Introducing the Inaugural Penguin Random House Middle School Teacher Advisory Board

By Daryl Sela | November 19 2019 | Middle School

On Monday, November 11, we were delighted to host the Inaugural Penguin Random House Middle School Teacher Advisory Board at our NYC headquarters. Our diverse group of talented, innovative educators included five women and three men, hailing from different regions of the U.S. During the meeting, board members and Penguin Random House Education staff engaged in a lively conversation focused on how middle school teachers use authentic literature and resources in the classroom, the challenges they encounter, and how publishers can help. At the end of the day, the board crafted its own Advisory Board Mission Statement, which will help guide their activity over the next year.  It reads as follows:

“We put readers first by empowering students to discover, choose, and experience relevant and engaging stories. We support educators in establishing and fostering an inclusive reading culture that promotes student voice and exploration of ideas and experiences. We understand that a strong reading identity is pivotal to spark curiosity, instill confidence, and make a positive impact in a contemporary learning community.”

The board members have agreed serve for one full year, which will include quarterly conference calls and gatherings at education conferences, such as the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) 2019 Annual Convention in Baltimore, MD, as well as occasional exchanges on key topics.

Inaugural Penguin Random House Middle School Teacher Advisory Board (in alphabetical order):

  • Mohamed Chakmakchi: Spanish Immersion / Theatre Teacher | Palo Alto Unified School District | CA
  • Victor Chapa: School Librarian | Young Women’s Leadership Academy | TX
  • Shanetia Clark: Professor of Literacy | Salisbury University | MD
  • Reuben Howard: 8th Grade English Teacher | Excel Academy | MA
  • Erin O’Leary: Reading Specialist | Horace Mann Middle School | MA
  • Beth Shaum: English Teacher & Librarian | St. Frances of Assisi Middle School | MI
  • Julia Torres: Language Arts Teacher & Librarian | Denver Public Schools | CO
  • Jen Vincent: ELA/Social Studies Teacher | Carl Sandburg Middle School | IL



Board members, from left to right: Victor Chapa, Shanetia Clark, Reuben Howard, Beth Shaum, Julia Torres, Erin O’Leary, Jen Vincent, Mohamed Chakmakchi