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Five Baltimore Professionals Join CityLit Project’s Board


Directors to Usher in Changes to Mark Nonprofit’s Fifth Anniversary

October 10, 2008—CityLit Project announced today the addition of five area professionals to its Board of Directors, bringing the total number of directors to fourteen. New to the board are:

Rachel Eisler, 45, is a poet, editor, and columnist who directed the literary programming at Artscape from 1998-2001 (essentially the precursor to today’s larger Baltimore Book Festival). She graduated with a degree in English from Yale College and earned an MA in Poetry from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. Eisler has taught Creative Writing and English at The Bryn Mawr School, University of Baltimore, Johns Hopkins, and the National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C. Among her many honors are Maryland State Arts Council Artist Awards for Poetry in 1997 and 2007. She lives in Oakenshawe.

Lionel Foster, 28, is a staff writer for Urbanite magazine. He is a graduate of Baltimore City College High School and the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. He received two Masters of Science degrees from the London School of Economics and Political Science where he studied social policy and regional and urban planning. He also completed an MA in Writing at Goldsmiths College (University of London) while in England. Foster has volunteer experience with Partners Educating Artists, Composers, and Entertainers (P.E.A.C.E.), Writing Outside the Fence, and Black Professional Men, Inc. He lives in Idlewylde.

Daniel Keller, 31, teaches humanities and is Middle School Admission Officer at the Barrie School, an independent institution located in Silver Spring. The Barrie School emphasizes the humanities in its curriculum with a combined approach to literature, history, social science, and the arts. Keller has served as the middle school’s head coach for its boys’ soccer, basketball, and lacrosse teams, as well as the girls’ varsity lacrosse team. For the last two summers he has been Assistant Academic Dean at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth. He is also an instructor for the Downtown Sailing Center. Dan earned his BS in English and MS in Professional Writing from Towson University. He lives in Ridgely’s Delight.

Erin McVay, 27, is legislative aide for Councilman Jim Kraft. She grew up in southwest Michigan and graduated with degrees in English and Sociology from Vanderbilt University. Outside of classes, she dedicated herself to fighting for living wages for university employees, addressing human rights issues through Amnesty International, working against the death penalty, and writing and editing for Orbis, a nationally recognized student-run paper. After school, she worked as a copy editor at Vanderbilt University Press. In 2005, McVay moved to Baltimore to pursue her Masters in Social Work at the University of Maryland School of Social Work, where she graduated in May of 2007. She lives in Little Italy.

Charles Nganga, 31, is Vice President, Director of Information Technology for the Signal Hill Capital Group. Originally from Nairobi, Kenya, Charles has more than eight years of information technology experience. He has held various IT positions in the financial industry including Legg Mason, Wachovia, and Fannie Mae. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Baltimore and is pursuing an MBA from the University of Maryland. Charles is a member of the Young African Professional Network in Washington, D.C. He lives in White Marsh.

“CityLit’s goal to increase the public’s involvement in literature is essential to the overall education of the people of Baltimore,” Nganga said.

The expanded Board of Directors will usher in a slate of changes for CityLit Project, including a new brand identity, web site, and e-newsletter in January 2009 to coincide with the organization’s fifth anniversary. The logo and site are being developed by Mission Media. A new database system has been launched to manage CityLit’s growth. CityLit conducts its first series of writing and publishing workshops for youth called CityLit Teens this fall, and the first titles from the CityLit Press imprint are potentially scheduled for publication in 2009.

The new members join current board directors Adrianna Amari, who works in pediatric psychology at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, serves on the faculty of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and is photographer of the Daniel Berrigan poetry collection Prayer for the Morning Headlines; Charles F. (Chic) Dambach, President and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based Alliance for Peacebuilding and former President and CEO of BoardSource; board chair Dan Fesperman, former reporter for The Sun and author of critically acclaimed political thrillers such as The Amateur Spy; Billy Hwang, BRAC Coordinator for the Maryland Department of Transportation; Andrea Jones, Associate General Counsel for CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield; Francis G. “Bunky” Markert, Chief Financial Officer of the Maryland Historical Society; Sharon Reuter, Co-Principal and Art Director of the design and communications firm Reuter & Associates; Michael Salcman, neurosurgeon, art critic, past president of the Contemporary Museum, and a poet with several collections to his credit including The Clock Made of Confetti; and Elissa Weissman, a graduate of the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars and author of two middle-grade books, including Standing for Socks, debuting in 2009.

Immediate past chair E. Scott Johnson, Principal and Chair of Ober-Kaler’s Intellectual Property Practice Group, resigned from CityLit Project’s board and other arts-related boards in July when named chair of the Maryland State Arts Council.

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