National Writing Project

New Faces, New Places: Linda Goldsmith Heads South Florida Site

By: NWP Staff
Publication: The Voice, Vol. 8, No. 3
Date: May-June 2003

Summary: This last piece in a series introducing directors from new writing project sites profiles Linda Goldsmith of the South Florida Writing Project at Nova Southeastern University.


This is the last in a series of profiles in The Voice introducing site directors from sites that joined the National Writing Project in 2002.

Linda Goldsmith
South Florida Writing Project
Nova Southeastern University

After almost 40 years in education, Linda Goldsmith did not need to be talked into directing a writing project. "When I was approached to participate in the application of a South Florida Writing Project, I felt I was going back to my roots," says this teacher with experience at all levels from elementary school to the English education master's and education specialists programs she now directs at Nova Southeastern University.

A transplant from Michigan, she details her long-time interest in the teaching of writing. "I was involved in writing activities when I served as staff development coordinator for Kent Intermediate School District in Grand Rapids. I initiated a statewide conference entitled `Focus on Writing.' We sponsored four such conferences attracting teachers at all levels and featuring speakers such as Robert Graves and Nancie Atwell."

After Goldsmith had been awhile in Florida, she was approached by a group of teachers who had been through the writing project experience but were currently separated from their original sites. This group of teachers from the Broward School District had started informal summer institutes. "I learned that the NWP sought directors with backgrounds such as mine, and I welcomed the opportunity to work with the schools and teachers with respect to the teaching of writing."

Goldsmith's new responsibility as writing project director has given her a perspective beyond her Michigan experience. "In Michigan, I was used to working with individual schools and teachers. I was not used to the extremely large school districts that exist in South Florida when I moved here ten years ago without any district `contacts.' Being involved in the South Florida Writing Project has catapulted me into working with district people and introduced me to many extremely professional, highly competent, dedicated teachers."

Like other new directors, Goldsmith confesses to feeling a bit overwhelmed. "We were working on the proposal, plus planning activities for the summer, plus running activities that had already been planned in our pre-NWP stage." The fact that she has survived this buzz of activity she credits in large part to Jennifer Morar, Donna Cardwell, and Dianne Aucamp, her associates in the South Florida Writing Project leadership. "[Their presence] made my transition less traumatic,"says a grateful Goldsmith.

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