Our Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak

As a precaution to help limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and care for our community, Just Buffalo Literary Center has postponed a number of events, and we will follow the guidance of Buffalo Public Schools in terms of Just Buffalo Writing Center programming.

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Our Staff & Board of Directors

Just Buffalo’s Staff

Every member of our staff believes in the love of reading, the art of writing, and the power of the literary arts to transform individual lives and communities.

Laurie Dean Torrell

Laurie Dean Torrell

Executive Director


LAURIE DEAN TORRELL has more than 25 years of experience in nonprofit organizations. Under her leadership since 2002, Just Buffalo has pioneered strategic collaboration; developed and implemented strategic, marketing and development plans; retained top talent at the staff and board levels; and secured grants and donations to double the budget and bring expanded literary programming to the community including BABEL. In conjunction with Just Buffalo’s 40th Anniversary (2014-2017), Torrell spearheaded JB40—a campaign to fully establish the new Just Buffalo Writing Center, expand visibility and participation, and ensure Just Buffalo’s work and mission remain vital for years to come.

Barbara Cole

Barbara Cole

Artistic Director & Associate Executive Director


BARBARA COLE is the Artistic Director of Just Buffalo and a 2011 Fellow in Poetry from the New York Foundation for the Arts. Cole began her involvement with Just Buffalo as a teaching artist, working closely with students in the Buffalo Public Schools, before joining the organization as Education Director (2008-2012). Born and raised in Philadelphia, she received her M.A. in Creative Writing—Poetry from Temple University before coming to Buffalo to earn her Ph.D. in English from the University at Buffalo. Since 2000, Cole has been writing the ongoing long poem project affectionately known as foxy moron. In addition to her poetic projects, she edited Poets at Play: An Anthology of Modernist Drama with Sarah Bay-Cheng (Susquehanna University Press, 2010).

Noah Falck

Noah Falck

Education Director


NOAH FALCK is the author of Exclusions (Tupelo Press, 2020) finalist for the 2020 Believer Book Award for poetry, as well as several chapbooks including Prerecorded Weather written with Matt McBride (SurVision Books, 2022) Winner of the James Tate Poetry Prize. He edited Ten Years of Poems in Grain Silos (Just Buffalo, 2022) & co-edited My Next Heart: New Buffalo Poetry (BlazeVox Books, 2017) and has been anthologized in Poem-A-Day 365 Poems for Every Occasion (Abrams Books, 2015). His work has appeared in Kenyon Review, Literary Hub Poetry Daily, & Poets.org. Originally from Dayton, Ohio, where he spent 10 years teaching elementary school, he now works as Education Director at Just Buffalo Literary Center and curates the Silo City Reading Series, a multimedia poetry series inside a 130-foot high abandoned grain elevator.

Robin Jordan

Robin Lee Jordan

Writing Center Coordinator


ROBIN LEE JORDAN is a poet & collage-based visual artist with an interest in multimodal, interactive, & collaborative creation. She is the author of the chapbooks Morning Blessing Poems (Foundlings Press) and THEY ATE EACH OTHER UP (Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs). She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Oregon State University. She occasionally maintains the (B)uffalo (A)rt (D)ispensary, a coin-operated, micro-art dispenser. Robin has worked with Just Buffalo since 2012 as a teaching artist and coordinator of the Just Buffalo Writing Center, a creative writing center for teens.

Lynda Kaszubski

Lynda Kaszubski

Executive Assistant


LYNDA G. KASZUBSKI is the shared Executive Assistant for Just Buffalo Literary Center and CEPA Gallery. She brings over 25 years experience in the office environment, having previously co-owned a typesetting service for 15 years before joining Just Buffalo. Ms. Kaszubski has an A.S. in Business Administration from SUNY Empire State College, and is a Notary Public for the State of New York in Erie County.

Richie Wills

Richie Wills

Program Coordinator & Teaching Artist


RICHIE WILLS holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the SUNY College at Buffalo. Before being hired as a staff member, he worked as a Writing Center and BABEL volunteer and as an outreach coordinator for Words on the Street and The Mocha Center. He is also contributing writer for The Galactic Tribe and continues to work as a community organizer. He is a 2020 Oishei Leaders of Color Fellow, currently participating in program designed to support and develop nonprofit leaders of color, with local cohort and national reach. Richie believes in the power of the written word and storytelling to bring people together and break barriers.

Debora Ott


When Just Buffalo Literary Center’s founder, Debora Ott, first heard Robert Creeley’s poem “Love Comes Quietly” as a teenager in New York City, it inspired her to come to the University at Buffalo to study with the poet himself. UB’s English Department was legendary, attracting incredible poets and writers to both its faculty and its student body. Born in 1975 out of that intense period of innovation in the literary arts, Just Buffalo created a new niche, inviting writers out of academia and into the heart of the community.

Just Buffalo’s Board of Directors

Just Buffalo’s work would not be possible without the dedication of our committed volunteer board of directors.


Board Officers


Elizabeth Pascal
Hodgson Russ LLP

Vice President

Pauline Muto
Associate Attorney 
Hodgson Russ LLP


Thomas F. Hewner
Cole, Sorrentino, Hurley, Hewner, & Gambino, PC


Sandra Block, M.D.
Writer & Physician
Buffalo Medical Group

Board Members

James Bachwitz
JRB Insights

Paul A. Battaglia

Melissa (Missy) G. Baumgart
R&P Oak Hill, LLC

Kanika Durland 

Mary E. Farallo
VP HR Operations
Catholic Health

Collin Gehl
Director of Human Resources
Say Yes Buffalo

Geraldine Grossman
Executive & Leadership Coach

Steve Peraza
Assistant Professor
SUNY College at Buffalo


About Just Buffalo Literary Center

Our Newsletters & Annual Reports

40 Years of Just Buffalo History

JB40 Stories Collection