The Board of Directors

Jay Richards, Chairman & Editorial Committee Chair

Jay is the chair of the Editorial Committee and competition judges, and a member of the Executive Committee. He teaches English to 8th graders at Central Middle School in San Carlos, CA. A long-time teacher-consultant to the San Jose Area Writing Project, Jay is a frequent presenter on integrating reading, writing, and technology, including talks at the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Annual Conference and the National Board’s Teaching and Learning Conference in Washington, D.C. A contributing author to Teaching Writing Grades 7-12 in an Era of Assessment: Passsion and Practice, Jay’s work has also been published in NCTE journals English Journal and Voices from the Middle. He lives in San Carlos with his wife Marianne, also a teacher, and his three children.

Lindsay Tam Holland, President & Editorial Committee

Lindsay is President of the Board of Directors as well as a member of the Editorial Committee and a competition judge. She is a YA author and educator based in Redwood City, CA.  Her debut novel, The Counterfeit Family Tree of Vee Crawford-Wong, was published by Simon & Schuster in July 2013.  She has degrees from Stanford University and the University of San Francisco. Lindsay has taught high school English and coached water polo and is currently slogging away on her next novel while also raising her young children.

Jessica O’Rear, Director & Treasurer

Jessica is a member of the Executive Committee and is Leyla’s mother. She is an accomplished biochemist with numerous publications and patents to her name. Jessica has a master’s degree in Biochemistry from the Johns Hopkins University, and an undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin. She has worked in the biotech industry for many years as a research scientist and is currently working in agbio research. She is a native of Corpus Christi, TX.

Karen Tiegel, Director & Secretary

Karen is a member of the Editorial Committee and a competition judge. She is a middle school writing teacher at The Nueva School in Hillsborough, CA and was one of Leyla’s mentors. Karen has taught for fifteen years in public and independent schools in the U.S. and abroad, including stints in Taiwan and Switzerland. She has developed curriculum at the Stanford Project for International and Cross-cultural Education, and holds a master’s degree from Stanford University.

Mary Jo O’Rear, Director

Mary Jo is a member of the Editorial Committee and a competition judge, and she is Leyla’s grandmother. She is the author of numerous books and articles about the history of Texas, including Storm Over the Bay: The People of Corpus Christi and their Port (Texas A&M Press, 2009); and Bulwark Against the Bay: The People of Corpus Christi and their Seawall (Texas A&M Press, 2017). She is a former secondary school instructor in history, economics, and geography, and a former history professor at Del Mar College and Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

Betsy Parkhurst, Director

Betsy began as a competition judge and then joined the Editorial Committee. She worked as a technical writer and editor for both hardware and software companies in the Bay Area after receiving a Linguistics degree from Stanford. Through her children, she has gotten involved with several charitable organizations and served on the boards of the school PTAs as well as the Redwood chapter of the Young Men’s Service League. She has been heavily involved with Pied Piper Players, a non-profit community theater organization in San Mateo, since 2005.