Naomi Kinsman Downing
Founder and Executive Director
Author of the From Sadie’s Sketchbook Series and Spilled Ink, the award-winning Inklings Writers’ Notebook, Naomi is passionate about sharing her love of writing and creativity with young writers. Naomi’s background in improvisational and story theatre as well as her arts education work in Chicago, Portland, and the Bay Area has convinced her that creative play is a doorway through which learners can find inspiration and transformative learning experiences.
Naomi loves to play in many ways, but some of her favorites are tap-dancing, sketching, experimenting in the kitchen and tag with her Portuguese Water Dog, Turley. Naomi has a BA in Theatre Arts from Seattle Pacific University and has studied theatre with the Piven Theatre Workshop and ACT. She also has a Masters in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University.
Jena began working with Society of Young Inklings in 2010. As a former traveling teaching artist Jena delivered dance, theater, visual and literary arts programs to hundreds of children in the San Fransisco Bay Area. Jena wishes she had the opportunity to participate in an Inklings program as a child. She strives to extend the opportunity to as many children as possible. Jena holds a B.A in Creative Arts and a minor in Education from San Jose State University. In her spare time, Jena enjoys spending time with her family and taking care of her variety of pets including sheep.
Sarah joined the Inklings team in 2015. Her love for organization and problem-solving along with her passion for arts education make her a key partner in handling the behind-the-scenes tasks that help keep the Young Inklings wheels turning.
Sarah is a life-long musician and book lover. She is thankful for her 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Huff, who instilled in her a love of reading and writing. She grew up in Orlando, Florida where she sharpened her creative skills at a performing arts high school and earned her BA in music with a focus in education. She spent several years teaching elementary school music before moving to California.
Sarah enjoys brand new notebooks, staring at the California coast, and good coffee (sometimes even not-so-good coffee). She lives in South Orange County with her husband Socrates, and her two young children, Cora and Miles.
Having a Bachelors Degree in Communications, Natalie enjoys social media communications and finding new ways to share and connect with people around the world. Natalie and her family of three enjoy nature walks and biking together near their home in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Kelly Hoy has been a public and private school teacher for more than 20 years. After completing her degree at the University of Rhode Island, she started her public-school career as a computer specialist at Crim Elementary in Bridgewater, NJ and as a third-grade elementary school teacher in Dunellen, NJ. She then moved to California private schools: teaching special education at Star Academy in San Anselmo, fifth-grade at Phillips Brooks School in Menlo Park, and currently, fifth-grade humanities at Katherine Delmar Burke School in San Francisco. Teaching and writing are her passions. She has published a number of case studies and analyses in several editions of Anita Woolfolk’s best-selling psychology text, Educational Psychology. Her goals as a teacher are to develop an appreciation for the unique stories of her students, strengthen their voices, cultivate empathy, and advance social justice, as they all grow academically, socially, and emotionally.
Other facts: Ani loves to ski, hike, and travel off the beaten path; her passions include yoga, reading, jewelry making, and all things Italian. Ani holds BSc and MSc from the London School of Economics, and an MBA from The Wharton School of Business.
Alex Jacobus Kordahl
Melody Ramie Reed
As an adult, Melody can still be found surrounded by books at the public library, but now she’s behind the desk. She enjoys helping patrons find enriching tales and shares her passion by leading writing classes for adults and teens. Melody is a creative professional with over 15 years teaching children. She has a BS in Computer Science from St. Francis University and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University. When she’s not writing, reading or revising, she fancies walking her dogs, listening to beach waves, or eating ice cream. She has raised 3 children and lives with her husband near Chicago.