Staff and Advisory Committee

Poetry Paths Staff

Kerry Sherin Wright
Founder and Executive Director 2009-present

Kerry is the founding Director of the Philadelphia Alumni Writers House at Franklin & Marshall College and an adjunct assistant professor in the English department. Before joining Franklin & Marshall in 2003, Wright served for six years as the first Director of the Kelly Writers House at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Wright has a PhD in English literature from Temple University, and she received her Masters in creative writing from Hollins College and her Bachelors in religious studies from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a writer of both scholarly and creative prose. Kerry previously orchestrated several successful public poetry projects in Philadelphia, including the installation of a magnetic poetry wall in West Philadelphia and a continuing partnership between the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Kelly Writers House at University of Pennsylvania in which city poets publish poems on topical events in the commentary pages of the newspaper. Wright was recognized upon her departure from the Kelly Writers House at Penn with the creation of The Kerry Sherin Wright Prize, an annual award that supports an event or project that “best captures” her spirit of “aesthetic capaciousness and literary communitarianism.” She serves on the boards of the James Street Improvement District and the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design’s Public Art Advisory Committee. She lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, with her husband Scott and their son Skyler.

Tashya Leaman Dalen
Program Coordinator 2010-2012

Prior to joining Poetry Paths, Tashya Leaman Dalen worked as a landscape architect through leading planning and architectural firms in New York City and her freelance practice in Harrisburg, PA.  She also has led several successful community design projects through her work with Harrisburg’s Community Action Commission. Most recently, Tashya received the Harrisburg Mayor’s Award for adopting a vacant lot from the city and guiding youth in an after-school program in designing and constructing a public park. The space is now used for community performances, including theater, dance, and the spoken word.  An adjunct professor in landscape architecture at Messiah College and Philadelphia University, Tashya has a Masters in Landscape Architecture from Cornell University and a Bachelors degree in History from Messiah College.  As a designer, her approach has been to create distinctive senses of place that bring people, art and nature into a closer relationship.  She speaks Spanish and, with her husband Craig, has led trips for Messiah College students to Costa Rica.  Tashya grew up in Lancaster County and currently lives in Harrisburg, PA with her husband.

Barbara Buckman Strasko
Poet in the Schools 2009-present

Barbara Buckman Strasko was the Poet Laureate of Lancaster County 2009-10, appointed by The Lancaster Literary Guild. In 2009, she was named Teacher of the Year by River of Words, an International Environmental Poetry & Art Contest for Youth. For many years, she has been a teacher, counselor and literacy coach in the School District of Lancaster. Many of her students have been winners in the River of Words Contest and received their awards at the Library of Congress. Barbara was chosen as one of “The Best New Poets of 2006.” Her poems have appeared in: The Best New Poets of 2006, Rhino, Tar River Poetry Review, Brilliant Corners, Ninth Letter, and Nimrod. Her chapbook On the Edge of a Delicate Day was published by Pudding House Press in 2007.

As a poet-educator, I use the language of poetry to promote sensitivity, self-expression and healing. Poetry teaches us to observe closely, to appreciate beauty and to further understand human emotions. I see a poem as a moment of change, and think the writing of poetry is a powerful way to shift our perceptions of ourselves and the world. I believe that poetry can be used as an act of translation, connecting unlike individuals and cultures. – Barbara Strasko

Joanna Underhill
Poet in the Schools Coordinator 2012-present

Joanna is the Assistant Director of the Philadelphia Alumni Writers House at Franklin & Marshall College. She has also been a Teaching Artist at the Fulton Theatre since 1996, instructing students from pre-school to twelfth grade in all areas of the dramatic arts. She has a Masters of Education in School Counseling from Millersville University, a Master of Arts in Children’s Theatre and Creative Drama from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Arts in Stage Management from Penn State University.  She serves on the board of the Creative Works of Lancaster and is their resident props and puppet designer.

It’s Modern Art

Since 2010, artists Libby Modern and Joanna Davis Seedorf have been the brains behind Poetry Paths’s design.

Erin Hillmar ‘10
Franklin & Marshall College student intern: Designer 2009

With additional support from Franklin & Marshall College staff members who were engaged in this project in its early stages:

Dulcey Antonucci
former Director, Media Relations, College Communications

Srirupa Dasgupta
Director of Web Content, College Communications

Ryan Sauder
formerly Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, Development

Poetry Paths Advisory Committee

For the first 3 years of the project, the staff was supported by an Advisory Committee charged with representing the diversity and interests of Lancaster’s residents throughout the project. Members included:

Lisa Riggs / Marshall Snively
President / V.P., James Street Improvement District

Mary Colleen Heil
President, Pennsylvania College of Art & Design

Tom Smithgall
Sr. V.P., High Real Estate Development Group, LLC

Fran Rodriquez
Campus Coordinator, McCaskey High School

Camille Hopkins
Principal, Ross Elementary School

Lewis Thayne
V.P. for Advancement, Franklin & Marshall College

Wendy Tippetts
Principal, Tippetts Weaver Architects

Marci Nelligan
Poet

Wilda Anthony
ELL Instructor, Fulton Elementary School

Katie Ford
Poet and Professor of English, Franklin & Marshall College

Advisory committees for each site also helped select the artists and poems for Poetry Paths. Thank you to all of our helpers!

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