Staff

Michael Henry, Executive Director

Michael Henry is co-founder of Lighthouse Writers Workshop with program director Andrea Dupree. In 1997, they came up with the idea of running their own creative writing workshops under the name “Lighthouse” while looking at an Edward Hopper painting, “Lighthouse at Two Lights.” When Lighthouse officially became a nonprofit organization in 2004, Michael was named Executive Director. Over the years, Michael has worked as a water meter reader, board of elections paper-clip counter, college dining hall dishwasher, pizza delivery guy, UPS truck loader, accounts payable clerk, painter’s helper, high school girls' cross country coach, and ski instructor. He received a BA in English Literature from the University of Rochester, and an MFA from Emerson College. As for his writing, his nonfiction and poetry have appeared in numerous literary journals and magazines such as Elevation Outdoors, Ekphrastic Review, Hippocampus, Threepenny Review, Pleiades, Copper Nickel, Rio Grande Review, Georgetown Review, Mountain Gazette, The Writer, and 5280 Magazine. He's also published two books of poetry, No Stranger Than My Own and Active Gods, and a chapbook, Intersection. In 2017 he was awarded a prestigious Livingston Fellowship from the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, and in 2018 he received the Judy Anderson Founders Award from PlatteForum.

Andrea Dupree, Program Director

Andrea Dupree has worked for Lighthouse Writers Workshop from the beginning and gets her thrills finding new programs that bring literary excellence to the Lighthouse community. She works with the award-winning faculty, evaluates the existing programs, and dreams big for the future of Lighthouse. She feels lucky to get to enter the Lighthouse cocoon, where everyone's at least heard of the latest book by (x), picked up on that funny allusion by (y), and feels better with a book (by z?) cracked open on their nightstand. She teaches fiction workshops and has had short fiction published in Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly Review, Colorado Review, The Normal School, and elsewhere. She's been honored to receive two MacDowell fellowships for her fiction. When not writing, reading or procrastinating, she enjoys hiking, running, and hanging out with her family, including her daughters and Gallivant, the rescue dog who would love to haunt the Lighthouse hallways, but our current lease prohibits it.

Laurie Wagner, Director of Development

Laurie Wagner joined the Lighthouse staff in 2010 to broaden support for Lighthouse programs and to grow awareness of the personal and community value of the transformative power of writing. Laurie has been working with Denver nonprofits since 2002, helping them develop the resources to accomplish their missions in our community.

Kim O'Connor, Young Writers Program Director

Kim O’Connor is a North Carolina native who moved to Denver in 2009 and found Lighthouse soon after. After instructing in the youth program for several years, Kim joined the Lighthouse staff as youth program manager in April 2013. Before heading west, Kim received an MFA from the University of Maryland; before that, she was a high school English teacher. She was Lighthouse's 2013 Alice Maxine Bowie Fellow, and her poetry has been published in Copper Nickel, Colorado Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, Inch, Literary Mama, Mountain Gazette, storySouth, Tar River Poetry, THRUSH Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. Though she still has to read the instructive haiku every time she opens the front door, Kim is thrilled to work at Lighthouse. She also loves yoga, writing, and making art projects with her daughter, though she's learned through experience not to do all three of those at the same time.

Dan Manzanares, Community Programs Coordinator

Dan Manzanares has held his position as community programs coordinator at Lighthouse since 2011. He heads up Friday 500, Writing the West, and Write Denver, Lighthouse's award-winning outreach program. For these efforts he won a Mayor's Award for Excellence in Arts & Culture. Dan is a Master of Fine Arts candidate in Genre Fiction at Western State Colorado University. In 2013, he received a Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts Residency, which he used to work on his novel.

Laura Miller, Program Coordinator

Laura Miller holds an MFA in fiction from the University of Arizona, where she served as co-editor-in-chief of Sonora Review and managing editor of Fairy Tale Review. She has contributed essays and book reviews to Bustle, Lit Hub, Electric Literature, CutBank online, and elsewhere. Her fiction appears in Mid-American Review, Denver Quarterly, Passages North, Entropy, Psychopomp, Cosmonauts Avenue, and Spork, among other places. Her short story manuscript, We're Not Heroines, was a finalist for the Madeleine P. Plonsker Prize.

Roxanne Banks Malia, Young Writers Program Outreach Coordinator

Roxanne Banks Malia taught English and creative writing at high schools and colleges, served as the literacy program coordinator at a local public high school, and was a stay-at-home mom before joining Lighthouse in 2015. She holds degrees from St. Olaf College, the University of Colorado, and an MFA in Poetry from Lesley University’s low-residency MFA program. Her writing has appeared in Copper Nickel, CutBank, Coldfront, and as a Mental Floss t-shirt slogan.

Genna Kohlhardt, Program Coordinator

Genna Kohlhardt grew up in Colorado and left in 2009 to get her MFA in poetry from Boise State University. After graduating, she lived in Washington, D.C., for two years until she could no longer resist Colorado’s charms and moved back to her home state. She is the founder and editor of Goodmorning Menagerie, a chapbook press for poetry and translation and has her own work in Fact-Simile, H_NGM_N, and Strange Machine. She has worked in literary nonprofits and taught creative writing to children since 2010. If she is not doing something in the literary world, you can probably find her either cooking or eating.

Manuel Aragon, Operations Manager

A graduate of NYU’s Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television at Tisch, Manuel has spent most of his working career at nonprofits, in a variety of roles. If you’d like to know exactly what “operations” means, feel free to accost him at a Lighthouse gathering, demanding some answers.

Rachel Weaver, Satellite Program Manager

Rachel Weaver is the author of the novel Point of Direction, which Oprah Magazine named a Top Ten Book to Pick Up Now. Point of Direction was chosen by the American Booksellers Association as a Top Ten Debut for Spring 2014, by IndieBound as an Indie Next List Pick, by Yoga Journal as one of their top five suggested summer reads and won the 2015 Willa Cather Award for Fiction. Prior to earning her MFA in Writing and Poetics from Naropa University, Rachel worked for the Forest Service in Alaska studying bears, raptors, and songbirds. She is on faculty at Regis University’s low-residency MFA program and was awarded the 2017 Beacon Award for Teaching Excellence at Lighthouse Writers Workshop. Her work has appeared in The Sun, Gettysburg Review, Blue Mesa Review, Alaska Women Speak and Fly Fishing New England.

Jeremy Medina, Marketing and Communications Coordinator

Jeremy Medina joined Lighthouse in 2018. He was previously in the editorial department at Random House, working with authors Bill Bryson, Norton Juster, Chuck Palahniuk, Hanya Yanagihara, and many others. He’s worked at magazines, museums, and been a bookseller three times, most recently at Atlantis Books in Santorini, Greece. Born and raised in Colorado, he has lived and worked in Milwaukee, Atlanta, New York City, South Africa, and Greece, and is most likely currently dreaming of the next book to read and the next country to visit. For media inquiries and communications questions, reach out at [email protected]

Suzi Q. Smith, Community Engagement Coordinator

Suzi Q. Smith is an artist, activist, and educator who hails from Denver, Colorado. She holds a degree in English Writing from the University of Colorado at Denver, and she has been performing poetry throughout the United States for over a decade. Her poems have appeared in Union Station Magazine, Suspect Press, La Palabra, Muzzle Magazine, Malpais Review, The Pedestal, The Los Angeles Journal, Denver Syntax, Word is Bond, The Peralta Press, and in the anthologies Diverse-City, His Rib: Anthology of Women, and In Our Own Words, and her chapbook collection of poems, Thirteen Descansos, is available from Penmanship Books. She is currently the co-Chair of the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs. In addition to working as a teaching artist in Denver, she was the founding Slammaster of Slam Nuba, and spent 12 years in the poetry slam arena as a competing poet, coach, organizer, board member, eventually serving as the Executive Director of Poetry Slam, Inc. from 2014-2018. She placed as a finalist in the Women of the World Poetry Slam in 2011 and 2013 as well the Individual World Poetry Slam in 2011, she is a Southwest Shootout champion, and she has earned the champion (or co-champion) title at the Taos Poetry Festival: Versing in Converse three times since 2009. In addition, she has worked extensively with youth, serving as a Partner Artist with Youth On Record, and as co-coach of Denver Minor Disturbance Youth Poetry Slam, resulting in two championship teams between 2011-2014.