S.F. Bay Area contacts:

Sondra Hall, Founding Director/Instructor

Emily Phillips, Bay Area Program Director/Instructor

Susan Shay, Online Content Coordinator

Julia Martin, Social Media Manager


Erin Carini, Jessica Dotter, Julian Mithra, Emily Phillips,  Austin Salzwedel, Joseph Shumake, Ani Tascian and Flora Tsapovsky


Boston contact:

Christine Meade, Boston Program Director


Elle Chu, Ariella Javaheri, Rishka Mehra

Sondra Hall.jpg

Sondra Hall, Founding Director Sondra's inspiration as an artist-educator is fueled by her belief in the power of the written word to transform both teacher and student. She’s seen first hand that when kids’ imaginations are ignited, they're more engaged and enthusiastic about learning. Because she thinks a lot of students spend too little of their school day crafting stories, swimming in their imaginations and applying their creative spark to the page, she conceived of "Take My Word For It!" as a way to bring the adventure that is writing to elementary school kids.

The latest interview with Sondra:

Christine Meade, Boston Program Director With dreams of becoming a novelist since before she could read, Christine received her MFA in Creative Writing from California College of the Arts in May 2010 following her BA in English/Journalism from Northeastern University in 2006. Christine began her career as a reporter and later worked as a copywriter and creative writing instructor. After a six-year stint in California, she returned to the sweaty summers and numbing winters of her native Boston. When not writing, she coordinates writing programs for students and enjoys reading, hiking and walking her tiny dog.


Emily Phillips, Bay Area Program Director Emily has worked with Bay Area youth of all ages in several different capacities, as a creative writing teacher for elementary school kids with Take My Word For It! and SF Arts Ed, as the Middle School After School Program Coordinator at Oakland School for the Arts, and as a high school tutor, mentor, and substitute teacher. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from California College of the Arts in 2008 and when she's not doing fifteen things at once coordinating our growing writing program, she writes as much as possible.


Susan Shay, Online Content Coordinator Susan has been an operations & marketing consultant for over 10 years. Her clients stretch from coast to coast and include health & wellness professionals, yoga studios & arts organizations. Exercising her creative muscles, Susan has worked on & off stage in New York, Chicago, DC and San Francisco as an actor, stage manager, dramaturg and designer. She is a graduate of Georgetown University (BA, English Literature) and a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association. Her favorite audiences are under the age of 12, as they allow their imaginations to enrich storytelling - on stage and on the page!

Julia Martin, Social Media Manager Julia has always loved to read, write and travel. She was an exchange student in Holland in high school and continues to work with high school exchange students and write curriculum for cultural adaption orientations. She has a degree in International Relations from SF State and enjoyed a fast paced and exciting marketing career in San Francisco and New York City. In 2005, she decided to jump off the corporate ladder to slow down and enjoy her two kids. During the last ten years, she founded a support group for parents of kids with Sensory Processing Disorder and has been an active volunteer at her kids' schools. Her eldest son has several learning disabilities and struggles with school. However, the creative process that "Take My Word For It!" employs engaged him and showcased his creativity for the first time. A year later she had the opportunity to come and work for "Take My Word It!" and jumped on it. "I feel lucky that my job is to help find resources and creative ideas to inspire teachers and young people, nourishing their love of reading and writing."