Meet Ruth Manna

By Ruth Manna on August 30, 2010
  • Grades: 3–5

I’m always excited as a new school year approaches. It’s the time of year when all the pencils are sharp and none of the crayons are broken and I’m filled with a sense of hope and possibility. It’s an annual “do-over.”

I’ve been an elementary teacher for 25 years in New Jersey, Illinois, and Massachusetts. During that time I’ve taught many, diverse students in urban, suburban, and rural schools.

I graduated from George Washington University, with a BA in Political Science and a MAT in elementary education. In 2007 I entered an administrative licensure program and am now licensed in Massachusetts as both a teacher and a principal.

Since 2005 I’ve worked for eScholastic here on In 2005-2006 I served as an online mentor teacher and developed five units of study.

Since 2006 I’ve been moderator of Scholastic’s Teacher Helpline, a message board for new and veteran teachers. Teachers wrote with their questions and problems and I responded with specific, personal answers, usually within 24 hours.

By 2008 the Helpline archive had so many posts that it was awkward for teachers to use, so I selected 130 questions and answers and rewrote them in a book. My book, 130 FAQs and Practical Answers from Scholastic’s Teacher Helpline, was published in 2009.

I recently accepted a position as Director of Curriculum and Assessment for Mohawk Trail Regional School District in Shelburne Falls, MA. In my new job I’ll visit teachers in six elementary schools and one middle school. As I travel to these schools I’ll learn new techniques and strategies I’ll pass on to Top Teaching readers. I’m excited about continuing my work on Teacher Helpline as well as working alongside so many talented, creative colleagues here on Top Teaching.

Best wishes to you for a wonderful school year!


Hi Maria, Thanks for writing. It's always great when we can use literature to teach about life. I've noticed that what we learn from literature really sticks and we can refer back to it as the year progresses and as situations come up. :) I started a class webpage in 2004 and someone at Scholastic must have noticed. I began to email back and forth about my webpage, its features, etc. Then I was asked to join the Teacher National Advisory Board for the website. In 2005 I served as an online mentor teacher for one school year and developed 5 units of study for the site, which was what online mentor teachers did back then. In late 2005 I started a message board for new teachers here. The message board grew and in 2009 I picked 130 FAQs and wrote a book for new teachers. Now I'm a contributing teacher on Top Teaching blog. This fall I left the classroom and became a Director of Curriculum and Assessment so I have a new perspective on what happens in classrooms. What I'd suggest is get involved, create a webpage, use Top Teaching, Teacher Share, and Book Wizard, and comment often!

Ruth, I love the use of literature to teach social skills. I have been using literature in my EI classroom for years. It really helps them relate to the skills. By the way, How did you become an advisory teacher for Scholastic? I am very interested in sharing my knowledge and hopefully inspire young teachers to work with special needs students. Please let me know. Maria

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