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Established in 1986, the Philadelphia Writing Project has been working with Philadelphia schools for over 30 years. PhilWP’s initial vision was an exclusively urban initiative, one that would focus all of its efforts on the School District of Philadelphia and on the school-university partnership with the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania.   

Today there are more than 800 teachers who have become part of PhilWP, and many thousands who have benefitted from our professional development workshops and courses. There are multiples of thousands of children and youth whose life chances have been improved by having caring, thoughtful, and dedicated teachers invite them into the powerful worlds of writing, reading, and literacy. 

Directors from the Graduate School of Education

  • Amy Stornaiuolo, 2023-present
  • Jen McLaughlin Cahill, 2023-present
  • Diane Waff, 2010-2023
  • Kathy Schultz, 2004-2010
  • Susan Lytle, 1986-2004 (founding director)

Directors from the School District of Philadelphia

  • Teri Hines, 2010-2011 (managing director)
  • Vanessa Brown, 2001-2010
  • Marci Resnick, 1996-2001
  • Judy Buchanan, 1987-1991 (associate director), 1991-1996 (director)

PhilWP Scholars

Since 1986, PhilWP has selected a teacher consultant to serve full-time as the PhilWP Scholar at Penn GSE. Supported by a fellowship provided by the Dean of the Graduate School of Education, the Scholar spends two semesters on leave from the School District of Philadelphia to take graduate-level courses through the Literacy Studies Program (formerly Reading, Writing, and Literacy). During this time, the Scholar provides leadership to the site in a number of creative ways. PhilWP Scholars who complete their doctoral programs work in schools, universities, non-profits, and community-based organizations across the country.

  • Barrett Rosser, 2020-
  • Latricia Whitfield, 2018-2020
  • Michael Mannix, 2016-2018
  • Robert Rivera-Amezola 2013-2016
  • Helen Anderson, 2011-2013
  • Ted Domers, 2010-2011
  • Annette Sample, 2007-2009
  • Donna Sharer, 2006-2007
  • Raquel Esteves-Joyce, 2004-2006
  • Diane Santori, 2003-2004
  • Joyce Millman, 2002-2003
  • Darlene Gray, 2001-2002
  • Carol Rose, 2000-2001
  • Susan Browne, 1999-2000
  • Bruce Bowers, 1998-1999
  • Michelle Bell, 1997-1998
  • Grace Sussman, 1996-1997
  • Marsha Pincus, 1995-1996
  • Margo Ackerman, 1994-1995
  • Diane Waff, 1993-1994
  • Dina Portnoy, 1992-1993
  • Ellen Johnson, 1991-1992
  • Shirley Brown, 1990-1991
  • Ilene Winikur, 1989-1990
  • Mickey Harris, 1988-1989
  • Beb Fecho, 1987-1988
  • Judy Buchanan, 1986-1987