The Stone Soup Team


Current Staff

Board Members


Past Staff


Current Staff

Emma Winsor Wood, Executive Director
Emma joined Stone Soup as Editor in 2017. As a writer, she has experienced firsthand the power of publication to validate, motivate, and inspire, and she is grateful for the opportunity to validate, motivate, and inspire young people via Stone Soup. In 2023, Emma took over as Executive Director of Stone Soup.

Emma is a poet, essayist, and translator. She holds a BA from Harvard in Russian History & Literature, an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and a PhD in literature from UC-Santa Cruz. Her books include The Real World (BlazeVOX, 2022) and A Failed Performance (Plays Inverse, 2018). Her poetry has received fellowships from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, and the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, in addition to appearing in a number of literary journals.

She currently lives with her husband—writer, professor, and Stone Soup teacher Conner Bassett—their two young children, and two aging dogs in Connecticut. You can read more about her on her personal website.

Diane Landolf, Editor in Chief

Diane Landolf is a freelance editor, writer, and former senior editor at Random House Children’s Books. She grew up reading Stone Soup and still remembers the spark of inspiration and wonder she felt on discovering that kids like her could be published authors. She is honored to continue the tradition and excited to turn her editorial eye to literature by children after a long career editing books by adults for children. Diane has a BA in creative writing and English from Oberlin College. Her children’s books include What a Good Big Brother! and Hog and Dog. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and two teenagers.

Conner Bassett, Creative Writing Instructor

C Dylan Bassett is an assistant professor of English at Xavier University. He received an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a PhD from the University of California, Santa Cruz. His fiction and poetry are published in Chicago Review, Iowa Review, The Literary Review, and elsewhere. He started teaching a regular series of Stone Soup writing workshops and a summer camp class in 2021.


Olivia McKeon, Blog Editor

Olivia joined Stone Soup in August 2023 as the blog editor. She graduated from Ithaca College this past May with a BA in Writing and works as a sales associate at ACC Art Books. In her free time she loves songwriting, biking, and rereading her middle school diaries.


Carmela Furio, Production Coordinator

Carmela joined Stone Soup in 2022 as the team’s production coordinator. They are currently at the University of Iowa pursuing a BA in English and creative writing, with a publishing specialization, as well as a BA in Italian. They plan to pursue a master’s in library and information science following their graduation. Carmela has a background in book design and project management, and currently lives in Iowa City awaiting the day they can finally adopt a cat.

Tayleigh Greene, Communications and Events

Tayleigh joined the Stone Soup team in 2020. She graduated with highest honors from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a BA in History, with a focus in Mediterranean (especially Italian) history. In 2022, she taught English to students ages 3 to 5 years across two public preschools in Italy, combining her two greatest passions: education and Italy.

Tayleigh lives in Houston, Texas and works at the Italian Cultural & Community Center.

Laura Moran, Refugee Project Director

Laura joined the Stone Soup team in early 2020 as director of the Refugee Project. She also teaches the Society of Young Inklings and Stone Soup summer writing workshop, Anthropology of the Everyday: The Art of Creative Nonfiction.

Laura is a cultural anthropologist with a PhD from The University of Queensland, in Australia, and a master’s degree from Oxford University, in the UK. Her research is on refugee youth and racial identity and she teaches anthropology at universities in the Boston area. Her first book, Belonging and Becoming in a Multicultural World: Refugee Youth and the Pursuit of Identity, was published in 2020, by Rutgers University Press.

Laura currently lives on the Northshore of Boston, MA with her husband, young son, and 11-year-old daughter, an avid reader and published Stone Soup author!

Sophia Opitz, Operations Manager

Sophia joined Stone Soup in 2022.  She graduated from Macalester College with a BA in Music and promptly went into the book industry (although she still plays her viola from time to time). In addition to her work with Stone Soup, she is also a freelance editor of Japanese works in translation, particularly light novels and manga. You can view her (growing!) list of titles here.

Sophia’s other interests include reading fantasy and science fiction, gaming, watching anime, and catering to her cat, Melvin.

Jeff Piekarz, Typesetter

Jeff Piekarz is a recent graduate of the University of Iowa and the Columbia Publishing Course, and lives in Illinois. He is the former designer for patchwork lit mag, and has also done both design and editorial work for earthwords: the undergraduate literary review, The Iowa Chapbook Prize, and New Moon Magazine. He is very excited to be typesetting for Stone Soup, and hopes to begin a career in the publishing industry with this experience! He also likes reading, playing video games, finding new things to cook, and caring for his many, many plants!

Joe Sherlock, Copyeditor and Proofreader

Joe proofreads and copyedits Stone Soup’s magazines and books. He is a poet and writer based in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California’s Central Coast, where he enjoys tinkering with old vehicles, reading and writing on the beach, and practicing traditional archery. Joe read Stone Soup as a child and was fortunate enough to become part of the team in 2018. He believes strongly in Stone Soup’s mission of giving a platform to young writers and bringing their work to their peers. He also particularly enjoys learning from the original and unbridled way that Stone Soup’s young poets craft their verse.

Sabrina Guo, Refugee Project Consultant

Sabrina is a young poet, journalist, musician, researcher, social activist, and humanitarian. She is the youngest global winner of the 2021 Poems to Solve the Climate Crisis Challenge, spoke out against climate injustice and performed in the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26). She is the recipient of the Civic Expression Award and an eight-time national medalist from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. She is the winner of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award and the Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Award. Sabrina is also an internationally performing violinist, having performed in Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall, and appeared in UNICEF World Children’s Day music video. She is also the founder of Girl Pride International, a global empowerment nonprofit that uplifts marginalized, refugee, and migrant girls through advocacy, education, leadership, and material support. She is also the founder of Long Island Laboring Against COVID-19, or LILAC, a student-run organization profiled by Disney that donates PPE, meals, and funds, specifically helping disproportionately affected, predominantly-POC areas. Sabrina has been invited to speak as a panelist in various roundtables hosted by elected officials, focusing on combating all forms of hate and discrimination, and advocating for girls’ empowerment to bridge the gender gap. Her activism and humanitarian work has been commended by the White House, Mrs. Michelle Obama, the Senate Commendation Award, and recognized by LI Herald as 2021 Person of the Year.

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Board Members

Stone Soup is produced by the Children’s Art Foundation Inc., an educational nonprofit organization registered as a 501(c)(3) in the United States (EIN 23-7317498).

Our Board of Directors offers the organization invaluable advice and expertise in many areas, especially fundraising, children’s education, operational logistics, and financial management. The Board meets every quarter to review progress and discuss strategy with the management team.

Emma Wood, President

Neal Goff, Director

Neal Goff is President of Egremont Associates, a consulting firm he founded in 2010 that helps educational publishers, technology firms, and non-profit organizations with strategic planning, marketing, digital product development, licensing, and development of strategic partnerships.

As a consultant and adviser, Neal draws on more than 30 years of experience as a publishing executive.  He spent more than a decade at Time Inc. and later became President of Prentice Hall Direct and Chief Operating Officer of database publisher R.R. Bowker. Later in his career, Neal served as President of Scholastic Library Publishing, and then became President of Weekly Reader, publisher of the well-known children’s classroom magazines.

Neal is also a Senior Advisor at Oaklins DeSilva+Phillips, a leading mid-market investment bank that serves the media and education industries, and serves on several nonprofit Boards, including Literacy Partners, the New Century Education Foundation, and the New York City Community Chorus.

Naomi Kinsman, Director

Naomi is the founder of Society of Young Inklings, an organization that borrows many tools from improv to help youth writers bring their stories and big ideas to life. Naomi’s background in improvisational and story theatre as well as her arts education work in Chicago, Portland, and in schools across the Bay Area has convinced her that play is powerful. It is a doorway to creative development and also a pathway for transformative learning experiences.

Through her work with youth and adults, Naomi created Writerly Play, a creative toolkit to support artists as they develop their unique voices. She is the host of the Creative Lift podcast, a Skillshare teacher, and an award-winning author. Naomi received a BA in Theatre Arts from Seattle Pacific University and studied acting and improv with the Piven Theatre Workshop and American Conservatory Theatre. She also has a Masters in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University.

Brion Sprinsock, Director

Brion Sprinsock is a fine art photographer who lives in Santa Cruz California. He joined the Children’s Art Foundation Board in 2019 after serving on its board in the 1990s. Brion brings to Stone Soup 16 years of study and experience in non profit board governance and development. As President of the Santa Cruz Montessori School board Brion co-chaired three capital campaigns to construct new facilities that doubled the size of the school’s classrooms and converted all its campuses to solar power.  In his spare time Brion can be found wandering the back country of the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument in southern Utah.

Anu Sukhdial, Director

Anu is a parent of two boys who have been regular contributors to Stone Soup since they were six years old. Her older son, Abhi, was the winner of the first Stone Soup annual book contest. For several years, Anu served as Chair of the PTA Reflections ® Arts-in-Education competition for Stillwater Public Schools. Reflections ® is one of the largest programs of its kind, with more than 300,000 students (Pre-K-12 th grade) across the US participating every year. In this capacity, she worked closely with teachers, creative professionals, and local organizations to promote the arts and encourage student submissions. Before moving to Oklahoma, Anu worked as a marketing executive in Silicon Valley for more than a decade. She is currently pursuing her dual passions for film and writing as a screenwriter. Anu holds a BA from UC Berkeley, MBA from Stanford University, and a Professional Program in Screenwriting certificate from UCLA.

Sally Wood, Director

Sally Wood is Chief Operating Officer of the non-profit Council for Economic Education. In this role she oversees the finance, IT, sales operations and marketing for CEE, and works closely with the President and CEO to establish CEE’s strategy. She is an experienced general manager with extensive experience in K-12 education and finance. This experience has made her keenly aware of the importance of providing tools for students and teachers to increase their economic and financial literacy.

Most recently Sally was a Co-founder of Kapitall, an online investing platform designed to make investing tools and principles more accessible to new and casual investors. Prior to Kapitall she held a number of senior management roles at Pearson, Viacom and Bertelsmann, where she ran online and direct marketing businesses in the education, media and financial categories.

Formerly a board member of Agatha Christie Ltd., Sally currently serves on the board of U.K.-based Brilliant Films LLC. Sally received a B.A. in English from Bennington College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

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Amanda Barnett

Amanda Barnett is a poet, nonfiction writer, and visual artist based in San Francisco. She teaches writing as an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland Global Campus. Her work has been featured in Plants & Poetry, Scapegoat Review, Dillydoun Review, and Wild Roof. She is a graduate of the MFA program at George Mason University. In her spare time, she volunteers at her children’s school and coaches with Girls on the Run. Through her work with Stone Soup, she hopes to inspire children to experiment with writing and art without limitations.

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Past Staff

William Rubel, Director Emeritus

William is the founder of Stone Soup and the Children’s Art Foundation. In 1972, he gathered together a group of fellow students at the University of California Santa Cruz who shared his vision of creating a magazine written by and for children to highlight their creative talents and inspire them.

William is also an author specializing in traditional foodways, the history of bread, and Early Modern British kitchen gardens. His book on hearth cooking, The Magic of Fire (2002), was a World Gourmand Cookbook award winner and a James Beard nominee. His second book is Bread, a global history (2011). He is currently writing a history of bread for the University of California Press.

William lives in Santa Cruz with his daughter, Stella, and their cat, chickens, rabbits, and aviary birds. You can read more about his other interests at his personal website.

Gerry Mandel, Editor Emerita

Gerry served as editor and co-director of Stone Soup for more than 44 years, from its inception in 1973 through the publication of the July/August 2017 issue. In addition to her editorial work, Gerry oversaw the design and production of each print issue of Stone Soup and managed the day-to-day operations of the business. She stepped down from these roles in 2017 and currently serves as Operations Manager for the Santa Cruz County Youth Symphony.

Dr Jane Levi, Former Managing Editor

Jane was Managing Editor and served on the Board of Stone Soup from 2016-2021. She is a cultural historian, writer, educator and researcher with a particular interest in food, utopianism and space travel. A visiting research fellow at King’s College London she contributes to its Georgian Papers Program, focusing on dining and cookery in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. With teaching colleagues at Birkbeck, University of London, she is co-author of the book Food, Politics and Society: Social Theory and the Modern Food System (University of California Press, 2018) and her writing has been published in books, journals, consumer magazines and on websites–from Gastronomica to GQ. She was co-founder of the artist’s co-operative, Edible Utopia, and co-produced its creative urban growing initiative at Somerset House, London (2016-21). Chair and trustee of the Sophie Coe Prize in food history writing, she lives in London with her cat, Kimchi. You can read more about her on her personal website.

Caleb Berg, Blog Editor

Caleb joined the Stone Soup team in August, 2020 as a video editor before becoming the blog editor and a writing workshop assistant. In addition to his work for Stone Soup, he also provided video editing and worked on special projects with Stone Soup Founder, William Rubel.

He is currently an MFA student in fiction at the University of Houston. In June 2021, he graduated with honors from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a BA in Literature, with a focus in creative writing.

You can find some of his published writing in Chinquapin Literary Magazine, Emerge Literary Journal, and Versification Zine.

You can read about the current and former Stone Soup interns here.