2016 Young Writer's Camp Staff

Camp Director, Nancy Vitali

Nancy DabitNancy Dabit's teaching career started in a fifth grade classroom. After two years in an elementary classroom, Nancy decided to specialize in one subject area, English. She is now in her 7th year of teaching and is currently an English Language Arts teacher at Moultrie Middle School. She is a Charleston native, attending Charleston County Public schools from kindergarten to high school. She went on to earn her Bachelor's Degree in Education from the College of Charleston. She just recently completed her National Board and earned certification. In 2012, she was titled Charleston County Teacher of the Year. Her enthusiasm for reading, writing, and teaching is contagious in the classroom.

Teacher, Natalie Harden

NatalieNatalie Harden is a returning for her 4th year as a Young Writer's Camp instructor. She has thirteen years of experience in the elementary classroom and teaches 3rd grade at Sullivan's Island Elementary. Natalie is National Board Certified and has Masters in Education from Cambridge College. In addition, she has future twin Young Writers Camp campers- in- training at home.

Teacher, Keith Johnson

Keith Johnson is our newest staff member, having completed the Invitational Summer Institute in 2015. Born in Biloxi, MS, he eventually found his way to Summerville, where he graduated from Summer HS in 1998 before attending Graceland University, where he earned a degree in Communications with an emphasis on writing. He now teaches 8th grade at Rollings Middle School of the Arts, where he has been for several years, and where he also does impersonations of Storm Troopers in his spare time.

Guest Teacher, Laura Critchley

Laura CritchleyLaura Critchley, an ELA teacher at Moultrie Middle School, has been teaching public and private school for over 10 years. She has lived and studied all over the country and attended The George Washington University in Washington, DC, where she double majored in Theatre and Dramatic Literature, as well as UCLA and NYU, where she studied playwriting and screen writing. Laura received her Masters of Teaching Arts in English from the joint program at The Citadel. Also a Drama teacher, she has directed over 15 student productions, including Once Upon A Mattress, Willy Wonka, and Oklahoma. In her spare time, she works on her novel (don't we all), forces people to listen to "cute" stories about her cats, buys handbags she can't afford, tries to mellow out her husband, and generally worries about unimportant stuff.

Guest Author, Julian Simmons

Julian Simmons has a B.A. degree in Communication and has been writing short stories for over 15 years. His passion is teaching young readers the importance of composing and telling their own narratives through creative writing.

His children’s novel The Writer’s Table, which focuses on a 10-year-old boy named Alden Rowe who discovers he can travel into his own stories via his grandfather’s magical writing table. Alden’s grandfather goes missing sending Alden on a quest for discovery, but along the way hidden secrets about the writing table are revealed, putting Alden in a race against time.
Julian’s book teaches children about the importance of family, friendship, and the magnitude that the smallest of words can have on people and the world. His book includes an exciting approach to teaching literary elements (such as plot, narrative mode, setting, etc.) to young readers by making the elements tangible within the story. Young people are urged to use their senses as they embark in Alden’s descriptive worlds.