|| April 5, 2000
To Whom It May Concern:
This letter comes in support of Donna Washington, a woman I have known as a storyteller, colleague and friend for seven or more years.
Donna has performed as a storyteller for students and adults and as a workshop presenter for teachers on our district many times over the past seven years and I have gained enormous respect for her talents and abilities. I have seen Donna work with groups of kindergarteners, with intermediate grade children, with high school dropouts- with classroom size groups and with groups in excess of 400- and always Donna is able to time into where the audience is, and then pull them from there into her performance, into her story. Part of her storytelling skills resides in her own life journey, her recognition and respect for multiple cultures, and the stories that come from those cultures. Much of her skill as a presenter comes from her ability to connect with an audience on a personal level. Often Donna uses an interactive mode of storytelling to keep her audience involved and working with her.
A critical component of Donna's presentation is the enormous energy and enthusiasm, which she brings to her work. I have seen Donna dead on her feet and completely drained of energy because she was ill, yet the show went on, the stories were told with vigor and received with enthusiasm, and only those couple of people behind the scenes knew how sick she really was.
Just a few weeks ago I watched in utter amazement and respect as Donna worked with two audiences from an inner city school of nearly 400 students each, one performance after the other. These children had been in the care of substitute teachers for the day, had not been given good instruction about who Donna was or what was going to happen, not to mention that it was near the end of the school day. From the first word, Donna captivated them. They sat engrossed in her stories. Motionless. I can think of no finer praise then the attention of those tired, restless students.
Donna is an extra-ordinary presenter, storyteller and language teacher. She will be an asset where ever she works. I recommend her highly and without reservation.
Linda Bates Brookshire
Curriculum Facilitator for Reading, Language Arts and Foreign Languages