Get to Know the Team

VIDL Network TeamDr. Matthew Boyleston is a professor of English and Writing at Houston Baptist University in Houston, TX. Dr. Boyleston brings to Fearless Writing Network almost twenty years of teaching experience in creative writing, rhetoric, feature writing, and technical writing. His teaching experience encompasses children, teens, and college students, with almost twenty years teaching for Writers in the Schools. Dr. Boyleston has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Philosophy from Furman University in Greenville, SC. He has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of South Carolina, a Master of Business Administration from Houston Baptist University, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Houston.

Lesley Clinton

VIDL Network TeamMrs. Lesley Clinton teaches English at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory in Houston, Texas. Mrs. Clinton brings 17 years of high school teaching with a focus on literature and writing. She has served as a faculty co-moderator of the Inkwell Creative Writing Club and is currently assistant editor of The Chronicle of Strake Jesuit. Combined with her interest in creative writing, she has 20 years of experience in the private tutoring of test prep through Kaplan and as a Strake Jesuit recommended writing tutor. She has developed curriculum through American Heritage Education Foundation. Mrs. Clinton has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas and a Master of Arts in Teaching.

Sarah Cortez

VIDL Network TeamSarah Cortez brings over twenty years of teaching experience to this project. She has taught creative writing to children, teens, and adults. She has specialized in teaching the college entrance essay to at-risk youth and functioned as an Educational Specialist for the Harris County Department of Education. As a Texas Commission of the Arts travelling artist, she has taught in communities as diverse as senior facilities, juvenile detention centers, and college undergraduates. Mrs. Cortez was a Visiting Scholar for the Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Houston where she specialized in teaching memoir and poetry. In addition, Mrs. Cortez has taught for Writers in the Schools. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Religion from Rice University in Houston, TX. She has a Master of Fine Arts in Classics from University of Texas-Austin, and a Master of Science in Accountancy from the University of Houston-Central.

Maria K. Illich

VIDL Network Team
Mrs. Maria K. Illich brings over thirty years of teaching experience in primary, intermediate, and middle-school English Language Arts to this project. She is a certified catechist. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, TX and a Master in Education from the same institution. She has received the Sally Landram Excellence in Education Award, a Principal’s Award, and is a member of Who’s Who Among Educators.