Kristie M. Leyba
9-12 grades including: Reading Intervention, Speech and Debate, AP Lit. Also Community College Reading Courses
English and Reading
Edison High School/Fresno Unified School District
Local Writing Project:
San Joaquin Valley Writing Project (SJVWP)
Awards & Recognition
- SJVWP Teacher Consultant
- Kings Canyon Unified School District, High School Teacher of the Year, 2002
- Fresno Unified School District, High School Teacher of the Year and Teacher of the Year, 2009
My Writing Project was my sole professional development for my initial years as a teacher and shaped how I viewed my role as a teacher and professional. It provided mentorship, learning, support, and opportunities that helped me to take my teaching to more engaging and meaningful places and continues to challenge me to grow and continue to learn about my practice and my students.
As a timid writer, I have found supportive audiences and encouragement to continue to share my work within study groups, advanced academies, and at workshops and open sessions. I am still not publishing any writing in large circles, but enjoy reflective writing within my local writing project.
As a Teacher Consultant, I was able to learn how to provide meaningful and respectful professional development for my colleagues as well as with other school sites and in conferences. It has made me an active voice in the way that writing and reading is taught on my school campus, and at the districts I have worked in as a teacher and teacher coach. I learned that we learn best from each other, and that we all have something to share and learn. Had I not had experiences with SJVWP in a leadership capacity, I would not have had the courage to pursue my Masters in Education and continue in my professional journey. The support and practice to lead workshops, inquiry groups, conduct action research, and co-direct Summer Leadership Institutes all helped me feel that a higher degree was in reach.
My main belief is that we all have valuable words to share. Whether in writing or verbally, each person is given a unique and valuable perspective and as a teacher it is my job to help that voice emerge and find venues and audiences for communication. Choice is empowerment for students and with encouragement all writers will grow and build their skills to communicate.
I still find What Writers Need by Peter Elbow to be my go-to for inspiration and grounding, and Bird-by-Bird by Anne Lamott as encouragement. Why? I think that the mind and heart of teaching goes back to our love of language, learning, and desire to help students grow. These books help me to remember the serious and light-hearted aspects that are threaded throughout our profession.