Executive Director Celine Kuhn has deep roots at The Telling Room, having been intricately involved in our work for the last eight years. After serving for three years on our board of directors, she became our board chair for an additional three years. Since then, she has chaired our development committee and co-led our Story of Success capital campaign for the Young Writers & Leaders expansion. Celine’s professional background is in public health. She has worked in the areas of primary care research, health policy, and quality improvement for nearly 15 years. She was most recently the program manager of Shared Decision Making, which has meant among many things, embarking on a long listening tour throughout the state to hear Mainers’ stories about their decisions around health care.
Director of Communications Andrew Griswold taught and mentored middle and high school students in Maine, California, and Washington, DC, before joining The Telling Room in 2008. He graduated from Davidson College and earned an MA from Middlebury College's Bread Loaf School of English in 2010. Andrew is an avid music fan and critic, a reader of detective stories, and a grammar nut. He lives in Yarmouth with his wife, his two young sons, and their labradoodle, Hazel.
Patricia Hagge volunteers her time as The Telling Room’s teaching artist in residence. She earned an MFA from USM’s Stonecoast program and put it right to work at The Telling Room in 2006. Since then, she has done everything from paint tables, to edit stories, to move a telephone wire spool out of a boat for The Telling Room, but her favorite thing to do is help students find the stories they have to tell. Much to our benefit, Patty was also a social worker for many years.
Shima Kabirigi is serving with The Telling Room as our Programs Assistant VISTA through the Goodwill VISTA Partnership this year. She'll be working on improving our program coordination to meet increased demand and ensure our program quality remains as high as possible. She attended Pennsylvania State University, but now a senior at the University of Southern Maine, majoring in Business Administration. Before arriving at The Telling Room, she worked for the city of Portland’s General Assistance program. When she is not working, she dedicates her time to a community based project initiative, Center for Immigrant and Community Services, and she enjoys spending time outdoors, African dance, doing puzzles, and rediscovering Portland.
Director of Publications Molly McGrath is a writer and editor, and she integrates the techniques of both trades when teaching our students, and in the past at Waynflete School in Portland where she was also a college counselor, and at schools in Boston and Cambridge. Pink Eraser, an editorial consulting venture, keeps Molly busy, too. Molly has an MFA in creative nonfiction, and lives in Brunswick, with her husband and two young sons.
Volunteer Coordinator Amy W. Raina has been teaching young people in Maine for over a decade. She is a consultant for the National Writer's Project and a Highly Qualified K-8 teacher and graduate of University of Southern Maine's MS.Ed Extended Teacher Education Program (ETEP). Before teaching in the public school system, she worked for local non-profits, teaching anti-violence strategies and sexuality education to students in grades ranging from kindergarten to college. Amy started her career at Maine College of Art, receiving a BFA in Printmaking in 2005. She has been a producer and performer for The Femme Show's East Coast Tour and a contributing writer to the Minerva Rising Literary Journal. She's also a proud MamaBear to two tenacious kiddos and believes that empowering young people with creative tools will quite literally save the planet from destruction.
Office Manager / Development Assistant Rachele Ryan joined the Telling Room in the fall of 2016, after moving to Portland from Brooklyn, New York. She combines over five years of administrative experience with a history of writing-based volunteer work: in the past, she has been a mentor for Girls Write Now and the PEN American Center Prison Writing Program. Rachele graduated from Sarah Lawrence and recently completed her M.F.A. in fiction at Warren Wilson College. When not at work, she enjoys tackling ambitious cooking projects with her husband, learning the flute, and exploring her new city with her dog, Olive.
Development Director Sarah Schneider holds a B.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Maine at Farmington and has studied towards her M.F.A. at Vermont College of Fine Arts. For over nine years, she was the Grants & External Affairs Manager at Maine Family Planning and worked most recently at the Maine Women’s Fund as their Development Coordinator. She remains optimistic that she will someday finish writing a biography of her cousin Doris Cochran, who was an avid weaver and pioneering herpetologist at the Smithsonian. Sarah lives in Portland with her husband and their young daughter.
Program Director Nick Schuller is originally from Boston, attended Earlham College in Indiana, and comes to the Telling Room after working in education for 8 years in Oakland, California. As a classroom teacher and then nonprofit director, Nick worked diligently to create opportunities for students, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. When he's not working, Nick enjoys spending time with his wife and kids, playing tennis, and wondering why he moved back to a place with winter.
Young Writers & Leaders Program Lead Sonya Tomlinson has been teaching with The Telling Room since 2008. Sonya holds a B.F.A. in Design from UNC-Greensboro. Before arriving at The Telling Room she was grants manager at the Maine Women's Fund and spent nine years both on the event staff at Space Gallery and as traffic manager and contributing arts writer at the Portland Phoenix. Her heartstrings are tugged in the direction of teaching high school students self-expression through songwriting and poetry. Sonya lives in Portland with her husband, young son, and cat named Goose. She is currently studying Arabic. And yes, she is also the rapper known as Sontiago.
Teaching Artist Associate Marjolaine Whittlesey grew up in France and came to Maine to go to College of the Atlantic where she focused on literature, ecology and performing arts. Her innate love of teaching quickly took over and for the past ten years she has taught creative writing, French, and theater to students of all ages. When she is not teaching, she works as an actor, director, and theater educator with several companies around Maine, and particularly enjoys juggling the verbal thrills of Shakespeare with the embodied storytelling of physical theater. She loves collaborating with passionate artists and educators who invite students to trust their voice.
Young Emerging Authors Lead Kathryn Williams is the author of three young adult novels — The Debutante; The Lost Summer; and Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff that Made Me Famous, which Publishers Weekly called "a tasty read" — as well as a humorous guide to living with roommates and several Disney junior novels. Her nonfiction has appeared in numerous print and online publications, including Newsweek, The New York Observer, ZEST Maine, and the Barnes and Noble Book Blog. A Southerner born and bred, she holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the Sewanee School of Letters in Sewanee, Tennessee, and can confidently employ the pronoun "y'all."