Daryll Lynne Evans, Executive Director,began her writing career as a playwright with the Performing Arts Conservatory in Colorado, but has since turned to fiction and screen writing. She has an MFA in fiction from Purdue University, where she taught creative writing and worked with Sycamore Review. She has presented workshops for the Willamette Writers Conference, The South Coast Writers Conference, and Wordcrafters Conference. She teaches writing workshops for adults and teens.
Jorah LaFleur, WITS Coordinator, is a writer/performer who performs on stage as a spoken word poet, actor, emcee, ceremonial officiant, and workshop facilitator. She has been hosting the Eugene Poetry Slam at Tsunami Books for the last eight years. Jorah believes that spoken word poetry can be an inestimably powerful tool for young people as they explore their burgeoning identities and linguistic skills. Jorah obtained her B.A. from the Evergreen State College in Olympia WA, where she worked for several years with a non-profit organization that serves incarcerated youth. She also worked as a paraeducator at Avanti Alternative High School in Olympia, before returning to Oregon in 2006. After re-establishing an artistic presence in Eugene, Jorah has continued to give school workshops and performances.
Drea Lee, Programs Director, is a youth educator and young adult writer. Originally from California, she studied literature and writing at California State University, San Marcos and educational technology at Azusa Pacific University. Prior to moving to Eugene, she worked for eight years with the nonprofit organization Christian Youth Theater teaching acting and directing productions for students ages 8-18. She’s taught middle school and high school English and drama, both in public and private schools. In 2016, she took courses through Arizona State University’s Your Novel Year program, where she studied under young adult writers Bill Koningsberg and Amy K. Nichols. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers International.
Leah Velez, Content & Curriculum Coordinator, is a writer, educator, and ballroom dance teacher from Chicago. A graduate of the University of Oregon’s MFA program in Fiction, and Northwestern University’s fiction sequence, she taught High School English in Chicago Public Schools for several years, and then Freshman Composition at UO, where she employed lots of analysis through movement and theater. Previously, she was an Arts Programs Assistant Coordinator for the Noyes Cultural Arts Center and the City of Evanston, IL. She enjoys writing strange stories with physicalized metaphors and musical structures.• Edit