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December 22, 2020

Meet the New Spring 2021 Faculty!

By NYU SPS Center for Publishing Staff

As we prepare for the Spring 2021 semester, we are delighted to welcome five new faculty members to the NYU MS in Publishing program, and welcome back two who taught in the past, Andrea Colvin and Tessa Shanks. The following brief bios include some fun facts you might never guess about these publishing professionals joining our team of talented adjunct faculty. If you happen to have hermit crabs as a pet, or have interviewed Bette Midler, you will certainly relate. And if not, you’ll still be intrigued! 


Andrea Colvin (Graphic Novels / Manga) is Editorial Director, Graphic Publishing, at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. She joined Little, Brown in July 2019 with the mandate to curate a list of graphic novels for the youngest readers through middle-grade, teen, and YA. Her debut list with Little, Brown will publish in spring 2021, and include the middle-grade graphic novels Just Pretend by Tori Sharp, Shark Summer by Ira Marcks, and Lilla the Accidental Witch by Eleanor Crewes. Andrea was most recently editor in chief of the independent comics publisher Lion Forge, where she acquired such well-received graphic novels as Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu, No Ivy League by Hazel Newlevant, Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe, Upgrade Soul by Ezra Claytan Daniels, and the Amazon Graphic Novel of the Year for 2017, Lighter Than My Shadow by Katie Green. She earned her degree from the University of New Hampshire.

Andrea ran her first marathon in 2019 and came in third in her age group.

Headshot of Andrea Colvin

Jennifer Gonzalez (Book Sales and Merchandising) is President of Sales at Macmillan, where she manages relationships with all key accounts in the U.S. and Canada and leads a team of 100+ sales staff. Jennifer is a member of the Macmillan Trade Management Committee and analyzes the marketplace with regard to Macmillan’s products and that of the competition to look for new opportunities. Previously at Macmillan, she was Vice President of Children’s Sales, Vice President of Mass Merchandise and Children’s Sales, and Executive Vice President of Sales. Prior to joining Macmillan, Jennifer held positions at Penguin Random House, Candlewick Press, Levy Home Entertainment, and Barnes & Noble. She received her degree from the University of California, Irvine.

True Crime is Jennifer’s favorite genre to read and watch; she started out in life wanting to go into forensics and still has a love for it.

Headshot of Jennifer Gonzalez

Mary Beth Jarrad (Workshop in Academic and Independent Presses) is Marketing and Sales Director for NYU Press at New York University, where she is responsible for sales and marketing of all titles, print and electronic, across all channels and into all markets. She manages the team responsible for publicity, exhibits, direct mail, advertising, awards, electronic marketing, social media, special sales, and the website. Prior to joining NYU Press, she was Senior Director of International Sales and Marketing at Random House; Associate Director, Sales and Marketing, Library Wholesaler and Latin America at Cambridge University Press; and held several positions at Oxford University Press. Mary Beth earned her degree from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

Since the onset of the pandemic, Mary Beth has moved the hermit crabs that were her office pets to her apartment, where they are living uneasily alongside her two overly curious cats.

Headshot of Mary Beth Jarrad

Margaret Wheeler Johnson (Editing Creative Content) is Bustle Digital Group's Director of Special Projects and works on major editorial initiatives, partnerships, and brand extensions across BustleRomperElite DailyNYLON, and The Zoe Report. She was previously BDG's Director of Features and Brand Initiatives, overseeing all digital issues across brands, and she has served as the managing editor of both Bustle and Romper. Before coming to BDG, she was the founding editor of Huffington Post Women. She has also worked on the editorial staffs of Babble.com and Vogue. Originally from New Orleans, she lives in Manhattan with her wife, two daughters, and a vizsla named Clay. She earned her MA in Journalism for New York University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Margaret has been to Lithuania – twice!

Headshot of Margaret Wheeler Johnson

Tessa Shanks (Multimedia Financial Analysis II) is the Director of Financial Planning and Analysis at ABRAMS, where she oversees budgeting, forecasting, and financial and sales analysis for the company. Previously she worked in the textbook division of W.W. Norton and the corporate finance department of Perseus Books. The business manager of ABRAMS, where she oversees budgeting, forecasting, and financial and sales analysis for the Adult group. Previously she worked in the textbook division of W.W. Norton and the corporate finance department of Perseus Books. Prior to her career in corporate finance, Tessa spent nine years working in publicity at Knopf and PublicAffairs, where she rose to the rank of Assistant Director of Publicity, working with authors such as former Governor of Michigan Jennifer Granholm, and journalists Gay Talese and Joan Didion. Tessa is a graduate of Oberlin College.

Tessa was born in Wasilla, AK, the same town where Sara Palin was mayor before she became Governor of Alaska and then subsequently ran for Vice President in 2008.

Headshot of Tessa Shanks

Rich Thomas (Graphic Novels / Manga) is Vice President, Director of Publishing for The Harper Group at HarperCollins Children’s Books, where he develops and executes strategic plans for the Harper, HarperFestival, HarperTeen and HarperAlley imprints. His teams publish graphic novels, picture books, board and novelty books, early readers, chapter books, middle grade and young adult novels, as well as licensed publishing and intellectual property programs. He acquires and edits approximately 15 titles per year and leads a team of 32. Rich launched multiple imprints and initiatives including the HarperAlley graphic novel imprint, HarperInk IP team, and the HarperChapters line of paperback chapter books and led the team responsible for development of 18 New York Times bestsellers for 2019. Prior to joining HarperCollins Children’s Books as a consultant, he held several editorial positions at Disney Publishing Worldwide, culminating as Associate Publisher and Editorial Director, as well as having held editorial positions at DC Comics, Hyperion Books, Macmillan, and Princeton Review Publishing, LLC. He serves on the Board of the Children’s Book Council. Rich received his MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

Even though Rich is a lifelong New Yorker – born, raised, and schooled in NYC – the time he’s spent in California for business trips during his tenure with Disney accumulates to almost 2 full years.

Headshot of Rich Thomas

Sara Waber (Workshop in Video Editing) is Associate Director of Video at Simon & Schuster, where she manages a team of videographers, editors, and coordinators to create video for all Simon & Schuster imprints. She launches original series from pitch to completion; directs in-studio and remote shoots; and manages the company's video properties on YouTube. Previously a Video Producer for Simon & Schuster and a freelance content producer and social media manager, she was also a Co-Founder and Video Producer for Play Too Much. Sara earned her degree from Hunter College of the City University of New York.

In 2016 Sara co-founded the music blog Play Too Much, where she filmed and interviewed many artists and some celebrities, too; a highlight was interviewing Bette Midler, who happened to be dressed as Winifred from Hocus Pocus. Not bad for a field interview!

Headshot of Sara Waber

For more information about the NYUSPS Center for Publishing, please visit our website.


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