Our Coaches

teacher's appleEvery student at WriteAtHome® is assigned a personal writing coach. All our writing coaches are highly qualified, experienced educators and/or professional writers. They are enthusiastic and positive, trained to identify both the strengths and weaknesses of every piece of submitted work.

All coaches complete our challenging and competitive application process and receive training in WriteAtHome’s uniquely effective approach to guiding students toward improved writing. They are also evaluated regularly throughout each school year.

Nothing is more important to WriteAtHome’s success than the consistent excellence of our writing coaches. They all share the following characteristics:

  • experience as English teachers, writers or editors
  • a passion for the written word
  • a sincere love for young people and a desire to help them grow as writers
  • a demonstrable gift for identifying strengths and weaknesses in the areas of content, structure, and style
  • thorough knowledge of English grammar and usage
  • a gift for gracious, positive, clear communication
View Coach Bios   How Do I Become a Writing Coach?


Our Writing Coaches

Meet Some of Our Coaches

Rhonda Barfield had always planned a career in music until a substitute high school English teacher waylaid her with a side comment on a paper: “You should consider becoming a professional writer.” She kept that in mind throughout college, where she graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in both speech and music education, and during her first job teaching in Truman State University’s piano prep program. She supplemented her teaching duties with writing for music journals and magazines.

That was B.C., (Before Children). When her son Eric arrived in 1986, she set aside music for a dual career as both mom and author. To date, she’s written five books, including, Real-Life Homeschooling: The Stories of 21 Families Who Teach Their Children at Home (Fireside/Simon & Schuster). She’s also penned articles for Family Fun, Mothering, Baby Talk, Practical Homeschooling, Christian Parenting Today, Money Matters (Crown Financial Ministries), and several dozen other magazines and newsletters.

John Fike began writing poetry and short stories in the third grade and continued writing poetry, fiction and non-fiction through college, at which time he earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from Adrian College. He won several awards for his writing along the way, was published several times in a literary magazine, and was asked to help one of his professors in developing a textbook on writing. Professionally, he spent seven years writing for newspapers and today he’s a freelance writer helping businesses and non-profit organizations communicate better with their clients and prospects. He and his wife, Erin, have five children whom they homeschool. John’s goal as a writing coach is to help young people learn to communicate their ideas, opinions, and stories through writing that interests and engages their readers.

Award-winning author Debi Faulkner was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. A teacher once told her that her “nickel-and-dime vocabulary” would get her nowhere in life. Nevertheless, Debi went on to earn a B.A. in Creative Writing from Wayne State University. Debi’s poetry and creative nonfiction have been published in print and online and are widely recognized. Her chapter book, Kissy Frog, was awarded an honorable mention distinction in the W.I.N. Manuscript Contest. Additionally, her work has won several awards and a short compilation was once short-listed in the Listowel Writer’s Poetry Competition in Ireland.

Debi’s real life has taken many twists and turns. After living in the Detroit area her whole life, Debi found herself and her family moving first to the Netherlands, then to Ireland, and then back to the Netherlands. She lives there with her husband, Mark, and their three wonderful children, Ian, McKenna and Fallon and is in the process of re-learning to speak Dutch. Her writing resume includes poetry, creative non-fiction, children’s picture books and her most recent addition to the list, a novel for young adults.

As a writing coach, Debi hopes to pass on her love of words (even the nickel-and-dime variety) and to help young writers see the potential lurking just below the surface.