Director of School & Community Partnerships
Alise has grown with InsideOut from the ground up. As a former Writer-in-Residence at Cody and Cass Tech High Schools, Alise learned first-hand how to cultivate and empower student voice. She brings this on-the-ground knowledge and many years of non-profit youth program experience to her work as Program Director, a position she has held since 2009. Alise is a talented poet whose work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, and is a recipient of a Knight Arts Challenge Detroit award.
With a passion for literacy and pedagogy, Shawntai works with Writers-in-Residence and classroom teachers to cultivate impactful and meaningful learning. In addition to attending InsideOut programs as a student and working in the classroom as a Writer-in-Residence, Shawntai has a Master of Arts in Literacy Learning and has worked as an educator with students of all ages as well as adults. Shawntai is a playwright with the Extra Mile Playwrights and poet whose work has appeared in Kaleidoscope, Cactus Heart, and Synaesthesia Magazine.
Pete found his calling as a Writer-in-Residence with InsideOut and has been with the organization since it was founded 1995. In addition to inspiring students in the classroom, Pete partners with schools to create programs that fit their needs. Pete has published widely about the transformative power of writing, co-editing To Light a Fire: 20 Years with the InsideOut Literary Arts Project, and most recently a memoir, Inside My Pencil: Teaching Poetry in the Detroit Public Schools. A Kresge Arts in Detroit Fellow, Pete is the author of the novel Bob, or Man on Boat as well as five other books of short fiction.
Citywide Poets Coordinator
Justin’s journey with InsideOut began first as a student at Cody High School where a Writer-in-Residence encouraged his writing and recruited him to join Citywide Poets. Since then, Justin has performed for international audiences and published his writing widely. Justin now coordinates our Citywide Poets program, elevating youth voice through weekly sessions around the city, guest writer workshops, performances, and open mic opportunities for youth.
Youth Leadership Coordinator
A masterful facilitator, Devin works with teens as a Writer-in-Residence as well as leading our Youth Advisory Board and Youth Poet Laureate Initiatives. Dedicated to uplifting and empowering youth voice, Devin has coached slam teams and performed his own poetry on stages around the country.
Joumana Altallal was born in Baghdad to Iraqi and Lebanese parents. She is a recent graduate of the University of Virginia and is currently a first year MFA candidate in poetry at the Helen Zell Writers’ Program.
Franny Choi is the author of the collection Floating, Brilliant, Gone (Write Bloody Publishing, 2014) and the chapbook Death by Sex Machine (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2017).
Ajanae Dawkins received an English degree and full tuition scholarship with the OMAI First Wave, Hip-hop and Urban Arts scholarship, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Robert Laidler is an African American poet who was born in Detroit. He is a graduate of Oakland University and is furthering his education through Wayne State Universities MA program.
Nadine Marshall is a poet, avid reader, collaborator, and curator with an MSW and B.S. in Psychology/African American Studies, and currently lives in Detroit.
Former Writer in Residence of the Hub City Writing Project, her work has appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Kenyon Review, New Ohio Review, and elsewhere.
John Rybicki was born and raised in Detroit. He is the author of three previous poetry collections, We Bed Down Into Water, When All the World is Old, and Traveling at High Speeds.
Board of Directors
Linda Spight, President
Detroit Public Schools (retired)
Annmarie Erickson, Vice-President
Executive Vice President,
Van Dyke Horn Public Relations
Executive Vice Chancellor,
Wayne County Community College (retired)
Teresa McAlpine, Secretary
Director of Marketing Operations,
Director of Arts & Culture,
Midtown Detroit, Inc.
Mercedes-Benz Financial Services USA (retired)
Assistant Corporation Counsel,
City of Detroit
Hon. Noah Hood
Circuit Court Judge
Wayne County Third Circuit
Senior Director of Advancement
Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum (former)
Director of Automotive Relations,
Children Matter Forever (retired)
Executive Vice President,
Chief Human Resources Officer
Honors College Academic Service Officer,
Wayne State University
Director of Budgeting and Forecasting
Handelman Corporation (former)