Mara Truslow has been a 7th Grade Language Arts Teacher in Nashville, Tennessee. She pursued teaching in light of her experience leading creative writing workedhops to break down barriers in communities and allow students to share their stories. She grew up in the desert valleys of Boise, Idaho and attended an International Baccalaureate private high school with a strong emphasis on service-learning. Then, she moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where she attended Vanderbilt University. She studied in Peabody College, but somehow evaded an education degree. Instead, she studied Human and Organizational Development and History. She also has taught at a charter school in North Nashville instructing in 7th grade writing. She wrote an experimental curriculum where all students worked on laptop computers. Then, she taught a semester-long Common Core aligned Pilot Unit. She focused on the TCAP/ Common Core Informational Text Standards and worked with students to write Analytical Summaries analyzing the efficacy of an author’s rhetorical moves in a piece of writing. She received her M.Ed in Instructional Practice from Lipscomb. She has also taught in a more rural school south of Nashville, where she taught reading and writing in a blended literacy class. Mara hopes to enter a PhD program in the coming years focusing on best practices for the organization of schools and what models work best to break down the barriers that still exist in the southeast.