Board of Trustees
AWP is governed by a board of trustees who represent the creative writing programs and individual members of AWP. Trustees serve four-year terms. The board includes the chairs of regional councils of creative writing programs.
Writers in the Schools (WITS)
Susan Jackson Rodgers
Western Council Chair (2017-2021)
Oregon State University
Susan Jackson Rodgers is the author of the novel This Must Be the Place and two story collections: The Trouble With You Is and Ex-Boyfriend on Aisle 6. Her fiction has appeared in journals such as New England Review, North American Review, Glimmer Train, Beloit Fiction Journal, Midwestern Gothic, Colorado Review, Quick Fiction, and Prairie Schooner. She earned her MFA from Bennington College, and is the past recipient of two Kansas Arts Commission Fellowships and two Pushcart Prize Special Mentions. Susan teaches creative writing and literature at Oregon State University, where she also directs the MFA program. She and her husband have three children and live in Corvallis, Oregon.
Southwest Council Chair (2017-2021)
Paradise Valley Community College
Ryan Stone is the Director of the Creative Writing Program at Paradise Valley Community College in Phoenix, AZ. His short story collection, Best Road Yet, was published by Press 53 (2010). His stories have appeared widely in journals including The South Carolina Review, Wisconsin Review, Karamu, RE:AL, and others. T Director for Young Authors of Arizona, the statewide affiliate for the Scholastic Writing Awards, he is a former Vice President and President for the Two-Year College Creative Writing Caucus.
Bonnie Culver—playwright, screenwriter, and novelist—is the co-founder and director of the Wilkes University Low Residency Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. She is an associate professor of English at Wilkes, where she has served in various capacities over the past twenty years: faculty member, college dean, and program director. She has written over twenty plays, many of which have been produced by community, regional, and university theatres and equity companies from New York to Los Angeles. She has received individual and institutional grants and awards from the New York State Council on the Arts, the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, and the Maslow Foundation, among others. She has served on several not-for-profit and for-profit advisory boards.
Southern Methodist University
David Haynes is the author of six novels for adults and five books for younger readers. He is an associate professor of English at Southern Methodist University, where he directs the creative writing program. He also teaches regularly in the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. His sixth and most recent novel is The Full Matilda. He is also the author of a series for children called “The West Seventh Wildcats.” David spent fifteen years as a teacher in urban schools, mostly teaching middle grades in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He worked on numerous school reform efforts, including developing the influential Saturn School of Tomorrow, where he served as Associate Teacher for Humanities. He has been involved in the work of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, coordinating efforts of the nation’s finest educators to develop standards in the fields of social studies, vocational education, early childhood education, and for teachers of students whose first language is not English.
Mike Astrue has served in senior roles in four Administrations, including Commissioner of Social Security, General Counsel of HHS, and Associate Counsel to the President. He has also been a chief executive officer and board member of many publicly traded biotechnology companies. Under the pen name A.M. Juster, he has published two books of original poetry and four books of translated poetry. His most recent books are Tibullus' Elegies (Oxford University Press 2012), Saint Aldhelm's Riddles (University of Toronto Press 2015), and Sleaze & Slander (Measure Press 2016).
Midwest Council Chair (2017-2021)
Normandale Community College
Kris Bigalk (pronounced BEE-yahk) is the author of the poetry collection Repeat the Flesh in Numbers; her work also appears in several anthologies. She has received two Minnesota State Arts Board Individual Artist in Poetry grants and a Minnesota State Board of Trustees Award for Excellence in Teaching. Bigalk serves as Director of Creative Writing at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minnesota, where she founded the first AFA in Creative Writing program based on AWP Recommendations on the Teaching of Creative Writing to Undergraduates and AWP Hallmarks of an Effective Program in Creative Writing at a Two-Year College.
University of Tampa
Erica Dawson is the author of three books of poetry: When Rap Spoke Straight to God (Tin House, 2018), The Small Blades Hurt (Measure Press, 2014), and Big-Eyed Afraid (Waywiser Press, 2007). She is an associate professor of English and Writing at the University of Tampa, and she serves as Director of the university's low-residency MFA program.
Seattle Arts & Lectures
Ruth Dickey is the Executive Director of Seattle Arts & Lectures, an organization that champions the literary arts by engaging and inspiring readers and writers of all generations in the Puget Sound region. Dickey has received a Mayor’s Arts Award and an Artist Fellowship from the District of Columbia’s Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and her poems and essays have appeared in Alimentum, Baltimore Review, Cincinnati Review, Kaliope, Paper Street, Potomac Review, roger, and Sonora Review. Dickey holds an MFA from UNC-Greensboro, a BS in Foreign Service and an MA in Latin American studies, both from Georgetown University, and has taught poetry workshops in soup kitchens, drop in centers, and across DC public schools.
Kathleen Driskell is program director of Spalding University’s low-residency MFA in Writing Program in Louisville, Kentucky, and the author of the poetry collections Blue Etiquette: Poems, a finalist for the Weatherford Award; Next Door to the Dead, a Kentucky Voices selection by the University Press of Kentucky and winner of the 2018 Judy Gaines Young Book Award; Seed Across Snow, a Poetry Foundation national bestseller; Laughing Sickness, and Peck and Pock: A Graphic Poem. Individual poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Shenandoah, and Rattle, among others, and have been featured in anthologies and online at Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and American Life in Poetry. She founded and served two terms as chair of the Low-Residency MFA Directors’ Caucus which meets annually at the national AWP conference. She is a recipient of the Trustees Outstanding Faculty Award from Spalding University and recently completed her extended term as faculty representative to the Spalding Board of Trustees. Driskell received her MFA in creative writing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Rigoberto González is the author four books of poetry, most recently Unpeopled Eden, which won the Lambda Literary Award and the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets, and ten books of prose, including Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa, which received the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. The recipient of Guggenheim, NEA, and USA Rolón fellowships, a NYFA grant in poetry, the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, The Poetry Center Book Award, and the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, he is a contributing editor for Poets & Writers Magazine and a professor of English at Rutgers-Newark, the State University of New Jersey. In 2015, he received The Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Publishing Triangle. As of 2016, he serves as critic-at-large with the LA Times.
January Gill O’Neil
Northeast Council Chair (2015-2019)
Salem State University
January Gill O’Neil is the author of two poetry collections, Misery Islands and Underlife. Misery Islands was selected for a 2015 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence. It was also selected by Mass Center for the Book as a Must-Read Book for 2015, and it won the 2015 Massachusetts Book Award. She is the executive director of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival, an assistant professor of English at Salem State University, and a Cave Canem Fellow. With Ben Berman, she co-edits poetry for Solstice: A Magazine of Diverse Voices.
WC&C Council Chair (2008-2020)
Write On Door County
Jerod Santek is Executive Director of Write On, Door County, a nonprofit writing and retreat center founded in 2014 on Wisconsin’s northeastern peninsula. Previous to this position, he had been program director at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. He has published poetry and prose in a variety of journals.
Robb Trott is a realtor in the DC metro area. He earned a BA from the University of Virginia, an MFA in creative writing from Queens University, and a JD from the University of Michigan Law School.