Our Mission:

The Ohio Council of Teachers of English Language Arts (OCTELA) is a nationally recognized, non-profit charitable organization that serves English language arts educators in the classroom and the extended education community.

OCTELA’s goals are:

  • to promote best practice and teacher leadership,
  • to advocate for fair and appropriate education policy,
  • and to provide resources and quality professional development that support diverse literacies, classrooms and students.  

It is our hope to bring Ohio’s English language arts educators together to build friendships, share ideas, and celebrate teaching and learning.

Our History:

OCTELA has a longstanding reputation among Ohio English language arts teachers for providing state-of-the-art professional development opportunities, leadership and advocacy for issues affecting teaching and learning, and expert resources for  classroom instruction. As evidenced by our national recognition, OCTELA is a premier professional organization for English language arts educators in the state of Ohio and an exemplary national affiliate.

The success of OCTELA is due in no small part to the visionary founding members of our organization, including: Dorothy Whitted (Delaware Public Schools), Beryl Parrish (Bowling Green State University), Ellen Mann (Upper Arlington City Schools), and Vivian Spurgeon (Newark Central Junior High). 

At the time of its founding in 1957, OCTELA (then called EAO – the English Assocation of Ohio) was the only statewide affiliate of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) representing teachers of English Language Arts, kindergarten through college.

Additionally, our executive board and presidential lineage has provided leadership to sustain and grow OCTELA for the last 60 years.

OCTELA Board of Trustees

1959—1961    Ernest W. Gray, University of Toledo*‡

1961—1962    Wilfred Eberhart, The Ohio State University*‡

1962—1963    Karl Dykema, Youngstown State University*‡

1963—1964    Ruth Smith, DeVilbiss High School*‡

1964—1965    Althea Beery, Cincinnati Public Schools/Elem Supervisor*‡

1965—1966    John Ostrom, Wittenberg University*‡

1966—1967    Kathryn E. Hearn, Delaware Hayes High School*‡

1967—1968    James Drake, Avon Lake High School*‡

1968—1969    Charles Will, Upper Arlington High School*‡

1969—1970    Brother Thomas Corbett, St. Joseph College, Cincinnati*‡

1970—1971    Edward P.J. Corbett, The Ohio State University*‡

1971—1973    Louis Papes, Parma High School, Cleveland*‡

1973—1974    Patricia Bjerstedt, Gahanna Lincoln High School*

1974—1975    H. Thomas McCracken, Youngstown University

1975—1976    James E. Davis, Ohio University

1976—1977    Evelyne Robey, Princeton City Schools/Curriculum Coordinator

1977—1978    Vernon Roberts, Kent State University

1978—1979    Kathryn Dunham, Mount Vernon High School

1979—1980    George Ware, Ohio University—Zanesville

1980—1982    Elizabeth Nace, Summit County ELA Supervisor

1982—1983    Patricia Gilbert, Wright State University

1983—1984    Hazel Davis. Federal Hocking High School

1984—1985    Richard Gebhardt. Findlay College

1985—1986    Judith Keck, Licking County Reading ELA Supervisor

1986—1987    Eileen Tway, Miami University

1987—1988    Karolyn Holm Burkett, Newark High School

1988—1989    Ruth Ann Peck, Northmont Junior High School

1989—1990    Harold M. Foster, University of Akron

1990—1991    Carol Brown, Ohio Department of Education

1991—1992    Bonnie Chambers, Bowling Green State University

1992—1993    Peggy Papritan Martinez, Glenford Elementary—Principal

1993—1994    Evelyn Freeman, OSU—Newark/Education Program Coordinator

1994—1995    Nancy Mellin McCracken, Kent State University

1995—1996    Connie Zitlow, Ohio Wesleyan University/Dir. Secondary Educ.

1996—1997    Patricia Terry, Hamilton County ELA Coordinator

1997—1998    Susan Gardner, Ohio Department of Education

1998—1999    Margaret “Marge” Ford, Memorial High School, Campbell, Media Specialist

1999—2000    Jackie Glasgow, Kent State University—Trumbull County

2000—2001    Sue Malaska, Shelby High School

2001—2002    Margie Bush, Shawnee High School

2002—2003    Allison Baer, Warren Junior High School

2003—2004    Carolyn Suttles, Bristol High School

2004—2005    Colleen Ruggieri, Boardman High School

2005—2006    Cynthia Bowman, Ashland University, Columbus

2006—2007    David Bruce, Kent State University

2007—2008    Michele Winship, Capital University/Dir. of Professional Dev.

2008—2009    Regina Rees, Kent State University

2009—2010    Karla Hieatt Bisig, Wilmington High School

2010—2011    Karen Tollafield, Beachwood Elementary

2011—2012    Karen Carney, Campbell City Schools

2012—2013    Jessica Bennett, Southwest Schools

2013—2014    Sarah Ressler Wright, Rutherford B. Hayes High School, Delaware

2014—2015    Deb Thomas, Granville City Schools

2015—2016    Stephenie Eriksson, Blanchester High School

2016—2017    Virginia McCormac, Beachwood City Schools

2017 – 2018    Michelle Best, Austintown Local Schools

2018 – 2019    Josh Younge, Pickaway-Ross CTC

Special Members:

Hazeldean Meyers (Stent),  Administrative Assistant/Executive Director, 1988-1991

Ruth McClain, Executive Director 1991–2011

*Founding Member of the English Association of Ohio (later, the Ohio Council of Teacher of English Language Arts)