Former NEA Administrator Erika Koss to Serve as RJA Executive Director

The RJA is pleased to welcome Erika Koss as its new Executive Director. Erika comes to us from the National Endowment of the Arts, where she has probably done as much to promote the reading of Jeffers as anyone in America over the last several years through her work with The Big Read.

Until May 2010, Erika Koss was the Artist Communities Specialist at the National Endowment for the Arts; before that, she was the NEA Literature Specialist who managed the “Literary Landmarks” component of The Big Read, which supported poetry-related historic sites including Robinson Jeffers’s Tor House in Carmel. She was the series editor for the 31 Reader’s Guides that have been used by more than 850 communities across the United States, Egypt, Russia, and Mexico. A native Californian, Erika holds a B.S. from The Master’s College and a M.A. from San Diego State University. She has taught literature and writing at San Diego State University, the University of San Diego, Point Loma Nazarene University, and Montgomery College. She teaches at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis and lives in Maryland with her two sons.

Erika is a gifted writer, public speaker, and administrator. She is deeply familiar with and loves the work of Jeffers, and is full of energy and new ideas about how to advance our mission.

Working with Rob Kafka, the Board, and me, Erika will lead the planning on our February 2011 conference, run our second annual fund, begin work on some grant writing, and ensure that the organization runs as smoothly as possible.

Members can reach her at

David J. Rothman, President, RJA