VeRB the Poet (Valencia Church-Williams)
Poet * Literacy Educator * Accountability Coach
VeRB is a teaching artist with 20+ years of experience as a performance artist and 15+ years as a literacy educator. As a teaching artist, she is honored to have the opportunity to facilitate the development of young artists and believes that performance and poetry are tools for both advocacy and empowerment.
Her formal training includes a Bachelors of Art in English Composition and Rhetoric as well as Middle Grades Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was also conferred a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science, with a concentration in Young Adult Literature. Most recently she has accumulated 30+ graduate hours in literacy with an emphasis in teaching the mechanics of reading and writing. She has had the opportunity and honor to study with distinguished educators, storytellers, and poets such as Bryan Sturm, Sonia Sanchez, Phillip Shabazz, Jackie Shelton Green, Grant Wiggins and others.
VeRB’s passion is older struggling readers and she uses her platform as a teacher and an artist to bring forward marginalized voices including those of the youth and the disabled. She is committed to empowering learners to develop the skill set necessary to think, write, and speak using the tools of critical literacy theory.
She currently works professionally as an independent literacy consultant and has conducted professional development and modeling for both non-profit organizations and large urban school districts across the country such as Compton Unified School district, Atlanta Public Schools, Chicago Public Schools, and Richland 1 Public Schools to name a few.
As an artist, she has won numerous awards for oratory, public speaking, and service. She was the recipient of the Hugh I Cash Scholarship, a $20,000 endowment to study English Composition and Literature. She has won numerous teaching awards and spear-headed the first One Book, One School initiative for Durham Public Schools. VeRB has been invited to perform and present at numerous literacy events around the country, including most recently for Scholastic Achievement Partners, Inc. and the International Center for Leadership in Education. She is the first, and current host of the Old Havana Sandwich Shop’s “Taste of Poetry.” Her poetry chapbook “If She Be a Wall” and album by the same name will be released this fall by Ohm Records.
VeRb is an organizer and performer for Durham, NC’s first ever “Read Local Book Festival” on May 16th-17th, 2015. Learn more about it at Readlocalnc.org.
For more information on booking a workshop, performance, or key note address with VeRB, please contact her at VeRBthePoet@gmail.com.