Empowering Writers

About Us

Empowering Writers is a group of motivated people with a passion for improving student writing. Our EW family is devoted to empowering the next generation of authors seated in classrooms today – it’s what gets us going in the morning and what keeps us motivated and attuned to the ever-changing climate of education in the 21st century.

Empowering Writers lessons, techniques and methodology grew out of the real world of the classroom. Veteran teacher and author Barbara Mariconda and grade level partner Dea Paoletta Auray launched the approach in their own classrooms, then throughout Mill Hill School in Fairfield, CT. As students became confident, enthusiastic writers, teachers began to take notice. But when Mill Hill achieved a 45-point increase in their state writing scores, educators across the state and beyond clamored to discover the secret of their success. Barbara and Dea began to offer professional development to share their high-impact methodologies centered around the specific skills good writers need, and Empowering Writers was born.

Today, our dynamic team of highly-committed professionals continues to transform writing instruction across the U.S., Canada, and the world. Our intensive, teacher-friendly workshops empower K-8 educators in narrative, expository, opinion and argument writing, as well as literary analysis tasks that meet the latest state and national standards. In addition to a full line of traditional comprehensive print resources for classroom use, The Hub offers educators a full service digital option with a look at the methodology applied in real classrooms, video tips and strategies from master teachers, instructional PowerPoints and direct to student content. Advice and instruction from the experts is just a keystroke away.

Empowering Writers’ Co-Founders and Authors

Dea Auray

CEO/Co-Founder


As a young girl Dea announced that she would someday sit at the head of the table and make all kinds of decisions. Well, as it turns out, dreams do come true! That is what most days are like as Chief of an Excellent Organization. With a Master’s Degree in Education, 25 years in the educational industry, and a degree in Business and Marketing, Dea is ideally suited for her Empowering Writers leadership role. She combines her business savvy, strong communication skills and passion for problem solving into her everyday duties, successfully navigating the challenges of a growing business and the dynamic needs of the educational industry. Dea is an educator, trainer, coach, creator of professional development and resources, entrepreneur and chief problem solver. When she is not sitting at the table she can be found operating the livery service for her three very active teenage children. Her home is in Easton, CT where she lives with her husband, Tom, their children, two pooches, three cats, and 18 hens and one very loud, happy rooster.

Barbara Mariconda

Author/Co-Founder


Empowering Writers cofounder and veteran educator Barbara Mariconda has over 30 books to her credit including an Edgar Allan Poe nominated middle grade novel, and a picture book that was a National Best Books and Children’s Choice finalist and a Moonbeam Award Gold Medal winner.  Her middle grade novel The Voyage of Lucy P. Simmons was named a 2013 Children’s Book Committee/Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books of the Year.  With the heart of a teacher, soul of a writer, and critical eye of an editor her handprint can be found on every resource that EW publishes. When she’s not writing, Barbara is likely travelling – she’s ridden a camel in the Sahara, a rickshaw in Tokyo, a hot air balloon over the Valley of the Kings, a dogsled in Alaska, climbed the Great Wall of China, kissed the Blarney Stone, soaked in the waters of Lourdes, and sailed in a gondola in Venice.  She has a son and a daughter, both fine artists, working in the fashion industry. Barbara lives in Rhode Island.