About Us


Summer Institute group outdoors on campus

Founded by Thomas Newkirk, the New Hampshire Literacy Institutes’ mission is to provide teachers, teacher educators, and literacy specialists in all grades with professional development, research, and coursework that places students at the center of our teaching. Come join us for the chance to work with our wonderful faculty, the camaraderie, the support, the laughter, and the sense of UNH literacy history.

The writer who knows the craft of writing can’t walk into a room and work with students unless there is some understanding of the craft of teaching. Neither can teachers who have not wrestled with writing, effectively teach the writer’s craft. […] We don’t find many teachers of oil painting, piano, ceramics or drama who are not practitioners in their fields. Their students see them in action in the studio. They can’t teach without showing what they mean. There is a process to follow. There is a process to learn. That’s the way it is with craft, whether it be teaching or writing. There is a road, a journey to travel, and there is someone to travel with us, someone who has already made the trip.

— Donald H. Graves Writing: Teachers and Children at Work



Our Team

Christina Ortmeier-Hooper

Dr. Christina Ortmeier-Hooper
Director, New Hampshire Literacy Institutes

Christina Ortmeier-Hooper is an Associate Professor of English. She has been a student and teacher in the NH Literacy Institute, and she began her teaching career as an English and ESL teacher in secondary schools.  She has also served as the director of First-Year Writing at the University of New Hampshire.  Her research interests continue to reflect her investment in school-university collaborations, writing teacher education, and adolescent literacy.  She has had essays published in English Journal, TESOL Journal, and College Composition and Communication. She is the author of numerous books including The ELL Writer: Moving Beyond Basics in the Secondary Classroom (Teachers College Press) and Writing Across Language and Culture (NCTE Press)


Tomasen M. Carey

Tomasen Carey 
Field Coordinator of Writers Academy and Learning through Teaching Programs

Tomasen M Carey is a Senior Lecturer in the English Department at the University of New Hampshire where she is the Field Coordinator of the Learning Through Teaching Program and Director of UNH Writers Academy for youth. She is the voice behind the blog, Conversation Education (https://conversationeducation.com/) where she shares resources, questions the current state of education, and reflects on her work and her own literary life.


Amy Steinberg headshot

Amy Steinberg
Program Coordinator, NH Literacy Institutes

Amy Steinberg is a former fifth grade teacher, a graduate of the University of New Hampshire’s Masters of Education in Literacy program, and was a student at the Literacy Institutes for many years. She brings twenty years of educational experience to the team, nearly all of which was spent in the seacoast community. Amy is an avid reader and writer, and has a passion for making connections with other literary minds. 




Tom Newkirk

Dr. Thomas Newkirk
Professor Emeritus, Founder, and 2020 Scholar-in-Residence

Tom Newkirk is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of New Hampshire where he founded and directed the summer Literacy Institutes and the Writers Academy. He is the author of numerous books and articles on literacy learning, including The Performance of Self in Student Writing, which won the NCTE David Russell Award. He most recently published, (embarrassment): And the Emotional Underlife of Teaching.