program. With the support of Executive Director Rebecca Wallace-Segall and the team, she founded Writopia Lab's annual Teen Writers' Summit. She enjoys teaching on-site and off-site workshops, some in Title 1 schools and a residential treatment facility. She is enthusiastic about sustaining safe, diverse, and socially conscious workshops at Writopia Lab. Janelle received her BA from Howard University and her MFA in Creative Writing from Manhattanville College. In 2017, she received a fellowship from Kimbilio Fiction. As a southern writer from Decatur, Georgia, Janelle's lyrical stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, SmokeLong Quarterly, Lunch Ticket, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Split Lip Magazine, midnight & indigo, Kweli, and elsewhere.

  • Elsa Bermúdez

    Los Angeles Regional Manager
    and Outreach Programs Manager
    Elsa Bermúdez

    Elsa Bermúdez has loved teaching creative writing, essay writing, comedy writing, and graphic noveling at Writopia Lab since 2014. As National Programs Manager, she runs Writopia Lab’s on-site scholarship program, Write to Recognition, and several off-site partnership programs. Elsa is a writer, comedian, artist, and educator. She earned her BA in Philosophy from Providence College and her MFA in Creative Writing in Fiction from The New School. Her short story Agency was published in H.O.W. Journal's Issue 11. She also studied improv and sketch comedy writing at UCB. Elsa has produced and performed on comedy stages around New York City, including the Magnet Theater, the Pit, and Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. She has directed for Magnet Theater’s sketch program, Remix, and was on Magnet Theater’s house sketch teams Mama’s Boy and House Party. Elsa also wrote, directed, performed for, and produced the filmed sketch comedy show I Feel Funny. Currently, she is thrilled to continue her journey as Writopia’s LA Regional Manager and to focus her creative energy on writing screenplays and drawing comics. Elsa lives in East Hollywood with her puggle, Bug.

  • Madeline Taylor

    Associate Director of Program Operations
    Instructor
    Madeline Taylor

    Madeline Taylor has been working at Writopia Lab since 2015, and currently is Writopia's Associate Director of Program Operations as well as a Creative Writing and Essay Writing instructor. She graduated summa cum laude from Barnard College at Columbia University with a BA in English & Creative Writing. At Barnard, she stage managed, edited, and contributed to student-written theater productions. She writes primarily creative non-fiction and short fiction, and received recognition for her non-fiction writing at Barnard College with the Schwimmer Prize for the Humanities and the Estelle M. Allison Prize for Literature; her work has been published in the New York Times and her short fiction will be published in Emerge Literary Journal in May 2021. She is currently working on a novel, which would be coming along significantly faster if her beloved cats Ginkgo and Juniper would stop distracting her with their cuteness.

  • Bianca Turetsky

    Brooklyn Regional Manager
    Instructor
    biancaturetsky

    Bianca is thrilled to be working with Writopia Lab as the Brooklyn Regional Manager. She is the author of The Time-Traveling Fashionsta, a historical fiction series published by Little, Brown and Company. The books have been translated into nine languages. After graduating from Tufts University, Bianca began working for artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel. She managed his studio for over 11 years and was his assistant on the Academy Award-nominated film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. She is currently at work on a new chapter book series, Magic On the Map, with fellow Writopia Lab instructor Courtney Sheinmel, to be published by Random House Kids in Spring 2019. In 2018, she was recognized by the Scholastic Awards as an "outstanding educator whose dedication, commitment, and guidance are represented by student work selected for national honors."

  • Matthew Jellison

    Senior Curriculum Manager
    Instructor
    Matthew Jellison

    Matthew Jellison is over the moon to be joining the Writopia Lab staff full time as the Games and Curriculum Manager and the Editor-in-Chief of Litmags. He began as a creative writing instructor in summer of 2017 and since has had the privilege of reading wonderful writing by extraordinary kids. Born and raised in NYC, Matthew writes plays and works with kids. The first two plays in his cycle, the giants, was produced by Loft 227 in winter of 2016. He’s getting the third play ready for a workshop this coming Fall at TOWN stages, where he’s currently in residence. Matthew is the 2012/13 Kenan Playwriting Fellow at the Kennedy Center, a two-time Playwriting Fellow at the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, an alumnus of FreshGround Pepper Playground Playgroup and SPACE on Ryder Farm, and a finalist for the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab. Prior to Writopia, Matthew worked with kids and teens with the 52nd Street Project, Marquis Studios, the Kaufman Cultural Center, and Manhattan Theatre Club’s education department. He graduated from the acting school at the North Carolina School of the Arts.

  • Rob Roy

    Director of Program Operations
    Rob Roy

    Rob has provided operational leadership and support for Writopia Lab’s diverse and growing programs since 2010, first through its regional office in Westchester, NY, and then nationally. He has served as one of the directors for Writopia Lab’s summer sleepaway camp, and has led Writopia Lab’s years-long partnership with the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, organizing the adjudication of thousands of teen writers across multiple affiliate regions and the presentation of annual awards ceremonies to celebrate their writing. Prior to Writopia Lab, Rob spent fourteen years in the film and television industry, employed in every aspect of locations department work on movies, TV shows, and commercials—including a few worth remembering (Enchanted, Chappelle’s Show, and Revolutionary Road) and more than a few that remain forgettable. Despite having seen how that sausage gets made, he still loves the art form. A native of North Dakota, Rob received his arts education from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, Australia.

  • Malcolm Knowles

    Program Manager, The Writopia Music Lab
    Creative Writing and Songwriting Instructor
    Malcolm Knowles

    Malcolm Knowles has been part of the Writopia Lab team since 2018. He is a writer and multi-instrumentalist originally from Houston, Texas, where he learned to record and release music during his teenage years. He later attended Sarah Lawrence College with a focus in Jazz Guitar, Composition, and Radio. During the summer, Malcolm teaches Creative Writing and Songwriting at both the Writopia Full Day camp and WriCampia, and is the Division Head of Upper Boys at WriCampia. After two years of developing the Writopia Songwriting Studio and its camp electives, Malcolm co-designed, launched, and began overseeing the Writopia Music Foundry in 2021. Both programs are offered as part of Writopia's Music Lab. During the school year, Malcolm helps young and teen writers navigate the process of Essay Writing, Creative Writing, and Songwriting. When not teaching, you can often find Malcolm next to the closest musical instrument.

  • Eunju Namkung

    Communications Advisor
    Eunju Namkung

    Eunju Namkung has been part of the Writopia Lab family since 2008. Eunju advises Writopia Lab on aspects of communications strategy and implementation. She is passionate about promoting Writopia Lab's values around creative writing and creativity, care for children, diversity and inclusion, and social responsibility and ethics. She helps oversee brand development and manages projects that showcases Writopia Lab and its staff's expertise. Previously with Writopia Lab, Eunju founded the filmmaking program in 2014, including developing the Writopia Lab filmmaking method, hosting several film festivals, and producing over 100 student projects. She also served as a creative and essay writing workshop instructor, and has an exceptional passion for college essay writing instruction. In her capacity as a Communications and Development Officer, Eunju supported the grant acquisition process, and developed print and digital materials for Writopia Lab, including video, photography, and graphic design. Predating her professional contributions to Writopia Lab, Eunju was a student herself in Rebecca Wallace-Segall's workshops and considers herself to be a Writopian forever. (In fact, she volunteers her time to help lead the Forever Writopians Alumni Collective. Contact Eunju@WritopiaLab.org to learn more!) Eunju earned her B.A. in Film and Media Studies at Yale University and her Masters in Public Administration and a Masters in Urban & Regional Planning at Virginia Tech School of Public and International Affairs. She calls Riverdale, Bronx, New York City home. While she loves her adopted home of Arlington, Virginia, she wants to know, where the bagels at?

Connect & Interact with us on:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Email