The Web ROW
“River of Words helps build community partnerships between schools, businesses, grassroots groups, and government agencies, and also promotes collaboration among teachers within schools.”

—Pamela Michael, River of Words co-founder
Advisory Council

Robert Hass
River of Words judge, advisor, and co-founder, and former U.S. Poet Laureate, Bob is the author of several books of poems, including Field Guide (1973), Praise (1979), Human Wishes (1989), and Sun Under Wood: New Poems (1996); and a collection of essays, Twentieth Century Pleasures: Prose on Poetry (1984). His poetry collection Time and Materials (2007) won the National Book Award for poetry and the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. His awards include the Yale Younger Poets Award, the William Carlos Williams Award, the National Book Critics’ Circle Award for criticism in 1984, an Award of Merit from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship. A professor of English at the University of California at Berkeley since 1989, Bob served from 1995 to 1997 as Poet Laureate of the United States and as consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress. He is a graduate of Saint Mary's College.

Samantha Sanderson

Bay Area resident Samantha Sanderson is an artist and mother of two young boys. During her years as a counselor at Marin Academy in San Rafael, California, she co-led student outings to the Point Reyes National Seashore, which reinforced her belief in the importance of real-world educational experiences that connect youth to their environment. Samantha received a B.A. in English literature from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, and an M.S.W. from the University of Denver.

Phyllis Metcalf-Turner

Dean of the Kalmanovitz School of Education at Saint Mary's College, Metcalf-Turner has published extensively in the areas of teacher preparation and literacy, with attention to advancing the achievement of underserved populations, and most recently served as the Chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Illinois State University. Metcalf-Turner received both her Doctorate in Education Policy and Administration and Master of Arts degree in Journalism Scientific Communication from the University of Minnesota. She also received her Master of Arts degree in Speech/Language Pathology and Bachelors of Science degree in Special Education from Eastern Michigan University. Her academic and administrative leadership experience includes serving as Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs at the University of West Florida, with particular authority over diversity and international education and programs; and Assistant Provost for Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment at the University of Louisville. Metcalf-Turner also has an outstanding record as a classroom educator, which has included working with students in special education programs for the Detroit Public Schools and designing courses in liberal arts at Augsburg College.

Meryl Natchez

Meryl Natchez founded and was CEO of TechProse from 1982-2010, and now serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Natchez has received numerous awards for business development and community service. She is a founder of Opportunity Junction,, a nonprofit organization that provides low-income Contra Costa residents with technology, literacy, and life skills to become economically self-sufficient. Natchez has taught courses at San Francisco State University, University of California Berkeley Extension, and California State University Sacramento. She is an international presenter, and has spoken to business and technical audiences in Japan, Munich, Paris, and London, as well as across the United States. Natchez is past President of the Northern California Chapter of the National Association for Computer Consultant Businesses and of the San Francisco Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication. She is the former Chair of the Contra Costa Council Technology Task Force.

Larry Rafferty

Larry Rafferty is a retired financial professional. For the last 15 years of his working career he was Chief Financial Officer of a technology consulting company. As and old English major, he has kept his hand in the arts since 1974 by operating hit & run press, producing poetry in letterpress editions. He has been active in the Jazz in the Schools project with the SF Jazz Festival, as well as fundraising for The Jazz Foundation

Jane Rogers

Jane Rogers is the former program officer of the San Francisco Foundation, one of the nation’s largest community philanthropies. Before retiring from that position in 2001, she served as deputy director of public policy for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). She worked as an urban planner until the mid-1980s, when she became director of growth management for the Washington, DC, Council of Governments. Ms. Rogers received her undergraduate degree in classics from Carleton College and an advanced degree in American studies and urban planning from the University of Michigan.

Christopher Sindt

Christopher Sindt is Associate Dean of Liberal Arts for Graducate and Professional Programs at Saint Mary's and was director of the College’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program for seven years. Sindt has a doctorate in English and a master's degree in creative writing from UC Davis. His book The Bodies was published by Parlor Press in 2011 and his poetry chapbook, The Land of Give and Take, was published in 2002 and his poetry has recently appeared in nocturnes, Pool, Swerve and Xantippe.