826DC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. Our services are structured around our understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success. With this in mind we provide drop-in tutoring, field trips, after-school workshops, in-school programs, help for English language learners, and assistance with student publications. All of our programs are challenging and enjoyable, and ultimately strengthen each student’s power to express ideas effectively, creatively, confidently, and in his or her individual voice. 826DC is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit corporation based in the District of Columbia. Our tax ID number is 26-2426166.Great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention. Click To Tweet
Our staff and trained volunteers collaborate with teachers to create project-based learning opportunities appropriate for their specific classroom needs and educational goals. At risk for a zombie apocalypse? We’ve got a writing workshop lesson plan for that. Running for Kid President? We can help students craft their platforms. We also work closely with teachers to design new workshops and long-term projects to suit specific content-areas, special curriculum units, interdisciplinary projects, and after-school programs. Read about The 826 Stand.
Tivoli’s Astounding Magic Supply Company
Tivoli’s Astounding Magic Supply Company is the District’s only illusionarium and de-lux haberdashery. The storefront stocks everything a budding magician needs to embark on a path to mastery, from Stage Fright Antidote to our Micro Escapes (for starting a career in escapology). Every purchase makes real magic happen– in the writing center beyond the secret door.
826DC’s programs are modeled after those at 826 Valencia, the inspiration for the 826 National network. 826 National now counts nine organizational affiliates among its members, including 826DC, throughout the United States. 826 National was co-founded by author Dave Eggers and by veteran educator Ninive Calegari, whose experience as a teacher shaped the 826 model. To find out more about 826 locations in other cities, visit the 826 National website.
Our Team of Magic-makers
Zachary has worked in the youth development, education, and arts sectors throughout the U.S. Prior to joining 826DC, he served as the Director of Early Learning at Sitar Arts Center and led youth-oriented programming in collaboration with DC-based organizations including the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project and Capitol Hill Arts Workshop. His research work through Project Zero focuses on the intersection of youth’s creative productions and digital media, and has been published in Creativity Research Journal. He holds an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, a B.A. in American Literature and Visual Arts from Brown University, and a certification in non-profit management from Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy. Zachary is a poor but diligent runner, a renowned doughnut enthusiast, and a forever aspiring limericist.
Director of Education
Andrea has spent her career working with and on behalf of young people. Prior to joining 826DC, she taught elementary school in New York, built partnerships to support children’s play at KaBOOM!, and developed a literacy fellowship for school leaders at Bank Street College. She holds a master’s degree in Elementary Inclusive Education from Teachers College and a bachelor’s degree in political science and art history. Andrea is always in search of a good bagel, a good cookbook, and a good place to swim.
Senior Manager of School-Based Programs
Before joining 826DC, Cristopher Lee worked as a resident teacher at a DC public charter school. Prior to this experience, Cristopher served for two years in City Year Detroit, an AmeriCorps program, as both a Corps member and a Team Leader. He has a BA in English Writing with a minor in Biology from DePauw University, and a Master of Education from Lesley University. His love and passion for writing, literacy, education, and students brought him to 826DC. In his free time, he enjoys reading, writing, listening to music, playing chess, and checking out new vegetarian and vegan restaurants. He has lived in the DC area since 2014.
School Residency Manager
Dominique is a writer from Kingston, Jamaica who has a passion for working with young people. She believes that our lives are all built on narrative and that writing is therefore the art of world-bending. Dominique holds a M.Phil. in Gender Studies from Trinity College Dublin and a B.A. in Global Affairs from Yale University. She is usually cooking, hunting for antiques, playing with her dog Ziggy, or wandering aimlessly around the city.
Senior Manager of Communications and Development
Sarah Richman is a writer, author, and poet with a development and communications background across the nonprofit space and the tech industry. She believes that well-told stories can change the world. Sarah holds cum laude degrees in Creative Writing and International Studies from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. She loves dogs and feels the most herself when she’s in a garden.
Community Programs Manager
Shayna Baggatts-Porter is a visual artist and native Washingtonian. She attended DC Public Schools from Kindergarten through high school graduation and spent five years working and serving in DC Schools as an Americorps member, Team Leader, and Program Manager with City Year DC. Shayna left the education world in 2017 to pursue a dog training career after welcoming the cutest pit bull puppy, Quimby, into her life. Through her work in education, Shayna has determined that allowing young people the space and resources to explore and define themselves on their own terms is the greatest and kindest gift. When not walking or cuddling her dog, Shayna is most likely painting, sculpting, lazily teaching herself French, dyeing her hair, or eating red onions.
826DC Interns are the Best
To put in plainly: our interns are the best. Not only do they go above and beyond in their work, they also take the time to teach our students magic tricks and keep us hip on the social media. We’d be lost without them (not to mention bored to tears when the young people aren’t around).
Activist. Abolitionist. Advocate. Student Educator. Leah Anderson is a sophomore Criminology and Community development major, Afro-American studies and International Affairs minor at Howard University. She is a San Francisco, CA native who takes pride in serving her community through access to free education and organization. Leah travels internationally, exchanging cultures and finding innovative solutions to uplift the voices of each nation.
Prior to joining 826DC, Thomas served in the Teach For America corps in San Diego, California where he worked as a special education teacher for high school students and young adults. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Science from the University of California, San Diego, and a Master of Science in Special Education from National University. Currently, he is a graduate student in the Master of Arts program in English at Georgetown University. Outside of school and work, Thomas enjoys reading, studying languages, watching films, nature walks, biking, going to baseball games, and exploring new places both near and far.
Wesley Dankwa is a creative who dabbles in music-making, photography, and design. He is in his fourth and final year at American University studying Public Relations/Strategic Communication and minoring in Graphic Design. Wesley is originally from Bladensburg, MD, and has spent nearly all his life in DC metropolitan area. Since becoming a barista at a coffee shop two summers ago, coffee has become the main fuel behind all of his creative pursuits.
Want to join our staff as an Intern?Learn How Here
Board of Directors
Tom Viehe is a strategy consultant for EMD Strategies. In this role, he works with companies’ executive leadership on developing their strategic plan, improving their capture management processes, improving the quality of their pipeline, and building relationships within industry. His expertise is in providing private and public sector businesses with strategies for penetrating and diversifying their share of the federal market. Before joining EMD Strategies, Tom served as the Director of Research for IDS International, where he was responsible for all research and OCONUS-based programs. During his tenure he worked on proposal development, program management of several of the company’s first prime contracts, capture management, and determining PTW and pricing models. He attended the University of St Andrews for both undergraduate and graduate school, receiving a Masters of Arts in International Relations and a Masters of Letters in International Security Studies.
Miah Daughtery, Ed.D. is the Executive Director of Literacy and Professional Learning at Odell Education and former Director of ELA and Literacy at Achieve. A focused and passionate educator, Miah has more than ten years’ experience at the classroom, district, and state levels. Miah completed her doctoral studies at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College, obtaining an Ed.D in Educational Administration and Public Policy.
Matthew Bressler is a Principal at TDF Ventures and brings prior experience investing in and working with startup and growth stage companies. Prior to TDF, Matt worked with GE Ventures supporting investments and strategy in intelligent environments. Matt also served as the Director of Investments for the Wharton Social Venture Fund and as an Associate for FOUNDER.org, investing and assisting early-stage startups. Matt started his career as a management consultant for Oliver Wyman where he focused on growth strategy in a diverse set of industries including consumer electronics, transportation, energy, and healthcare IT. Matt graduated cum laude with a BA in Mechanical Engineering from Yale University and earned his MBA with honors from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Susan Gerock is the Vice President, Information Technology and Chief Information Officer at Washington REIT. In her capacity, she is responsible for the leadership, integrative management and direction for company information systems including corporate-wide planning, budgeting for information technologies and coordination and integration of all company information technology matters. She has over 25 years of management and information technology experience in commercial real estate, manufacturing, and retail. Susan holds an undergraduate degree in Government from The College of William & Mary and holds a Master of Science, Management of Information Technology degree from the University of Virginia, McIntire School of Commerce. She is active in numerous initiatives focused on young people, including having served as a Big Sister in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Chesapeake, volunteering with SafeShores DC, and serving as a Side By Side Investor with ACT for Alexandria.
Programs Committee Chair
Amy Pastan is an independent editor, photo researcher, writer, and book producer. She has been responsible for the publication of hundreds of titles. Before starting her own business in 1998, she held staff positions at the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian Institution Press, where she developed an award-winning list of books in photography and fine arts. In addition to creating and producing works in all genres for print publishers, Amy is currently writing features for the Web and providing content for film and digital media. A lover of the written word, the nation’s capital, and children—she has two grown sons who are DC natives—Amy first joined 826DC as a volunteer. She is an avid reader, frequent traveler to Italy, and enjoys walking, yoga, American history, and art. Amy and her husband, Peter, owner of several local restaurants, live in Chevy Chase, DC.
Development Committee Chair
Richard Nash is a Vice President of PayPal, leading the Global Government Relations Group, comprised of teams based in the North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific regions. Richard leads PayPal’s work on key legislative and regulatory issues across the globe, focusing on emerging FinTech public policy. His work includes collaborating with, and informing global governments on the development of modern financial services regulation and legislation; additionally, his team manages PayPal’s contributions to discussions on consumer protection, cross-border trade expansion, intellectual property protections, cybersecurity and data protection. Prior to joining eBay Inc., Richard ran the Brussels office of European public affairs consultancy Political Intelligence. In addition, he was Secretary General of the European Internet Services Providers Association from 2005-2008. Richard began his career with a German law firm, based in Freiburg (Germany), having studied law in the UK and Austria. Richard speaks fluent German and Spanish. He resides in Washington, DC with his wife and son.
Literary Liaison Chair
W. Ralph Eubanks is the author of Ever Is a Long Time: A Journey Into Mississippi’s Dark Past (Basic Books), which Washington Post book critic Jonathan Yardley named as one of the best nonfiction books of 2003. A graduate of the University of Mississippi (B.A.) and the University of Michigan (M.A., English Language and Literature), he is a recipient of a 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and has been a Fellow at the New America Foundation. From 1995 to 2013, he was Director of Publishing for the Library of Congress and is the former Editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review at the University of Virginia. He is currently a Visiting Professor of English and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi, and at work on a book about Mississippi’s literary heritage. Ralph lives in Washington, DC, with his wife and three children.
Abigail Smith is a partner at Hogan Lovells in Washington, DC. Clients rely on Abigail to advise on a wide range of securities offerings. She helps public companies and foreign private issuers with corporate governance and ongoing discloser obligations under U.S. federal securities laws. Her experience includes public and private U.S. and cross-border mergers and acquisitions and reorganizations. Abigail holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and a B.A. from Vanderbilt University.
Jennifer Thorpe-Lewis is a retired senior commissioned officer who served in the active-duty Air Force for over 22 years. During that time, she held positions of authority within the acquisition career field, nationally and internationally, including contracting officer, joint service officer, and commander. She also earned a BA in Business Administration from Howard University, a MS in Contracting Management from the Air Force Institute of Technology, and a MS in Military Operational Arts and Science from the Air Command and Staff College. In recent years, Jennifer has held positions of leadership within several educational institutions, where her children attend, including parent working group co-chair at a DC public elementary school and president of the parent-faculty association at a DC public charter school, where she has overseen budget execution in excess of $70K.
As Vice President/Marketing Manager, J.C. is responsible for managing Chubb’s distribution relationships in the Mid-Atlantic Region consisting of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded P&C insurance company and the largest commercial insurer in the USA. Chubb combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the very best insurance coverage and service to individuals and families, and businesses of all sizes. With operations in 54 countries and territories, Chubb takes seriously its role as a global citizen, driving positive change and making a long-term impact in communities around the world. After graduating from Drew University in 1999, J.C. began his insurance career with the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies. During his first tenure at Chubb, he worked as an Underwriter in their New Jersey and New York City Personal Lines Service Centers, as well as a Marketing Representative in their Washington, DC Branch Office. In 2005, J.C. joined AIG Private Client Group in NYC as a Business Development Manager where he managed some of the company’s largest broker relationships. He moved back to Washington, DC in 2008 to assume the role of Assistant Vice President, Capital Region Marketing Manager for AIG PCG. He served in that capacity until rejoining Chubb in October 2018 in his current role.
Jill Dowell enjoys a career in federal government relations concentrating on health care, tax, and trade issues. In her 25+ years in DC, she has represented corporations and national trade associations before policymakers both in the Administration and in Congress. When not working, Jill lives for baseball season (cheering on both the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros), reading, and experimenting in the kitchen. She is a graduate of Baylor University and majored in Political Science and Journalism.
Tait Sye is a veteran communications strategist with more than fifteen years’ experience in the government, nonprofit, and private sectors. He is currently a senior director with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Previously, Tait was a political appointee for President Obama, serving at Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs in the US Department of Health and Human Services. Tait also recently co-founded, with his brother, a family foundation that provides impact grants focused on food justice. Tait holds both a Master’s degree and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
Taryn Fielder is Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Washington REIT, a publicly-traded real estate investment trust. Prior to joining Washington REIT, Taryn served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel for ASB Real Estate Investments, a privately-held real estate investment management firm, from 2013 to March 2017. In this role, she was responsible for all legal affairs of the company, including property acquisitions, leasing, and finance; fund formation; investor relations; compliance matters and human resources. She also served as the principal legal advisor to the firm’s management team. From 2011-2013, Taryn was the Assistant General Counsel of DiamondRock Hospitality Company, a publicly-traded hospitality REIT. Prior to her in-house career, she practiced corporate and real estate law at Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett LLP in New York City and Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells) in Washington, D.C. and served as Deputy General Counsel of the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Committee. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Eckerd College.
- Joe Callahan (Executive Director Emeritus, Co-Chair)
- David Wakelyn (Co-Chair)
- Susan Shreve
- Sally Bedell Smith
- Rebecca Sinderbrand
- Marcela Sanchez-Bender
- George Pelecanos
- E. Ethelbert Miller
- Matt Klam
- Carol Blue
- Jessica Anya Blau
- Marie Arana
- Katie Hinman
HOLLY JONES (CO-FOUNDER) JULIA SMITH (CO-FOUNDER) KIRA WISNIEWSKI (CO-FOUNDER) JOE PETERS (FOUNDING BOARD MEMBER) MIKE SCALISE (FOUNDING STAFF MEMBER)