Kate Reuther is the Founder and Director of Uptown Stories. She has taught writing for over fifteen years, in both public and private schools, including Calhoun, Fieldston, and Bank Street. Her own fiction has appeared in The Madison Review, Brain Child, Salamander, and The Ledge. She has a BA in English from Yale and an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Kate is a life-long New Yorker and has been living in Washington Heights since 2003 with her husband and two boys.
Bobby DeJesus: the Actor/Screenwriter/Director was born to Dominican parents and raised in New York City’s Washington Heights. He is a graduate of The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts and is a practicing artist as well as a teaching artist. His work as a screenwriter can be seen on youtube in the short film comedy “Fifi Patelito Goes to the DMV” and soon on the current film festival circuit with his directorial debut “Indentured Servant” a short film drama. Bringing over 13 years of experience in the teaching artist field, he inspires students to write and perform beyond their imagined abilities whether in poetry or theater. He is incredibly passionate about fostering confidence in all of his students, no matter the level but particularly with children and young adults.
Thea Nunez-Trauceniek is a teacher and writer, she has been teaching writing for over a decade. She holds a BA in Literature from the City University of New York and an MS in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College of Education. Thea’s articles and short stories were published by several collegiate newspapers and literary anthologies. She is passionate about working with students and creating spaces where they can take risks and receive support to reach their highest creative potential. Thea is also a native New Yorker and lives in the nautical hamlet of City Island with her husband, daughter and dog.
Josh Bayer is visual artist whose work has appeared in print, video, posters, and exhibitions internationally. His graphic novel Theth was featured in The Best American Comics 2015, and he is the editor and head writer for All Time Comics, a 2017 imprint from Fantagraphics Books. He can be found in New York City in teaching to students at the 92st Y Art Center, Parsons Illustration Department, JobPath and Visiting Nurses Services.
Shamie Cuthbert is a teacher, writer, and local mom. After teaching creative writing workshops for about a decade, she attended Bank Street College of Education, where she received a Master’s in Early Childhood and General Education. She has been teaching in New York City independent schools for the past five years. Passionate about both teaching and writing, her main focus is to enhance the natural creative abilities of children, while facilitating the development of skills and strategies to execute ideas. As a freelance writer, Shamie has published several social perspective pieces for the independent publication, Circle Magazine. She is currently working on a collection of New York City based short stories for children.
Stacy Davidowitz is a proud Washington Heights-based author, playwright, and screenwriter whose work has been produced regionally and internationally. She is the author of the four-book middle grade series Camp Rolling Hills (ABRAMS) and the three-chapter book series Hanazuki (ABRAMS / Hasbro). Stacy’s full-length plays and musicals are published by Broadway Play Publishing, Steele Spring Stage Rights, YouthPLAYS, and Indie Theater Now. She is currently writing a movie musical for Big Block Entertainment and is developing an indie feature film and webseries for the production company Initiative 26. Stacy is also an active teaching artist, facilitating creative writing, drama, musical theater, and improvisation workshops to students in NYC public schools, private schools, camps, and foster care programs seven days a week. She is a graduate of British American Drama Academy, Tufts University (Bachelor of Science) and Columbia University (MFA in Acting). Check her out at www.StacyDavidowitz.com.
Amy Handelsman is a writer, story consultant and dramaturg for film, television and theater in New York and Los Angeles. Among the places she has worked as an executive or producer are HBO, Showtime, Disney, Warner Bros, and Tri-Star. She serves on the Artistic Council of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center and is an Adjunct Professor in the Creative Writing & Literature department at Stony Brook University. Amy has also taught Dramatic Writing at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and Literacy Skills at Girls Prep, an all-girls charter middle school in the South Bronx. She likes monsters of all kinds, and still has her childhood collection of trolls.
Jane LeCroy is a poet, performance artist and educator who fronts the band The Icebergs and was a part of Sister Spit, the famed west coast women’s poetry troupe. Since 1997 Jane has been publishing student work and teaching writing, literature and performance to all ages through artist-in-the-schools organizations such as Teachers & Writers Collaborative and DreamYard, and as adjunct faculty at the university level. Her poetry book, Names was published by Booklyn as part of the award winning ABC chapbook series, purchased by the Library of Congress along with her braid! Signature Play, her multimedia book from Three Rooms Press, features a poem that was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
Monica Wendel’s first book, No Apocalypse, was selected by Bob Hicok as the winner of the Georgetown Review Press Poetry Manuscript Contest. She is also the author of three chapbooks, most recently English Kills, which won the Autumn House Press Coal Hill Review Chapbook Contest. She holds an MFA from New York University, where she was awarded Goldwater and Starworks teaching fellowships. After a brief stint in Orlando, Florida, as Jack Kerouac Writer in Residence, she is now an assistant professor of composition and creative writing at St. Thomas Aquinas College.
Emma Jonesis a poet and novelist as well as 2011-2015 Uptown Stories alumna and Washington Heights native. Her work in prose and poetry has been accoladed by Scholastic, the Poetry Society of London, and the Foundation for Letters. She is currently pursuing a degree in Literary Studies at Eugene Lang College at The New School, where she was awarded the Lang First Year Writing Prize in 2019. She is a self-taught graphic artist and learned literary interior design at Hachette Book Group in New York.
See what parents, teachers and students have to say about Uptown Stories.
Jodi – Parent
Listening to our child talk about what happens in the class and how everyone is clearly part of a family, a team that supports each other's growth, makes our heart smile.
Cecilia – Parent
We are so grateful that we found Uptown Stories! It's a wonderful place for young writers to explore their craft in our neighborhood.
Mara – Parent
I think Sofia's writing has become clearer, stronger and more sophisticated, both in what she's written for the writing class, and what she's written for school assignments. Uptown Stories has helped her tune in to her writing in a way she was not doing before.
Olive – Student
I am now more motivated to finish what I'm writing.
Stacey – Parent
Our daughter’s writing has improved in that it now includes more descriptive sentences which flow really well. Her story written in class was very descriptive with many details and very easy to follow.
Adriana – Student
We did a game where we wrote something on a piece of paper and passed it around so that the others could add onto it. That was my favorite thing we did at Uptown Stories, because we ended up with a funny story at the end.
Sabrina – Parent
Top notch. The writing assignments are thoughtful, thought-provoking and age appropriate.
Jack – Student
On a scale of one to ten I would put a ten!
Lori – Parent
The quality of teaching is superb. The teachers have the chance to get to know each child, and, due to the small class size, the feedback is very specific. Also, witnessing the other children critique the writing is remarkable - the children are kind and respectful, but very honest. This format that no doubt aids the children in their confidence and skills as writers.
Selina – Student
Now I understand what an author goes through. Before I always wondered how an author could write something so amazing and now I know the process!
Deborah – Parent
I love the teaching style, because it allows the student to dig into what they may be having trouble reaching by themselves. I believe that 'less is more' is the way to go, but as an effective teaching technique it’s not easy to achieve.
Charlotte – Student
Uptown Stories definitely helped me grow as a writer: I now add details without thinking twice and know what I struggle in as well as what my stronghold is. Being in an environment that I feel comfortable about sharing my writing in has also helped.
Laura – Parent
He spends time now writing his own stories down. Even when class is not in session!
Rizvan – Student
This workshop really helped my writing, because my teachers and peers pointed out some habits that I have that can be changed for next time.
Myra – Parent
Thank you for providing such a creative, nurturing haven for budding writers! In this age of tweets, texts, and fast communication, it is wonderful that our children have the opportunity to stop, think, and write.
Rekaya – Student
The intimate roundtable atmosphere really works for me.
Francesca – Parent
Our daughter is much more excited about sharing her work and is willing to make changes to see what happens. She is not just automatically wed to the first way it comes out; instead, she has a much more serious commitment to the process and her standards are much higher.
Sofia – Student
I have been part of Uptown Stories for a while and I am very proud of how it has grown, helping many young aspiring writers like myself.
Becke – Parent
As far as I can tell, the quality of teaching is superb. While I can't describe exactly what goes on in the classes, I don't think I need to either. The effect the classes have had on our son speaks for itself and the readings are the icing on the cake. It’s part of being a writer, after all, which means they are able to exercise skills that they will need to develop
Graydon – Student
Before Uptown Stories, I thought writing was a way to express your ideas, but now I realize that writing is more of a trait that everyone can use to create awesome things.
Cari – Parent
There seems to be a sense of community that has developed, even with the differences in gender, age and interests.
Siena – Student
I loved being able to share stories and give feedback to everyone.
Beulah – Parent
I think my daughter has a greater appreciation for the process of writing, rather than just wanting to finish something so it's done and can be turned in. She takes great pride in what she's written and I think the creative process that has been encouraged in the class has helped her open up as a person. She is starting to recognize the importance of being able to write and the value of being able to write well.
Tate – Student
It helped me grow as a writer, because I was able to read my work to an audience and see firsthand how they felt about it.
Melisa – Parent
Our daughter has become more aware of what a writer wants to convey in a story when she reads, because of her new understanding of who writers are. She pays attention to what the writer wants the readers to get from a story and how they use different techniques to accomplish their goal, many of them similar to the ones she is learning herself at Uptown Stories.
Hugh – Student
I used to write in a disorganized manner whenever I felt like it. The class gave me a push to actually finish things or at least think about them in a different light.
Rachel – Parent
My child is more eager to write, it’s not just a chore anymore.
Anna – Student
The thing I love about our teachers is that they aren’t like teachers at school; they really relate to what we say and understand us not only as students but as writers and people.
Uptown Stories offers a stimulating and encouraging refuge and outlet for her students. The weekly assignments offer different approaches for my son to consider how to tell his stories and how to develop his characters. They also offer insights into their own creative process while also providing ways for him to learn about the structure and forms that contribute to storytelling.
Beatrice – Student
It's an outlet for a lot of feelings I don't really have anywhere to express otherwise. It feels like a private space for me that I only I can really understand--no one other than me really knows what I mean in what I write. Writing helps me express to other people feelings I wouldn't know how to tell in another manner.
Miriam – Parent
Thank you so very much for contributing such a positive writing experience for my son. He truly loved his time with the class. His eyes were so lit up and happy when he returned home each evening from class. Through your class his love of writing was reignited.
Annie – Parent
Her writing has improved tremendously. She´s more descriptive in her scenes. Her imagination travels far more that what she herself expects. She loves writing. She can sit for hours and let her imagination fly. She’s happy when she has to attend her writing workshops.
Catherine – Parent
My son can sometimes struggle with feedback, even constructive feedback, and he never seemed discouraged or disappointed. He loved to go to the class, but the class was also very focused.