SAYS Staff and Structure

SAYS specializes in kindergarten through university-level literacy education. The director, coordinator, poet-mentor educators, and Write Now teacher leaders have extensive expertise in both culturally relevant instruction and spoken word performance poetry. 

SAYS Staff

  • Dr. Vajra Watson
    Director of Research and Policy for Equity, SAYS Founder and Director
  • Patrice Hill
    SAYS Coordinator
  • Ijeoma Ononuju
    SAYS Scholar

SAYS poet-mentor educators have completed a six week training program in critical pedagogy, social justice youth development, and literary arts. Each mentor has a keen gift with the written and spoken word, and is deeply committed to reaching and teaching marginalized youth.

  • Denisha Bland
    Lead Poet-Mentor Educator
  • Andre Tillman
    (former SAYS Student, began SAYS in high school in 2010)
    Poet-Mentor Educator and Lead for Kings Raising Kings
  • Jennifer Vargas
    (former SAYS Student, began SAYS in middle school in 2009)
    Poet-Mentor Educator
  • Ronnee LaRae
    (former SAYS Student, began SAYS in high school in 2010)
    Poet-Mentor Educator and Lead for After-School Services
  • Terri Grace
    (former SAYS Student, began SAYS in high school in 2011)
    Poet-Mentor Educator
  • Laura Andrews-Cook
    Poet-Mentor Educator

SAYS National Advisory Board Members

SAYS Write Now

Teacher Leaders