LAWP Staff

LAWP Teachers


2015 California Teacher of The Year & Los Angeles Writing Project Fellow


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Lovelyn Marquez-Prueher
Eighth grade English teacher
Dodson Middle School
Los Angeles Unified School District

"Go ahead. Dare. Dare to be different. Dare to be the first one. Dare to sound smart, to get caught doing something kind, to be respectful to adults, to help someone in need, to stand up to a bully. Dare to be everything that you think makes you 'not cool.'"

Lovelyn Marquez-Prueher from her 2015 California Teachers of the Year Application

Marquez-Prueher has been teaching for 11 years, six of which have been at Dobson Middle School. She is considered a mentor, a leader, and a promoter of partnerships with parents and the community. As a mentor, she shares her knowledge and expertise with other teachers so together they can make a greater impact on student learning. She is a National Board Certified Teacher and also encourages other teachers to pursue the highest credential they can. She believes that parents are an integral part of education and invites them to share in their children's experiences. If parents are unable to come to the school for conferences, she goes to their homes. "After these visits, her students' work began to improve as reflected by their scores on standardized periodic assessments and their overall attitude about school," wrote Agnes L. Pitlik, assistant principal. As an immigrant child, Marquez-Prueher's own school experience in America had a difficult beginning. But she is proud of the fact that she has come full circle, from being considered an outsider and different to becoming a public school teacher who embraces a philosophy that learning is a journey. "I intend on using what I learn about myself to understand the diversity and culture of every child that walks through my classroom door. Through this, I believe that I can ensure that all students learn to function effectively in today's diverse society," she wrote.



Lelalois Beard, M.F.A., (Secondary Writing Institute),


 Lelalois taught 7th grade Humanities, Creative Writing, and Film/Video Production at New Roads Middle and High School for ten years.  She received her Bachelor of Arts from Mills College in 1994 and her Master of Fine Arts from California Institute of The Arts in 1997. Lelalois became a Los Angeles Writing Project (LAWP) fellow in the 2005 Summer Writing Institute at Cal State L.A.. Currently, she is a consultant and teacher for LAWP's Secondary Writing Institute and a private writing tutor specializing in essay writing. Lelalois is entering her seventh summer teaching with LAWP. In addition, Lelalois is an active independent multi-media filmmaker and enjoys weekend visits to all the major museums in Los Angeles with her two young sons and husband.  


Jacqueline Acosta

Jacky Acosta Picture

Jaqueline Acosta has 15 years of experience working as a public educator with youth both in the United States and abroad. Prior to this, She served in the United States Navy and interned at the Smithosonian Research Center in Edgewater, MD. She knows the value of an education and it's capacity to empower people. She assists students in their education by invigorating their critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity through language arts. Jacqueline received a B.A. in English and a teaching credential from UC Irvine. Later, she graduated with an M.S. in Education with a focus in writing and technology. Recent accomplishments include training at the AVID Summer Institute and certified to instruct a class in Expository Reading & Writing Curriculum (ERWC). She trained with AP by the Sea for both Advanced Placement in Language and Literature as well.
 Currently, she works with grades 9 and 11 Advanced Placement for Language & Composition. On her spare time she traverses the globe, coach varsity tennis and run one of the largest teen community service clubs in the area. And, she joyfully shares her knowledge of learning and experiences…through WRITING  of course.

Amanda Benavides


Amanda Benavides has been an educator for 13 years. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Baylor University and her Master’s degree from Azusa Pacific University. Mrs. Benavides became a Writer’s Project Fellow in 2003 and has been a part of the Young Writer’s Camp/Secondary Writing Institute since 2004. Currently teaching at Mesa Robles School in Hacienda Heights, Mrs. Benavides has a passion for teaching writing and reading and incorporating the arts (music, drama, and visual art) into all of her curriculum. Mrs. Benavides is also the music director of the award winning choral program at Mesa Robles School.


Armine Iknadossian


 ARMINE IKNADOSSIAN was born in Beirut, Lebanon and moved to Southern California when she was four years old. A resident of Pasadena, she received her undergraduate degree with an emphasis in creative writing from UCLA and earned an MFA in poetry from Antioch University. She received her teaching credential from Cal State Dominguez Hills. She has spent 18 years teaching middle and high school English Language Arts to all levels of learners. Her passion is coaching students to recite original and published poetry. She is also a published poet and journalist herself. Armine is excited to be a part of the Young Writers' Camp and  the Secondary Writing Institute.

Leticia Ruiz

Leticia Ruiz

Leticia has 16 years of experience working with children and families. She began her career in education as a preschool teacher; then, in 2006 she transitioned to the public school setting as a resource specialist teacher collaborating with other educators to support the needs of students with disabilities at the elementary level. Leticia holds a Masters degree in Special Education with a focus on culture and language and is currently teaching an eighth grade special education class. She teaches reading, writing, and math to students with varying disabilities and utilizes specialized content areas as an avenue for teaching literacy.


When Leticia is not teaching, she keeps busy watching her seventeen year-old daughter’s cheer competitions and shuttling her around. She also co-leads her six-year old daughter’s Daisy Girl Scouts troop working towards shaping young girls into strong, caring, and confident women. She is very enthusiastic about joining the Young Writer’s Camp this year.

Monica Esparza

Monica Esparza

Monica Esparza has been an educator for the Los Angeles Unified School District for eleven years.  She currently teaches 3rd grade at Harmony Elementary School in Los Angeles where she enjoys teaching writing to her students using the Writers Workshop style.  She especially enjoys bringing poetry writing to her students.  Monica completed her undergraduate studies at California State University, Los Angeles where she earned a degree in Urban Learning with an emphasis in Education.  In May, 2007 she participated in, and became a member of, the Los Angeles Writing Project.  When she is not teaching, she enjoys reading, playing board games and spending time with friends and family.  This is her eighth year as a Young Writers’ Camp teacher and she looks forward to meeting the wonderful, young campers that will be sharing “Our World, Our Story” through their writing and creativity this year.

Nathaniel Sapalicio

Nathaniel Sapalicio

Nathaniel Sapalicio (6th grade) is currently teaching eighth grade science, reading, and writing at Monterey Highlands Elementary school.  At the start of the “Young Writers Camp” this summer, he will have completed his ninth year of teaching (eighth in eighth grade, one in third grade). He received his bachelor’s degree in Human Development from California State University San Marcos and his master’s in Teacher Education from Claremont Graduate University. He is currently enrolled in CSULA’s Educational Administration program, which will conclude this December.  The success of those that come through his door has been a guiding influence in his career. His goal is that each and every one the students that enter his classroom leave with the opportunity to be better than he is. Mr. Sapalicio’s favorite genre to read is mystery and his favorite genre of writing is poetry. During his free time he produces music and writes lyrics for a group that he, his brother, and his best friend have started.  Back in 2009, Nathan participated in Cal State Los Angeles’s writing project. Not knowing what to expect, a love for writing was born.  “I wish to give to these young writers the exact same love and appreciation that the Writing Project gave to me as a writer and individual by enhancing the experience of life.”