Julia Torres

Book Ambassador

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Julia E. Torres is a TheEdCollab Book Ambassador, focusing on 6-12 readers (meet our K-5 Ambassador, JoEllen, here). Julia is an expert in matching texts with readers, in secondary writing and reading instruction, including accelerated reading and writing instruction for multilingual students and those learning in urban environments. Julia is fluent in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Julia facilitates workshops and professional conversations around the country pertaining to best practices in reading and writing instruction, culturally sustaining pedagogies in language arts, as well as digital literacy and librarianship.

Julia is a nationally recognized and award winning teacher-librarian. She is co-author with Valerie Tagoe of Liven Up Your Library (ISTE 2022). She is currently Teen Programs Administrator for a public library system. Formerly, she was teacher-librarian for five schools on the Montbello Campus within the Far Northeast region of Denver Public schools.

Julia has taught in small, medium, and large districts, across the Western United States. Her high school teaching career has included teaching freshman English up through advanced courses including World Literature and AP English Literacy and Composition. In 2014, Julia began teaching in the largest—and only urban—district in Colorado, Denver Public Schools. As a teacher at Denver Center for International Studies at Montbello, Julia taught Concurrent Enrollment English classes partnering with Aurora Community College. Julia has also taught Creative Writing and African-American Literature through University of Colorado Denver’s Upward Bound pre-collegiate summer academic institute.

Within Denver Public Schools, Julia was chosen to be a member of the steering committee for the Superintendent’s African-American Equity Task Force ongoing work that continues to seek improved schooling and work conditions for African-American students and teachers within Denver Public Schools.  Julia has also cooperated with the DPS Imaginarium and the Culture Equity Leadership Team as a school leader working to spread the adoption of culturally responsive teaching practices throughout the district. Julia leads several community book clubs and projects focused on engaging literature written predominantly by authors of color for children of color.

In May 2018, Julia was selected as a 2018-20 Heinemann Fellow. Her action research focuses on the changing role of school libraries, and the intersection between traditional and digital literacy as pertaining to the formation of reading identities among secondary education students in urban school districts.

As a teacher/activist committed to education as a practice of freedom, her practice is grounded in the work of empowering teachers and students to use language arts education to fuel resistance and positive social transformation.  Julia has also served Colorado language arts teachers as the Vice-President and President of the regional NCTE affiliate–The Colorado Language Arts Society, she is the current NCTE Secondary Representative-at-Large.  In her work as a member of Educolor’s Working Group, Julia frequently collaborates with the collective by participating in online chats as well as local community organizing and the creation of school and classroom resources that promote educational equity, student agency, and the advancement of teacher pedagogy with respect to anti-bias/anti-racist educational curriculum development, and practices, as well as educational progressivism.

A record of some of Julia’s time in the classroom is kept on her blog at juliaetorres.blog Julia was awarded the 2020 NCTE Colorado Affiliate Teacher of Excellence award, chosen as a 2020 Library Journal Mover and Shaker, and serves as a member of the ALAN (Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE) Board of Directors. Julia is a co-founder of DisruptTexts.org and a current Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award Committee Member a Book Love Foundation Board Member and Podcast Creative Director. Her work has been featured in several publications including NCTE’s Council Chronicle, NPR, AlJazeera’s The Stream, PBS Education, KQED’s MindShift, NY Times Learning Network, The Chicago Tribune, ASCD’s Education Update, Rethinking Schools, School Library Journal, and many more.

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