Founder- Kelly Grace Thomas
Kelly Grace Thomas, poet, journalist, educator, coach and 2015 Pushcart Prize nominee has worked as a professional writer for the past twelve years and as an educator for the past seven. She was named Aaduna’s 2014 “Poet to Watch.” Her work has been published in The Emerson Review, Aaduna, Aries Journal and many other literary journals across the country. Thomas also works as a food writer for the Edible Skinny, a blog focused on foodie education and appreciation and recently completed her debut novel, The Travis Bannister Conflict. However, Thomas’s real passion is working with youth to help develop their artistic voice.
After attending Emerson College in Boston, Thomas moved to California to pursue her Master’s in Education. As well as teaching high school Creative Writing, Thomas also coaches a youth slam poetry team. Thomas is the only educator out of 40 Los Angeles schools whose slam team has made it to finals at the Get Lit Classic Slam for the past three consecutive years. In 2013, her team won the regional title, making them Get Lit Classic Slam Champions. In 2014, Thomas took the first ever San Fernando Valley team to Brave New Voices, the largest youth poetry competition in the world. Thomas started Poets4Progress in 2013, an outreach organization which pairs budding youth writers with professional poets as artistic mentors. Thomas currently lives in Venice Beach, California. For more information and a sample of her writing please visit www.kellygracethomas.com
Coach- Crystal “Little Bird” Salas
Crystal Salas is a spoken word poet and community organizer. She attended the University of California, Santa Cruz where she earned her B.A. in Literature while facilitating a weekly poetry workshop at the local homeless services center’s emergency shelter. After graduation, she moved back to southern California to teach at the college level as an English composition tutor and supplemental instruction coach in addition to facilitating the Moorpark College Writing Center’s weekly poetry workshop, The Write. Currently, she teaches high school English and coaches a youth slam poetry team in Los Angeles.
When she is not in the classroom, she works as the co-founder of Poetry Solves Problems, a literary and performing arts organization, which promotes the importance of community, collaboration, and cross-genre expression through live performances all over Los Angeles. In addition to producing shows, Poetry Solves Problems holds free bookbinding/ writing workshops, and visits high school and college classrooms. Salas published her first chapbook, The Body Memoir, in 2012. Her work has appeared in The Acentos Review (online), The Moorpark Review, Chinquapin (print), as well as True Focus Theater’s original stage productions: Cat Fight and Life, Death & the Middle. She has been named one of “40 Poets To Watch Under 40” by the Ventura County Arts Council. www.littlebirddigs.com