Faculty Bios

We proudly offer the bios of our accomplished teachers.

Ken Derry is the former executive editor of publications for the New York Yankees, and also worked as deputy editor of the team's Yankees Magazine. He has written articles for the New York Times, ESPN.com, Outside, Sports Illustrated, Runner’s World, Bicycling, AM New York, the Times of Trenton, Blue, the Rough Guides, and Shecky’s Nightlife Guides. He has taught for New York University. He holds a BA from Old Dominion University and an MFA in Fiction from the New School.

Francis Flaherty served as an editor and writer at the New York Times for 19 years, including stints as an investment columnist and as deputy editor of the City, Metropolitan and Home Sections. He is the author of The Elements of Story (HarperCollins) and has written articles for the Atlantic, Harper’s, the Progressive, and Commonweal. He has taught at NYU, the Columbia School of Journalism, and the New York Times Knowledge Network. He holds a BA from Harvard College and a JD from the Harvard Law School. 

Betsey Odell is the author of the novel Deep Water (Sapphire Books) and the essay “Naked in Bohemia” in the anthology Travelers Tales Prague and the Czech Republic (Travelers’ Tales Guides). She has published nonfiction in Preserving Your Memory, of which she was editor-in-chief, and Yellow Rat Bastard. She has taught at Randolph-Macon College. She holds a BA from Randolph-Macon College.

Melissa Petro has published nonfiction in Cosmopolitan, New York Magazine, Poets & Writers, Salon, Daily Beast, Narratively, Jezebel, xoJane, Frisky, The Fix, and Rumpus. She is the editor of two anthologies: Pros(e): Writings by Individuals with Experiences in the Sex Industries and Corner Stories: Writings by the Washington Heights CORNER Project Community. She is a PEN/Fusion Emerging Writers Prize finalist. She holds a BA from Antioch, an MS in Education from Fordham, and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the New School.

J. L. Stermer is an agent with N.S. Bienstock, a full-service talent agency with a division dedicated to developing literary projects, where she handles both nonfiction and fiction authors. She previously served as literary agent and contracts director with the Donald Maass Literary Agency.

Roseanne Wells is an agent with the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency, where she represents both fiction and nonfiction authors, as well as young adult authors and some select middle-grade. She formerly worked at the Marianne Strong Literary Agency, and at the publisher W.W. Norton & Company. She contributed to the book Create Your Writer Platform (Writer’s Digest Books), and is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She holds a BA from Sarah Lawrence College.