Our Team

Kerry McQuaide
Regional Advisor
Kyra Johnston
Assistant Regional Advisor
John Ebbert
Author, Creative Director, Illustrator
Kimberly Sabatini
Assistant Regional Advisor
Sarah Perkins
Illustrator Coordinator
Carolyn Huston

Eastern Up! Volunteer Regional Team

Eastern NY SCBWI is run by VOLUNTEERS!

All our volunteers donate their time to make this community more connected and more successful.

Our Eastern Up! Blog, Event Calendar, Monthly Newsletter, Reminder emails, Mighty Networks, Shoptalks, and Monthly Peer Critiques are all run by volunteers! 

Want to be more involved? Join the Regional Team in one of the volunteer positions listed at the bottom of the page!

Meet the Eastern Up! Regional Team

Kimberly Sabatini - Co-Assistant Regional Advisor

Kimberly Sabatini is a former Special Education Teacher who is now a very busy Domestic Engineer. After being a Poughkeepsie Shop Talk Co-Coordinator since November 2011, Kimberly became the SCBWI NY Eastern Up! Assistant Regional Advisor in January 2020. Kimberly grew up in Beacon, NY and after college, traveled to Germany, Arizona and North Carolina as a military spouse. Now back in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, three boys and a slightly naughty German Shepherd, she couldn’t be happier. Kimberly writes Young Adult fiction and is the winner of the 2016 Alice Curtis Desmond Award. She is represented by Michelle Wolfson of Wolfson Literary Agency. TOUCHING THE SURFACE is her debut novel. (Simon Pulse – Simon & Schuster)

If you have any questions, you can reach Kim at easternny-ara@scbwi.org

John Ebbert - Critique Coordinator

John spent many years designing and creating displays and store environments for children at The Scholastic Book Store, FAO Schwarz, and Toys “R” Us Times Square, in New York City. He has an MFA in Painting from Pratt Institute. 

While he is currently concentrating on writing and illustrating middle grade novels, recently, with his wife, artist/illustrator, Mison Kim, they set up a publishing company, Dooleyglot, to print a series of bilingual baby board books. They printed the first nine books in this series and released them in 2019. His poems have appeared in the Hudson Valley’s Chronogram magazine, and in a number of anthologies.

John now runs our monthly peer critiques. You can register for the critiques each month here: https://www.scbwi.org/events/free-monthly-peer-critiques-2024

Carolyn Huston - Self-publishing Coordinator

Carolyn Huston lives in upstate NY. She has three children. Her youngest, James has autism. He was diagnosed at 26 months and she gave up teaching to help him as much as possible. She has taken many trainings to support him and others with special needs. This was also when she decided to really try to jump-start her writing. The first query she submitted to FACES Magazine (an imprint of Highlights) was published in 2010 on the Indianapolis Zoo Teen Program.

She began writing the “James” series of books in 2011 when her son was heading to preschool and the librarian could not find any preschool books that dealt with kids with special needs. The first two books in the series were released in 2012. There are currently 12, with the last one being co-written by James. Carolyn chose to self-publish these books as the statistics on autism change every 2 years. The books can be edited to include the new statistics and rereleased within 48 hours.

One of the most pivotal years in Carolyn’s life was seventh grade when she lived at and attended a Navajo boarding school in northern New Mexico. This experience is one she is working on sharing. It is also a major influence on another series of books she is working on. Stay tuned for more details to come. 

Kyra Johnston - Co-Assistant Regional Advisor

Kyra Johnston was born and raised in Beacon, NY, where her love of reading, writing, and the arts was cultivated. She went to AMDA the College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts and received her BFA in Performing Arts, with a concentration in Theatre Dance. Shortly after, she completed an internship with Storm Literary Agency and now resides in NYC where she’s pursuing her performing and writing career. She’s so excited to be a Co-ARA for Eastern Up and can’t wait to work with everyone.

Sarah LuAnn Perkins - Illustrator Coordinator

Sarah LuAnn Perkins is an illustrator-author of whimsical stories for the children's publishing market. Her illustrations have the look of handmade prints, so many are surprised to learn that they are created almost entirely on a computer. Steampunk, folk, and fairy tales are common sources of inspiration, though any good story will do. She enjoys creating work full of wit, wonder, and whimsy.

Sarah grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah and received a BFA in illustration from Brigham Young University. She now lives in Upstate NY with her husband and two kids. She is the Illustration Coordinator for the SCBWI Eastern Upstate NY region. She is represented by Adria Goetz at Martin Literary Management.

Kerry McQuaide - Regional Advisor

Kerry is a writer and illustrator in the Hudson Valley. She studied in London at Chelsea School of Art and Design and graduated from Parsons School of Design. She began as the Regional Advisor for SCBWI Eastern New York January of 2020, right at the beginning of an international pandemic (that’s an example of correlation not causation)!

If you have any questions about the region or any of our numerous online events, you can reach out to Kerry here.

Our other volunteers:

We believe many hands make light work, so we ask our members to help out and contribute to the community when and how they can.

Some volunteers, speak at or organize Shoptalk meetings, others host or co-host our monthly peer critique meetings, others help moderate our social media and Mighty Networks, help proofread our blog and website, contribute to the blog, etc.

Tara Cerven

Courtney Ryan

Marker Snyder

Maryellen Annese

John Briggs

Linda Graf

Linda Hanlon

Trish Malone

Linda Marshall

Cathy Darlington

Maya van der Meer

Alysa Wishingrad

Jen Doll

Beck Rourke-Mooney

Volunteer Positions

Want to be more involved? Join the Regional Team in one of the following volunteer positions:

Library Liaison

Join Linda Hanlon as one of our library liaisons. Each library has a different director, different person planning programming, and different schedules for requesting rooms (when we can meet again in person!) If you are willing to talk to your local library about possible SCBWI partnerships, programming, etc.

Bookstore Liaison

We are so lucky with all the local indie bookstore we have in the Eastern NY region! The Hudson Valley Book trail doesn’t even cover all the bookstore in our region! We’d like to partner with bookstores and libraries for author’s book launches and special events. If you are willing to talk to your local bookstore about possible SCBWI partnerships, programming, etc.

Newsletter coordinator

If you are at all familiar with Constant Contact or you’d like to learn, we’d love to have you join our Regional Team of volunteers! Our newsletter is how we keep members up-to-date with events and opportunities. It is the glue that keeps the region connected. We need one person who can volunteer 1 hour a week using their writing and Constant Contact skills.

Email us if you are interested or have any questions.