Loft Staff Members
All photos courtesy of Anna Min of Min Enterprises Photography, LLC.
Bryce Byron—Administrative Coordinator, 612-215-2582
Lynn Casale—Constituent Services Associate, 612-215-2575
Lynn's is the first face you see, voice you hear, and email you read when you contact the Loft. She also oversees the writers' studios and book club room rentals and bakes cookies for the staff. She has a BA in human development and a strong desire to ensure that the Loft's constituents and visitors feel welcome, heard, and appreciated. Lynn is forever indebted to the Loft for introducing her, through one of Jude Nutter's classes, to the wondrous world of poetry where she now resides.
Tanner Curl—Membership Director, 612-215-2597
At heart, Tanner will always be a farm boy from Iowa. He grew up on an acreage near Charles City, Iowa with about 100 grass-fed Angus beef cattle. He earned a BA in English and creative writing at Coe College. At the Loft, Tanner is responsible for memberships and other development projects. In his free time, Tanner dabbles in playwriting and the development of new works for the stage–he is a connoisseur of good conversations and delicious sandwiches.
Favorite quote: “If you’re going to tell people the truth, you better make them laugh; otherwise, they’ll kill you.” ~George Bernard Shaw
Jenny Dodgson—Education Director, 612-215-2579
Jenny Dodgson is the education director at the Loft, where she has created literary arts programs for kids and teens since 2007. Jenny manages the Loft's in-person classes for youth (ages 6–17) and adults. She also places local writers in area elementary, middle, and high schools for creative writing residencies that complement and support the academic curriculum taught in the classroom. She has worked with children and in the arts for over 15 years, including work as a multi-disciplinary theater artist with Pangea World Theater, Theater in the Round, Intermedia Arts, and Exposed Brick, where she currently also serves as Board President.
Sherrie Fernandez-Williams—Program Manager, 612-215-2586
Sherrie Fernandez-Williams spent seventeen years advising, administrating, and teaching in higher education. She is happiest when she is able to serve as a resource to someone else. Her writing journey began when she was eight and at forty-four her first book, Soft: A Memoir was published. Her advice to writers, “It takes a long time to write a book. Take advantage of all of the resources created to help you claim the identity of writer and assist you in moving toward your writing goals.” More about Sherrie’s writing life can be found at www.sherriefernandez-williams.com
Marion Gomez—Education Outreach Assistant
Marion is a graduate of Hamline University with a degree in, not surprisingly, English with a concentration in creative writing. As a program associate, she ensures that Loft events from readings to conferences run smoothly. In her free time, she writes and reads poetry, goes for long walks, and practices Spanish with her cat, Paco.
Cathy Hughes—Technology Manager, 612-215-2588
Cathy is a former software developer who went rogue into the world of non-profits and now manages the Loft's IT infrastructure. After graduating with a degree in Math/Computer Science from UC San Diego, she worked in virtual reality research before jumping headfirst into non-profit administration and database management. A transplant from Los Angeles, Cathy is a serial hobbyist, with current favorites including knitting, gardening, and medieval swordfighting.
Chris Jones—Marketing & Communications Director, 612-215-2589
Chris received an MFA in poetry from the University of Florida. At the Loft, he works on organizational outreach, media relations, brand management, marketing and promotion, and print/video/Web design and development. Like Les Murray, he dreams of wearing shorts forever.
Favorite quote: “The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.” ~Mark Twain
Erica Lee—Education Assistant, 612-215-2595
Erica is a graduate of Macalester College with a degree in American Studies. She will probably be one of the voices you reach when calling the Education line! When folks are willing to share, Erica loves listening to people's stories (and is often humbled by their words and wisdom).
Favorite quote: "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." ~Maya Angelou
Katriona Molasky—Development Associate, 612-215-2598
At the Loft, Katriona assists the development team in all things membership related. She graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Urban and Regional Studies and Creative Writing from Minnesota State University, Mankato—where she also received her Nonprofit Leadership Certificate. As a child, her father used to coax her to sleep by reading novels to her, instilling a life-long love of stories and the written word. When not at the Loft, Katriona occupies her time biking about to used book shops, hunting through garage sales, and annoying her cats.
Bao Phi—Program Director, (Equilibrium, Spoken Word Immersion Fellowship, Emerging Writers Grant, McKnight Award), 612-215-2585
Bao Phi oversees major Loft granting programs such as the McKnight Fellowships for Writers, Emerging Writers Grant, and the Spoken Word Immersion Fellowship, as well as community based readings and performances such as Equilibrium, Spoken Word at the Loft. He has been on the Loft staff since the late 90s, starting as a receptionist. As a spoken word artist, he has appeared on HBO’s Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry Jam, and a poem of his was selected by former poet laureate Billy Collins for inclusion in the Best American Poetry series. He is a repeat Minnesota Grand Slam champion, a National Poetry Slam individual finalist, and continues to tour all over the country. He was featured in the award-winning feature documentary The Listening Project, and his work appeared in the Poetry in Motion project in Minneapolis. His book Song I Sing was published in 2011 by Coffee House Press. His second book of poems and his first children's book will be published soon.
Favorite quote: “I guess I should have known/by the way you parked your car sideways/that it wouldn’t last.” ~Prince
Kathryn Savage—Community Partnership Manager, 612-215-2590
Kathryn Savage oversees Poetry Out Loud in Minnesota as well as the Loft's residency and First Pages program. Her writing can be found in the Guardian, Poets & Writers Magazine, the Village Voice, Star Tribune, and the anthology, The Best Small Fictions of 2015. She studied creative writing at The New School, holds an MFA from Bennington College, and has received fellowships and support from the Vermont Studio Center, Ucross Foundation, and scholarships to the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. More about her writing and teaching can be found here.
Kurtis Scaletta—Online Education Manager, 612-215-2593
Kurtis manages the online education program at the Loft, which must be the ideal position for somebody with one graduate degree in creative writing (Maine 1995) and another in learning technologies (Minnesota 2006). He also writes children’s books about things like rain, snakes, and fungi. He spends the rest of his time rooting for the Twins and enjoying family life. He has an author’s website at www.kurtisscaletta.com.
"There are few things more helpful than having once been a weird little kid." ~ Katherine Paterson, on writing for children.
"Write up, not down." ~ E. B. White, on writing for children.
Beth Schoeppler—Managing Director, 612-215-2580
Beth Schoeppler has been on the Loft staff since 2008 but has had a long history with the organization taking her first Loft class in 1983. She brings more than 25 years of nonprofit experience spanning finance, general management, communications, development, program planning, marketing, and evaluation to her work. As principal consultant for Schoeppler & Associates from 2001-2008 her clients included both large and small organizations in education, the arts, human service and health care. Previous positions have included executive director of the Minneapolis Public Schools Foundation, director of development and communications for Twin Cities Public Television, and managing director of The Playwright’s Center.
Beth refers to her job as money in, money out and believes with all her heart that every budget tells a story.
Hadiya Shire—Program Associate, 612-215-2587
Hadiya is a graduate of Vassar College with a degree in English and a focus on creative writing. As program associate, Hadiya has a hand in most of the Loft's offerings--and will do her very best to answer any questions you have! She occasionally writes but prefers to read, and enjoys stories in whatever form they may come.
Favorite quote: "Nothing contributes so much to tranquilizing the mind as a steady purpose -- a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye. ~ Mary Shelley
Britt Udesen—Executive Director, 612-215-2584
Britt Udesen joined the Loft in 2015 and is honored to help guide the Loft’s strategic direction as its executive director. She graduated from Macalester College in Saint Paul, and her career path includes leadership positions at arts organizations such as the Textile Center of Minnesota, Sun Valley Center for the Arts, and most recently at The Cabin in Boise, Idaho. When Britt isn't at the Loft or reading a book she is probably hiking with her husband, riding her bike, working on her fly casting, or watching sitcom reruns.
Melissa Wray—Marketing Coordinator, 612-215-2564
As marketing coordinator, Melissa is one of the people behind our marketing and digital media, and is the producer of the Loft Podcast. When not at the Loft, she is probably studying for her masters in Arts & Cultural Leadership at the U of MN or conspiring about other literary things as cofounder of Hazel & Wren (a community for writers and readers). She grew up on a farm in southeast Minnesota surrounded by books, a flock of sheep, and acres of woods.