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Literacy Specialist Joins Our Advisory Board

Prison Writes is pleased to introduce our newest member of our Advisory Board, Marion Valladares Smith. Marion brings over thirty years experience as a literacy teacher, and teacher trainer. We are very fortunate that she is contributing her experience and skills in support our workshops and sharing her knowledge with our teachers and facilitators so we can better meet participant’s needs.

Marion is a naturalized American citizen from India who has taught adults how to use a second language since beginning her teaching career in Valencia, Spain, having received a BA in Sociology from the University of Bombay. After six years on the faculty of the Alliance Française de Bombay, she completed training as a Trilingual Translator In Paris. Because Language has always been her interest, she went back to school to earn an MA degree in the Teaching of Languages at the University of Southern Mississippi. In New York, she was tenured as the teacher of Spanish at the Little Red Schoolhouse and the Elizabeth Irwin High School in Greenwich Village. She has taught speaking, reading, writing and comprehension at Jesuit programs in rural India for ten years, trained urban schoolteachers in Bombay and Goa and most recently coached adults with disabilities in Tennessee. She has been a volunteer teacher at Columbia’s Outreach Program and currently at the Institute for Immigrant Concerns. And starting this year, Marion has agreed to help us at Prison Writes to reduce the most recent wave of Mass Incarceration.

Marion says, “Most people I know write clearly, speak persuasively, and read with quick comprehension. It would be gratifying if these abilities were shared with the prison population so that - to borrow from Maya Angelou - ‘a day that might start without hope can end with some sense of achievement.’ Everybody thinks. Thoughts can be expressed in speech. Speech can be set in writing. Not only can speakers now read what they wrote back to themselves; they can be read and heard by others. Does this make the original thinker feel good? I think so.”

Welcome, Marion!

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