Our Faculty

Writing & Expressive Arts

Allyson Jacob

Allyson is the founder of Yeah Write!, a series of creative writing classes for tweens and teens.

Read more

She draws on her experience working as a professional writer, tutor, and high school English teacher to coach young writers in developing their writing voices, their self-confidence in sharing their work with others, and their ability to become deep listeners. Learn more about Allyson at www.yeahwrite.fun and www.allysonjacob.com

Lisa Lipkind Leibow

Lisa holds an MA in Writing with a concentration in fiction from The Johns Hopkins University.

Read more

She teaches writing in the DC area, including at Johns Hopkins University, Northern Virginia Community College, George Washington University, and The Writers Center. She’s a 2017 Novel Finalist for the William Falkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Award.

Ron Shapiro

Ron, a 41-year veteran of teaching English in both Delaware and Fairfax County, holds a BA from the University of Delaware and a master’s degree in the teaching of writing from Northeastern University.

Read more

He was recognized with an outstanding teacher award from Cornell University, and he serves as a teacher consultant with the Northern Virginia Writing Project. Shapiro has facilitated writing workshops at Goodwin House West and Bard’s Alley, and teaches a memoir writing course for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at George Mason.

Deborah Ross

Deborah leads the expressive writing program at The Shop.

Read more

A 20+ year veteran in the world of individual and couple’s psychotherapy, Deborah retired in 2015 to immerse herself full-time in her passion for teaching journaling and other forms of expressive writing. Deborah is the co-author, with Kathleen Adams, of Your Brain on Ink, which delves into the neuroscience research that supports using writing to create new neural pathways that lead to resilience, vitality, greater peace of mind, and improved well-being.   A faculty member of the Therapeutic Writing Institute, she is also a certified instructor of Journal to the Self, an internationally known program that teaches a comprehensive array of journaling techniques to foster personal growth, creative expression and life enrichment. On top of all of this, Deborah is a font of information on every farmer’s market in the area, where to buy the best cheese, and her newest adventure is learning to row.

Jessica Piscitelli Robinson

Jessica is the founder of the storytelling organization Better Said Than Done

Read more

She’s been writing fiction since elementary school, and went on to writing scripts and studying filmmaking at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and has been a regular commentator on WAMU, DC’s NPR station. Prior to discovering storytelling for the stage, she ran a screenwriting workshop for six years. Jessica performed her first story in 2007 and has been addicted ever since – performing stories for Story District, Fan-Freaking-Tastic, TEDx, the Grapevine, McLean Bible Church, Stories in the Round, the Reston Nature House and any venue or corporate event in need of a great story. She has led storytelling workshops for Marie Stopes International, INOVA Fairfax Hospital, Johns Hopkins University, AHRQ and for several non profit and corporate clients, as well as regularly teaching Better Said Than Done storytelling workshops. Her urban fantasy novel, Caged, was published in October 2016 and she’s a co-author of the anthology Roar: True Tales of Women Warriors. www.bettersaidthandone.com

Rachel Nusbaum

Rachel is a partner, mom, daughter, and sister who writes in pursuit of connection with herself and others.

Read more

Sharing the journey of her son’s diagnosis of congenital heart disease on a national stage was the inspiration behind Rachel’s creative business, Orchid Story, LLC (orchidstory.com). The mission of Orchid Story is to empower individuals to tell their stories of struggle as a path to finding freedom and meaning. Rachel has worked professionally as a genetic counselor for over a decade. Her love of teaching has been shared with a wide range of students from kindergarteners to graduate and medical students at Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University and University of Maryland. She lives with her husband and two kids in Vienna, VA.

Michelle Keeley

Michelle has been creating for as long as she can remember.

Read more

From knitting, crocheting, tatting, and embroidery as a teen, to quilling and glass engraving later on, she supports her habit by teaching in a local craft shop and participating in numerous craft shows.  A few years ago she discovered Zentangle, and the calming effect it had was both a welcome relief of stress and a process that fed her creative impulses. Michelle has been fortunate to share the healing benefits of Zentangle through teaching in various venues including The Workhouse Art Center in Lorton, Va., and by participating in gallery exhibits in NY and DC. She lives in Herndon, VA with her wonderful husband, 2 cats and dog-getting used to being empty nesters while her boys attend college in the St Louis area. Life is good!

Shona D’Cruz

Shona teaches Mosaics and Scrapbooking summer camps for children.

Read more

She has 14 years of combined experience teaching young children, both with special needs as well as typically developing children in both private and public school settings. She has served as a director of summer camps, and is currently a substitute teacher with the Fairfax County Public School system. Shona creates mosaic jewelry and functional mosaic art, and enjoys paper quilling as well.  She received her M.A in Early Childhood Special Education from The George Washington University, and an M.A. Industrial Psychology and Organizational Behavior from the University of Mumbai, India.

Caroline Hockenberry

Caroline has been a knitter her whole life, and a spinner for over 20 years.

Read more

Her passion for fiber led her to teaching, and working in a retail yarn shop for over a decade.  She loves education, opening the door to beginners, or expanding the horizons of more experienced fiber people.  In her classes and events, she’s found the kindred spirit between fiber friends, whether knitters, spinners, hand-dyers or fiber producers, is creatively uplifting and inspiring.  She’s taught students from children to seniors, and always finds the same joy and encouragement when “Fibernating” in all age groups.  There is a tangible feeling of connection and community when knitters and spinners are together, and her goal is to encourage more students, and create more opportunities for gathering to share this powerful creative energy.  She owns Fibernate LLC, a fiber arts company that educates, organizes fiber arts events, and sells spinning wheels and equipment. Her patterns are available in her www.ravelry.com pattern store, and she has also been published in Spin-off magazine. www.fibernate.com

Mindfulness, Philosophy & Spirituality

Trisha Stotler

Trisha is the founder and Director of The Insight Shop.

Read more

A long-time student and teacher of meditation, she has a keen interest in the study of consciousness, and how we can use these insights to lead happier, more meaningful lives. She co-leads a weekly drop-in meditation group in Vienna, and is the creator of the yearlong course Bringing Mindfulness to Life. Among her certifications are Spiritual Direction under the guidance of the Sisters of Mercy, Depth Hypnosis with Dr. Isa Gucciardi, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction training with Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli, and Mindful Schools training in K-12 education.  She is also a teacher with the Insight Meditation Community of Washington (IMCW), and leads classes and residential retreats in the DC area.

Corinne Krill

Corinne, M.A., E-RYT and CTSY, teaches stress-reduction and healing techniques to adults and children of all ages and abilities through mindfulness, breath and movement, with a particular emphasis on teens and young adults, as well as those managing PTSD.

Read more

In fall 2017, she joined GWU as an adjunct professor teaching yoga and meditation courses. Corinne has also worked with MINDS Inc., a non-profit bringing mindfulness practices to local school communities in northern Virginia. In her role, she directed and oversaw programming for close to 2,000 students and over 700 adults. Corinne has received over 500 hours in training in different modalities, including Trauma Sensitive Yoga, MBSR-T (Mindfulness Based Stress-Reduction for Teens), Mindful Schools Curriculum, Radiant Child Yoga and Yoga for Differently-Abled Children.

Rachel Stott

Rachel, MDiv., has worked in various forms of ministry including parish work, teaching, guiding retreats and college Campus Ministry.

Read more

After graduating from Georgetown University with a degree English and a minor in Philosophy, she participated in the Quest program, a year of volunteer work while living in Christian community in D.C.  It was a life-changing year.  After returning to Georgetown to work in Campus Ministry, she went to the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley and earned her Masters in Divinity, graduating with Distinction.  Rachel lives in Vienna with her husband, Steve Soulé, and their 3 teenage children.

Karyn Sandleman

Karyn is the Lead Teacher and Principal of A Mindful Choice, LLC, which offers secular mindfulness programs to diverse audiences in businesses, schools, organizations, and community settings.

Read more

She is also the Director of Elementary and Adult Programs for Minds Incorporated, a non-profit organization that brings mindfulness to youth and their adult communities in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Karyn teaches Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), trained by the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts, and a Certified Instructor for Mindful Schools.  In addition to holding senior corporate managerial positions for over 20, Karyn has also served on boards of directors for numerous non-profit organizations and has always been an avid volunteer.   She earned her Master of Science degree from Columbia University and Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University. www.amindfulchoice.com

Personal Growth and Leadership

Bill Weech

Bill is an award-winning leadership trainer, executive coach, and management consultant.

Read more

Because of his more than two decades of experience in leadership development, the Department of State entrusted Bill to redesign its leadership training for both new American ambassadors and new senior executives. As a consultant, Bill has designed and facilitated workshops on topics such as teambuilding, strategic planning, conflict resolution, and process improvement. Bill is certified in a variety of psychological assessment tools, including the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, FIRO B, and the Eisenhower School’s EADP. Bill has also earned executive coaching credentials from Coach U, the Newfield Network, and Coaches Training Institute, as well as sports coaching certificates from the U.S. Soccer Federation and Cycling USA.

Now retired, Bill fills his time with service activities such as visiting hospice patients, teaching financial literacy to teenagers, and mentoring. Bill lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, four children, and two step-children.

Friderike Butler

Chief Human Potential & Possibilities Catalyst of Butler Communication

Read more

Friderike Butler, Chief Human Potential & Possibilities Catalyst of Butler Communication, is a successful serial entrepreneur, who built several businesses in the travel, IT and communication sector before applying her experience to leadership development and professional performance improvement as a trainer, facilitator and coach. Story typing is one of her favorite tools to effectively unveil the core values and motivators of her clients. She experienced the power of story typing for herself when she fully embraced her own story type and her supporting cast of characters.

Bebe Hansen

Bebe integrates her extensive business experience with her psychotherapy background to coach leaders, teams and organizations in building leadership skills and capacities.

Read more

She is a leadership coach, consultant and trainer, and holds certifications from Presence-Based® Coaching, the Strozzi Institute and the Enneagram Institute.  Bebe also delivers leadership development training around the Washington, DC metro area.  She holds a BA in Business and a MS in Social Work, and is an PCC credentialed coach through ICF.  Bebe serves on the core Presence-Based Coaching faculty and teaches the Mentor Coaching Course. She practices yoga and meditation, whips up tasty meals with family and friends, and occasionally can be found sailing the Potomac. www.opentheflow.com

"In Your Backyard" Environmental Sustainability

Steven Youssef

Steven is the co-founder, with James Corbett, of the organizations Sequential Soils and Hive Hive.

Read more

Sequential Soils produces and sells worm castings for the creation of high quality compost and compost teas, which form a vibrant and bacteria-resistant substrate for container and raised bed gardening.  Hive Hive provides educational seminars on the topic of beekeeping, and hands-on management of bee hives for large farms and small producers across Northern Virginia. After a 15-year career in economic development with  USAID, Steven “dropped out” to pursue his passion for sustainable agriculture and gardening, including a love of pollinators.  Steven lives with his wife and kids in Vienna, Va.