supporting teachers’ longing for creativity & ease.
Ellie Foster was named the Wisconsin Secondary Teacher of the Year in 2013 for her work supporting students as they uncover the story their heart longs to tell. Her students published their own books, produced documentary films to chronicle stories of both injustice and beauty in their community, and co-created a community service curriculum called Be the Source Project.
Ellie relinquished the award in order to attend graduate school at University of Colorado at Boulder where she is currently pursuing a PhD in literacy education, researching creativity, vulnerability and emotion in school writing and asking students how school writing practices, across genres and modes, can be more meaningful for them.
In her work as a teacher educator with undergraduate pre-service teachers, Ellie has found that nourishing and supporting teachers’ creative practices, like writing and digital storytelling, plays a central role in encouraging inclusion of these kinds of practices in classroom literacy curriculum and supports new teachers in developing self-care practices. Her classes seek to inspire current and future teachers to cultivate a personal writing practice and to draw on this practice as a personally meaningful method of reflecting on their lives. In all teaching contexts, Ellie has seen the way the narrative arts offer writers deep joy, invite moments of great insight, and strengthens connections between students and teachers. She is dedicated to using her life to support the making of art and the meaning that comes from creative expression.
As a child, Ellie was often found in sequined costumes writing stories and covering everything in glitter in the tiny crawlspace under the stairs; she can still be found looking beneath her bootsoles for a scrap of paper or a tiny pebble to place in her leather bag, the whisper of the next great story.