Edwin Maldonado

Teaching Artist, Executive Director, Co-Founder

Edwin “Ed Koch” Maldonado Jr. is a performance artist, teacher, and community organizer from the South Bronx, now living in Austin, Texas. Born in New York City, Edwin spent eight years as a professional actor and appeared in many commercials, movies, and TV shows, including "Sesame Street", "The Cosby Show", "Another World", to "Reading Rainbow". After moving to Austin in 2010, Texas, Edwin began competing as a slam poet. He has represented Austin at the Southern Fried Poetry Slam and Southwest Shootout tournaments as a five-time member and coach of the “B Sides” slam team. He even lived in Buffalo, NY for a year and competed as a three-time member and coach of Buffalo’s Pure Ink team, taking first place at all three regional tournaments. Ed is currently serving as the Executive Director of the Speak Piece Poetry Project- Austin's youth slam collective and teaching artist program. 

Brently Caballero

Teaching Artist, Co-Founder

Brently Caballero is the 2008 Texas Youth Word Collective Slam Champion as well as the 2012 Neo Soul Poetry Lounge Slam Champion. In 2010, Youth Speaks selected him to be a member of Future Core: a group of poets that serve as torch bearers for the Brave New Voices International Festival.  He has a deep appreciation for the impact that the literary arts has had and continues to have on his life. He now strives to serve Texas' community of young writers by helping provide an encouraging ethos in and outside of schools in order for students to find and develop their voices. He believes in young peoples' ability to take their narrative in their hands.  He knows not every student is a poet, playwright, or author-to-be, but he also understands that literacy is always a necessity and spoken word poetry is an innovative and proven way of approaching this personal, local and national priority.

Jennine DOC Wright

Teaching Artist, Co-Founder

Jennine “DOC” Krueger is a wife, mother, writer, slam champ, artivist and educator in Austin, Texas. She has competed in the Women of the World competition, Southern Fried competition, Southwest Shootout competition and has been on multiple National Poetry Slam teams to include Killeen Poetry Slam that placed 2nd overall in the nation in 2012 and Neo Soul Poetry Slam coming in 1st in the nation in the group piece finals in 2013, 2nd in 2014, and 3rd in 2015. She was just named as the coach for the 2016 Austin Poetry Slam national team and was a featured local poet for Austin International Poetry Fest 2016. Jennine is currently teaching in the English department at Huston-Tillotson University and serves as a mentor to writers in youth programs and organizations in the local area. Jennine currently has one chapbook titled A Long Time Coming and a CD titled Real Talk. She was recently involved in projects for The Short Fringe in the Fontera Fest at Hyde Park Theater and The Vagina Monologues. She is currently a student in Spalding University's MFA program for poetry.

MarZAI Sadler

Teaching Artist

Zai Sadler is writer from Austin Tx. She has been writing since the age of about 10 and was published for the 1st time in 4th grade. She has earned titles such as Austin poetry slam champ 2015. 5th in the nation with Austin Poetry slam in 2013. 1st in group piece finals with Austin Neo Soul 2012. 4th in the nation with Austin Neo Soul 2010. She has shared stages with artist such as Beau Sia and the legendary Nikki Giovanni. Zai has released a mixtape and chapbook, toured the country and internationally, and performed at venues and colleges all over. She is currently working on new material for a chapbook and cd slated to release spring/summer of 2016.

Danny Strack

Teaching Artist

Dny is a two time National Poetry Slam champion in the group competition as a team member and a coach. He was coach of the 2015 National Group Slam Champion & Southern Fried Champion Teams, 2012 NPS Group Slam Champions, 2010 Austin Slam Champion, 2007 Southwest Shootout Individual Champion, and he served as Slammaster of the Austin Poetry Slam from 2011 – 2016.

 

Outside of the slam world, Dny is a tech writer, graphic designer, online marketer, maze creator, juggler, circus performer, and aspiring science fiction author. He has released 11 books of original poetry and artwork. He is also playwright of 2 fully produced and well-received works by Sky Candy Aerial Arts – The Time Machine (2012) & The Circus (2013).

 

Dny teaches performance poetry workshops in primary schools and colleges. His work is frequently used by students in poetry interpretation competitions. Dny is happy to be alive

LaSondra Nicole

Teaching Artist

LaSondra “Soups” Nicole is a poet, teaching artist, & environmentalist living in Austin, TX. As a poet, Soups competed with the Austin Poetry Slam team in 2016 & made final stage with Team Backhouse at Button Poetry’s Rustbelt Slam. Currently Soups is working on a multi-media art project with the National Parks Art Foundation covering the stages of grief from the perspective of joy.

Victoria Prescot

Teaching Artist

Victoria Prescott is from San Antonio, TX and living in Austin, TX. She is a poet, social justice educator, and 90’s tv show enthusiast who is focused on how communities can heal through art and stories. She has work published in the Thing Itself, Pressure Gauge Press, Button Poetry, and Write About Now. She feels so truly fortunate to be able to take part in the beautiful and necessary poetry communities in Texas.

Vi Medard

Teaching Artist

Sheenika Medard is a first-generation West-Indian American poet, performer, educator and organizer. After competing at Brave New Voices 2010 with the Austin TheySpeak youth team, she was inspired to spread the art of spoken word and slam as a viable platform for both literacy and as a tool of change. She has since begun programs in her home country of St. Lucia, and has appeared on several stages across the world. She recently participated in the Youth Speaks Future Corps Fellowship and launched the #FirstGenWoes and #SpeakWithoutCage initiatives. She intends to use her work in different mediums to further level the playing field for women, ethnic groups and the youth. She firmly believes that recording our stories in history is leaving a road for future generations to follow and by openly discovering and expressing our truth, we leave a framework behind for others to do the same. She is excited and honored to be a part of this team and cannot wait to begin the work of building opportunities for the youth to speak up!

Christina T. Romero

Teaching Artist

Christina Romero is a teacher, a performer, and a life-long learner. She graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a BFA in Theater Education and has spent the subsequent years establishing her approach to teaching literacy through the arts. While teaching Performing Arts in Beijing, Christina performed regularly at Spittoon Poetry’s monthly meetings and spearheaded their budding Slam Poetry events. She is an Austin Poetry Slam champion and participated in the 2017 Women of the World poetry slam qualifier. She believes that the marriage between written expression and performance is crucial in developing self-awareness, strong communication skills, and leadership. It is her hope to cultivate a learning environment that is safe, challenging, and inspiring in order to bring meaningful change through storytelling and community engagement. She currently teaches English Language Arts to grades 5-7.

Jordan Cooley

Teaching Artist

Jordan Cooley is a recent A&M English grad who is painfully growing out a buzzcut. While at A&M, she was the owner and slam master of Mic Check poetry, ran weekly open mics and workshops at local high schools and the Juvenile Justice Center of Bryan, and was the director of two national poetry competitions, Texas Grand Slam and Speak Up Speak Out. 

 

Currently, she is a free-lance editor, writer, and teaching artist while also working at Picnik as a barista. She has work in or forthcoming in FIVE:2:ONE, Pressure Gauge Press, Write About Now Poetry, and others. As a writer, artist, and teacher, she does her best not only to speak her truth but also honor the truth in others.

Joe Brundidge

Teaching Artist

Joe Brundidge is an author, host, teaching artist and public speaker living in Austin, Texas. He has hosted a number of open mic events for almost 20 years, including Spoken & Heard at Kick Butt Coffee, an event he curated from 2007-2017. He also served as the Director of the Austin International Poetry Festival from 2012-2015, and is currently a co-host of "Writing On The Air" Wednesdays from 6p-7p on KOOP 91.7fm. His most recent book "Element 615" was published by Lit City Press in 2017.

Glori Atoms

School Liaison/Advisor

Gloria Adams is a poet, teacher, and mother based in Austin, TX. She has been teaching at Burnet Middle School in Austin Independent School District since 2012, after graduating with a B.A. in English Language Arts Education from St. Edward’s University. She has taught middle school reading and math, and tutored the SAT. In the slam community, she has served as Secretary of Austin Poetry Slam for three years. She has represented Austin Poetry Slam, Austin Neo Soul, and Write About Now at PSi events including the Individual World poetry Slam, the Women of the World Poetry Slam, and the National Poetry Slam, where she won the honor of NPS Group Piece Champion in 2013 with Neo Soul and again in 2015 with APS. As Founder and Managing Editor of Piecemeal Press, Gloria has published five poetry chapbooks of her own, as well as books for six other poets.

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