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I imagined Freddy.

“Freddy the Eraser” became one of the essay winners in elementary school during Fire Prevention Week. My award was a vinyl record at a school wide assembly. Shortly after, I won another contest about Canarsie, my home town in Brooklyn. I received a transistor radio with a write-up in the local newspaper.  I began my own neighborhood newspaper. Such a childhood star!


Decades later, I became a contributing columnist and wrote several articles for newspapers. 

After a very traumatic spinal fusion surgery as a teenager where I had to be flat in a body cast for six months, my grandmother presented me with my first manual typewriter. "Joanie was there to greet me" is a reflection on my experience.​​

Ellen as a teenager

After this experience, I knew I wanted to work with kids. Kids with special needs. Kids that feel like “the only.” And what it felt like to love grandma. Perhaps “Emma the Only” had already been born in my head.

All of my undergraduate and graduate work reinforced my desire to teach and counsel with a special emphasis on acknowledging individual differences.

I built a career around teaching and counseling, with a special emphasis on recognizing and acknowledging individual differences.


As long as I have breath in me, my lifelong goal is to connect with others.


City University Seattle

Educational Staff Associate, Counseling Certification 

Counseling certification k-12
Registered counselor - WA


Seattle University

Special Education Endorsement


Bellevue College

Chemical Dependency Professional (CDP)

Rutgers University

Master of Education - MEd

Brooklyn College

Bachelor's degree, Education

Lifetime teaching degree K-12
minor in speech and theater

Professional Experience

​Over three decades providing direct service to youth:

  • Designed and taught a creative dramatics curriculum

  • Teacher of creative writing/literature

  • Teacher of regular/special education, private and public schools

  • Middle and high school counselor

  • Drug/alcohol counselor/supervisor for a non-profit organization

  • Certified trainer and facilitator of anti-violence program

  • Co-facilitator of groups for Children of Alcoholics


  • Contributing columnist Bellevue "Journal American" and "Cure Today"

  • Member of Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), Children’s Book Insider, Women Writers, Editors, Agents and Publishers, Writer’s Forum, Kidlit

  • Completed National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) – with Lois Brandt, Author

  • Class/Classes through SCBWI, Write for Kids (Jolie Stekly), The Crash Course in Children’s Publishing (Highlights Foundation- Harold Underdown)

  • Creative Writing classes (2014-present) – Bellevue College, Bellevue, WA and privately with Doris Northstrom

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