Mini Course Presenters
Marco Alberto, REACH Ashland Youth Center
Marco Alberto is a Teaching Artist at the REACH Ashland Youth Center and local community organizer. Starting as a youth intern at REACH in 2012, Marco left his hometown to pursue higher education, which he completed at UC Berkeley, returning to the youth center upon graduation with a peace-building fellowship which he chose to carry out at REACH. The project that followed was Speak my Peace, an ever evolving space for free youth expression, which has continued beyond the fellowship, as the path of peace building never ends. Outside of his community development, teaching and leadership work in Ashland, Marco enjoys traveling, unraveling the mysteries of the universe, creating music and visual art, and dabbling in mycology.
Caren Andrews, San Francisco Friends School
Caren Andrews is a practicing Teaching Artist with over 25 years of working with both children and adult learners. Caren is a founding faculty member of the San Francisco Friends School, where she teaches kindergarten though fourth grades. Additionally, she is faculty for the Alameda County Office of Education’s Integrated Learning Specialist Program. Caren holds a BFA in Fine Arts from UCLA and a Masters Degree in Education specializing in Arts Integration from Lesley University.
Caren sees it as her job to enchant the material she teaches, “hooking” all learners from the person who is visually articulate to the person who thinks they can’t draw. Interdisciplinary integration of all academic and arts disciplines has been a key in designing experiences that resonate and have meaning for her students. It is Caren’s objective to have students consider and come to understand what an artist is, how we are artists, creative thinkers and problem solvers and what the relationship between art, social justice, and action is.
Cheryl Ball, Book Arts Roadshow
Cheryl Ball is a native San Franciscan who has always loved books and paper. Cheryl has taken Master Classes in bookbinding with Dominic Riley and Michael Burke, and has completed the Bookbinding Certification at the San Francisco Center for the Book. She brought her love of bookmaking to her former position at a San Francisco Public Elementary-Middle School as their Art Coordinator and now, every year there, the students create original story filled bound books. Cheryl is currently the Administration Coordinator at the San Francisco Center for the Book and an ILSP Apprentice with the Alameda County Office of Education.
Jennyann Cathern, Paint Is Thicker Than Water Studio of the Arts
All Jennyann Cathern ever wanted to do in life was make art, until the day she was invited to teach it to youth at a local community center. Since then she has expanded her goals and graduated with a BFA in Illustration from the California College of the Arts, while developing her skills as a Teaching Artist with over 16+ years working with youth in non-profits, after-school programs, and school districts throughout Solano County, Napa, and the San Francisco Bay Area. She opened a process-based art studio called Paint Is Thicker Than Water Studio of the Arts in Benicia, CA, and is working as a Senior Certified Trainer for the California School-Age Consortium and the Science Action Club through the SF Academy of Science, providing training to after-school staff.
Today, her passion and practice have led her to advocacy. Volunteering as an Ambassador and Team Leader for the California After-school Challenge and as an active board member for Benicia Arts Now, an organization that advocates for art education through more access to the arts.
Cathryn Deering, Florence Griffith Joyner Elementary & Visual & Performing Arts Magnet
Cathryn Deering has been an educator for over 15 years. She received her BA in Music from the University of California at Berkeley and continued her studies of Opera in Milan, Italy after graduating. Upon her return, she started to teach in an after-school music program where she discovered her true passion was working with children. In 2003, she graduated from Pepperdine University with a Masters in Education and Multi-Subject Teaching Credential with a Supplemental Credential in Music. In 2015, she received a second Masters Degree in Education Administration from the Principal Leadership Institute at UCLA. She currently works in Watts at Florence Griffith Joyner Elementary School and Visual and Performing Arts Magnet, a Turnaround Arts School, as a Magnet Coordinator, Arts Coordinator, and Music Teacher.
During her career as an educator, she has taught grades K-5, has been an ELD Coordinator, Common Core Lead, Grade Level Chair, Mentor Teacher, Teacher Support Coach, and delivers professional development and coordinates the implementation of arts integrated instruction at her school and supports other schools in LAUSD as well. Her true passion as an educator is social justice and creating an equitable education for all children, especially with integrating the arts.
Lisa considers herself a learner, before all else – and is happiest taking in the rolling ocean waves and dips and heights of her native city, San Francisco, CA. She began working in elementary classrooms over 15 years ago as part of her undergraduate and California teaching credential work at San Francisco State University. Throughout those years, she was continuously struck by the fulfillment that learning and growing with a group of students and a school community brought. Lisa began her teaching career in SFUSD in the 3rd grade classroom – developing and refining curriculum that spoke to the interests of the students, as well as maintaining a sense of continuity and connectedness. Following her time in San Francisco, Lisa taught in Raleigh, NC, working with 2nd, 3rd, and 5th graders.
A desire to dive deeper into her own positionality in the classroom, as well as interrogate her very visceral responses to the (over)standardization of education, brought Lisa to New York City, where she pursued a Masters in Teaching and Curriculum in Elementary Education from Teachers College at Columbia University. During this time, she concurrently taught 5th grade in the South Bronx. Her work in schools and the communities they serve has fed a passion for social justice by way of a compassionate, self-aware, and empowered learning community. As a second generation San Francisco native, Lisa has always been keenly aware of what a special place this city is – its families, its landscape, its history – and is delighted to be back home once again.
Eric Engdahl, CSU East Bay
Dr. Engdahl has been Chair of the Department of Teacher Education at Cal State East Bay since 2014. He is President-Elect of the California Council on Teacher Education. He is currently serving as a member of the Visual and Performing Arts Standards Advisory Committee for the California Department of Education. His current research agenda focuses on Social Emotional Learning/Culturally Responsive Teaching. He has recently presented on how middle and high school teachers can use SEL/CRT at state and national conferences. Recent publications include a chapter in Preparing Educators for Arts Integration: Placing Creativity at the Center of Learning (Teacher’s College Press, 2017) and We’ll Come Back When You’re Teaching: Examining the Need for Curricular Reform in Higher Education in Response to the Introduction of Transitional Kindergarten in California’s Public Schools (multiple authors, Teacher Education Quarterly 2018).
Dr. Engdahl holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, a M.F.A. from Southern Methodist University, and a B.A. from Pomona College. Many years ago he ran away and joined the circus, spending a season as a Ringmaster.
Viviana Espinosa, Costano Elementary School, Ravenswood City Elementary SD
Viviana Espinosa started as Principal of Costano Elementary School three years ago, after two years as Assistant Principal and seven years as a classroom teacher on site. She holds a Masters in Instructional Leadership from Reach Institute for School Leadership in Oakland, CA and an additional Masters in Language and Literacy from San Francisco State University. By participating in Turnaround Arts, Viviana was able to connect her deep-seated passion for whole school transformation and her commitment to culturally responsive teaching by utilizing the arts as a vehicle to achieve equity and access for every child.
Zollie Fears, REACH Ashland Youth Center
Zollie Fears is a Teaching Artist for the REACH Ashland Youth Center since it’s opening in 2013. He specializes in Audio Engineering, Music Production, and Songwriting. At age 20, he participated in an international rap competition called TeamBackPack (now named World Underground) where he went against 1,000 other competitors and finished top 8 in the competition. Nowadays, he’s working with Grammy-winning Music Artists and Producers such as Fantastic Negrito and Kuk Harrell in his spare time away from the youth center as an Audio Engineer.
Itoco Garcia, HipHop Scholastics
Dr. Garcia has been a transformative professional educator for 19 years in some of the most challenged schools in the Bay Area, and has dedicated his life and career to achieving educational equity for all students traditionally failed by our public school system. He spent 12 years as a teacher and instructional coach, and 6 years as a middle school and elementary school administrator in Oakland and Hayward. He is a San Francisco native and a graduate of Tamalpais High school in Mill Valley, UC Berkeley (B.A. & Ed.D.), and Fresno State (M.A.T.). He is currently the Co Executive Director of HipHop Scholastics and a Director of Customized Support with Partners in School Innovation.
He is an expert in English Language Learners, Culturally and Linguistically Sustaining Teaching and Learning, School Climate (PBIS & RJ), School Transformation, Community Schools Development, Community Engagement and HipHop Pedagogy Education.
Shannon Gerrity, Creative Flow Founder & SFUSD Teacher
Shannon is an active artist represented at City Art Gallery in San Francisco. She is a California licensed educator with fifteen years of experience teaching elementary visual art, middle and high school English, and EAL to adults. Shannon has taught internationally in Norway and the Netherlands as well as for San Francisco Unified School District. She is a 200-hour Kripalu yoga and mindfulness certified instructor. Shannon is juiced about her new business, Creative Flow - a service that brings art-making experiences to adults in workplace settings (www.findcreativeflow.com).
Judy Goodman, City College of San Francisco
Judy Goodman is a Professor of Theater and Art, in the Disabled Students Programs and Services at City College of San Francisco. She holds holds a Master’s Degree in Theater Education and K-12 teaching credential, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in visual arts, and has been teaching theater and visual art for City College of San Francisco’s Disabled Students Programs for the past 13 years. Through teaching for CCSF she has taught both on campuses and at many off site venues that serve adults with disabilities including; The Pomeroy Center, ARC of SF, Lighthouse for the Blind, and Creativity Explored. In the past she has taught for the Richmond District After-school collaborative, movement and theater specialist for the Laurel School, SFUSD, The New Conservatory Theater, Young Audiences of the Bay Area, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and SF Arts Education Project. She is currently a member of Adeline’s Lab artist collective and a proud Oakland resident and parent of three boys in the Oakland Unified School District.
Judy Goodwin, Maya Lin Elementary, Alameda USD
Judith Goodwin is an educator with 30 years of experience. After teaching in Hayward Unified for 10 years, Judith became an administrator with the Alameda Unified School District. In 2010, she worked with a group of teachers and community members to develop a proposal for an arts integrated inquiry learning innovative program and Maya Lin School was born. Now in its 7th year of operation, Judith works with her staff and community to continue to develop standards based art centered learning experiences for students which show the depth of their understanding about themselves and the world they live in.
Ciera Jevae Gordon, RYSE Center
As the Media, Arts, & Culture (MAC) Program Manager, CiCi mentors and supports her team as they collectively elevate all art forms within RYSE. CiCi is passionate about creating spaces where youth are comfortable so they can challenge themselves and their peers in their art while building community. Cici recently published her second book of poetry entitled Unto Ivy’s Rib. She has taught poetry at the Santa Cruz County jail, received the Dean's Award for her chapbook Incarcerated Words, All Campus Honors Awards, and was placed fifth in the nation as part of the Root Slam Team in 2018. She holds a BA in Sociology, and an MFA in Writing and has been on four national slam teams. She currently serves as one of Richmond's Poets Laureate.
Cammie Harris, Will C. Wood Middle School, Alameda USD
Cammie Harris is the award-winning Principal of Will C. Wood Middle School and has been acknowledged for its resurgence. She starts each school day greeting all 600 students by name. Her many accomplishments include implementing Engage, Prepare, Inspire; establishing a Technology and Design Lab; securing grants for a Robotics Club; and being recognized as a 2017 Gold Ribbon Winner for STEAM-Integrated Learning and a Girls Inc. Women of the Year for 2018. Cammie attended Mills College and received her Masters from San Francisco State University. She is proud of her 30 year marriage to her best friend and her two accomplished daughters. She enjoys traveling, snorkeling, dancing, and teaching Sunday school to elementary students. She was awarded the Alameda Unified secondary administrator of the year award in 2017.
Liz Harvey, Turnaround Arts: California
Liz Harvey is arts educator and interdisciplinary artist whose passion is achieving equity through the arts. Currently, she serves as Regional Coach for Turnaround Arts California as well as a teaching artist for the Museum of Children’s Art in Oakland and a trainer/coach for Visual Thinking Strategies. She has served as an Artist in Residence at the San Jose Museum of Art and Textiles, Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, and the de Young Museum in San Francisco. She is a recipient of awards for her sculpture from the California Arts Council and the Peninsula Artists Fund, and for her teaching through the L.A. Cultural Affairs Department. She holds an MFA in Sculpture from CSU Long Beach.
A’aron B. Heard
A’aron B. Heard is an artist, learner, and educator rooted in love, curiosity, and community. She graduated from the University of Southern California in spring 2014 and began her public education teaching career that fall in East Oakland at Alliance Academy Middle School. As an educator she has sat on school design teams, school leadership teams, interview teams, and participated in an abundant amount of trainings and fellowships focused on design thinking, arts integration, integrated learning, and creative inquiry - including a two-year fellowship with Harvard Project Zero: Agency By Design. Described as the heart of the team, she is grounded in purpose, leads with enthusiasm, questions with a critical curiosity, and prioritizes learning, reflection, and growth. This workshop brings her full circle, as it was here where she met her mentors Mariah Rankine and Jessa Brie-Moreno, the creators of the Rise Up curriculum.
Noemy Hernandez, Everyday Arts
Noemy Hernandez is passionate about arts in education. She is an active CEO, arts administrator, choreographer and artistic director who has worked extensively in New York and Los Angeles. For the last four years, Noemy has been the Los Angeles Program Coordinator for Everyday Arts for Special Education. She has helped both develop curriculum and administratively implement a PDAE grant from the US Department of Education— an iteration of EASE concurrently occurring at the NYCDOE and the LAUSD. She facilitated workshops, coordinated logistics with LAUSD district members and principals, and trained teachers to integrate the arts into their everyday curriculum to increase student engagement. When living in New York, she was part of the Teaching Artist team for a multi-million dollar i3 grant for the program Every Day Arts for Special Education (E.A.S.E.), working with special needs students and their teachers at the NYC Department of Education. She is currently the CEO of Bilingual Birdies Hollywood-- a live music program that teaches Spanish in early childhood, as well as a Workshop Coordinator for ArtworxLA- a program that brings arts education to continuation high schools and Los Angeles County Office of Education school sites. She holds a Certificate in Arts Management from the University of California, Irvine.
Artistically, Noemy served as Artistic Director of Calpulli Mexican Dance Company in New York City. Among other projects, she choreographed for The Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Grammy Award-winning artist Arturo O’Farrill & his Jazz Orchestra, the New York Metropolitan Museum, and the Brooklyn Museum. Her choreography has been presented at the Bahrain Grand Prix in the Kingdom of Bahrain, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, and NYC’s Shakespeare in the Park. She has also been contracted to work at Everybody Dance!’s Gabriella Charter School and coach finalists in Miami for YoungArts— the only path to becoming a Presidential Scholar in the Arts. She has taught arts and arts integration curriculum to children in Los Angeles and New York for over 15 years.
Michelle Holdt, Arts Ed Matters
Michelle Holdt is the Founding Executive Director of Arts Ed Matters and the Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator for San Mateo County Office of Education. She is also an arts integration specialist and theater educator with a strong commitment to leading an arts-rich life and making the arts available for all children. Michelle is also faculty in the ILSP program and recently won a fellowship to take “The Art of Self Care” national.
Natasha Huey, Performing Arts Workshop
Natasha Huey is a poet, teaching artist, and project manager. At Youth Speaks, she organized Brave New Voices, the largest international youth poetry festival in the world, and managed campaigns that applied youth voice to changing public conversations about systemic injustices including environmental drivers of type 2 diabetes, educational inequities, and more. Natasha has performed on stages across the nation and beyond including the Oracle Arena in Oakland, the Warfield Theater in San Francisco, the Saban Theatre in Los Angeles, and Atlantis, the Palm in Dubai. Natasha graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Language, Power, and Identity and a Creative Writing minor. Natasha is currently an Artist Mentor at Performing Arts Workshop, co-founder of The Root Slam, and co-founder of the Write Home Project.
Rachel Hull, Berkeley Rep School of Theatre at Berkeley Repertory Theatre
Rachel Hull is the director of Berkeley Rep’s School of Theatre, where she oversees a team of talented artists and arts educators. Working within 10 counties in the greater Bay Area, Berkeley Rep’s programming is through elementary, middle, and high school partnerships and all ages programming at the Theatre. Rachel is a, co-chair of the Berkeley Arts Education Steering Committee, and past member of the Alliance for Arts Learning Leadership through Alameda County Office of Education Arts Education Alliance Bay Area and board member of American Alliance for Theatre Education. Previously, she was the director of education at Dallas Theater Center, where she oversaw all education and community programs including Project Discovery, winner of the 2013 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, given by Frist Lady Michelle Obama. As a contributor within the Dallas Arts District, Rachel lead collaborations with a variety of arts and cultural organizations during her tenure at DTC including the Dallas Museum of Art, Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Big Thought, Dallas ISD and other surrounding districts, and a founding member of the Informal Educators of Dallas County, Theatre Educators of North Texas advisor, and steering committee member of Theatre Forward’s education task force. Outside of her work within regional theatre, Rachel mentors student teachers at UC Berkeley, and has taught at Southern Methodist University, the University of Texas at Austin, Educational Theatre Association, Dallas ISD professional development, and presented at the University of Houston’s Center for Arts Leadership, the American Alliance for Theatre Education, and the National Guild for Community Arts Education.
Jahiem Geovannie Jones, RYSE Center
Jahiem Geovanni Jones is a RYOT (Richmond Youth Organizing Team) Fellow at the RYSE Youth Center in Richmond, California. His organizing efforts are centered on social justice issues in the community and how they positively or negatively impact youth emotionally, mentally, or physically. He has faced obstacles around race, gender, sexuality, and appearance. He achieved a lot being a youth organizer at the RYSE Youth Center from being more vulnerable, having more patience, and showing leadership in a way that leads with love and pushes for safety in the community.
Kurt Kaaekuahiwi, Roses in Concrete
Kurt is currently serving at Roses In Concrete Community MS in East Oakland, Ca. He has been working there over the last two years as a lead teacher developing MS program pillars and programming that focuses on design/making, arts-integration, dual-language immersion and STEAM. Vision: We believe all students are creators. Roses in Concrete, strives to build curious, human centered, community-minded creators who exercise critical empathy to humanize themselves and others and thus, build socially just and equitable communities. Mission: We are committed to building student agency through an interdisciplinary approach that integrates art and human centered design.
Over the past years, he has designed Ethnic Studies curriculum’s and frameworks for OUSD and SFUSD, developed national SEL middle school curriculum, worked as instructional coach for Building Intentional Communities, teacher-researcher for Agency by Design through Harvard School Of Education Project Zero, design/maker program for MS and teaching fellow for Arts Integration and Maker Centered Learning.
Faith Kwon, Costano Elementary School, Ravenswood City Elementary SD
Faith Kwon is a 1st grade teacher at Costano Elementary School, and a district instructional coach and professional developer for Ravenswood City School District in East Palo Alto. In addition to her instructional leadership, she also serves as a co-lead for her school's Turnaround Arts program, working to support teachers and administrators in leveraging the arts to create more equitable environments for our students. Faith is a graduate of STEP (Stanford Teacher Education Program) in Stanford's Graduate School of Education.
Miko Lee, Youth in Arts
Miko is Executive Director of Youth in Arts and previously served as Director of Art and Education at East Bay Center for the Performing Arts where she designed and directed “Learning Without Borders,” recipient of three consecutive U.S. Department of Education awards. Miko has developed arts education programs for the Bay Area Discovery Museum and the National Park Service, as well as for multiple Bay Area and California theater companies. She was a member of the Advisory Panel for the National Endowment for the Arts Professional Development for Arts Education, has presented at numerous national arts conferences, and her arts integration curricula have been replicated around the country. Miko’s extensive background as an actor, director and choreographer includes work at American Conservatory Theatre, New York’s Public Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, Seattle Repertory Theatre and Berkeley Repertory Theatre.
Sara Leimbach, Florence Griffith Joyner Elementary & Visual & Performing Arts Magnet
Sara Leimbach has devoted the last 13 years working to create educational equity via restorative practices in Watts, Los Angeles. She has her BA in Philosophy from California State University Long Beach and her Masters in Educational Leadership from UCLA. Most recently she served as the Restorative Justice Coordinator at Los Angeles Jordan High School, and currently is the Assistant Principal for Florence Griffith Joyner Elementary School.
Megan has been teaching since 2008 in museums, public schools, independent schools, and beyond. She is certified as an Arts Integration Specialist from the Alameda County Office of Education, and as an Engineering and Design Educator through Project Lead the Way. She received a Master of Arts in Art Education from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and she uses her own learning experiences to help her students manage long-term passion projects. In addition to teaching, Megan maintains her own art practice through commissioned illustrations, artist residencies, as well as local and national exhibitions.
Dr. Akida Kissane Long, Turnaround Arts: California
After serving as a teacher, curriculum specialist, central office administrator and principal in the Los Angeles Unified School District for 35 years, Dr. Long joined the Turnaround Arts: California team in 2017, as the Principal Leadership Coach. Using her dissertation research as the basis for her work, Dr. Long established her own Leadership Coach Consulting practice and works closely with many local agencies including The Partnership for Los Angeles Schools. She is also an Assistant Professor at the University of La Verne in the La Fetra College of Education. Dr. Long has three adult children and seven grandchildren.
Tara Malik, RYSE Center
Tara Malik joined RYSE as the Media, Arts, & Culture (MAC) Director in 2018. Tara is committed to the development of spaces where young people can explore their identities, share their authentic voice, and advocate for issues that matter. At RYSE, she collaborates with young people, teaching artists, staff, and community partners to develop programs that center youth voice and uplift youth power. For almost 20 years, Tara has worked with youth arts programs that center racial and gender justice in Rochester, NY; New Orleans, LA; Chicago, IL; Washington, D.C.; and San Francisco and Richmond, CA. She is the co-founder of One Bird, a nonprofit arts organization that collaborates with local communities to build media arts programs for children. One Bird projects have developed in partnership with community-based organizations in New Orleans, LA; Dharamsala, India; and Carrefour, Haiti. Tara holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from Rochester Institute of Technology and a Master in Arts Management in Arts in Youth and Community Development from Columbia College Chicago.
Indi McCasey, Alameda County Office of Education
Indi McCasey believes in the power of art to catalyze social change. Indi has spent over 15 years working in the non-profit fields focused on public access, performing arts, racial justice, and transformative education and holds an Ed.M from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Currently, Indi facilitates professional development for local, national, and international educators through the Alameda County Office of Education, National Guild for Community Arts Education, and Harvard’s Project Zero Classroom.
Andrew Jordan Nance, Mindful Arts San Francisco
Andrew Jordan Nance (Author, Educator, Actor) has been an educator since 1993. He is the founder of Mindful Arts San Francisco, whose mission is to provide volunteer mindful educators to teach in underserved San Francisco Schools. Mr. Nance is the author 4 published books, including the critically acclaimed book Puppy Mind, Mindful Arts in the Classroom, and the forthcoming The Lion in Me and The Barefoot King. For 18 years he was the Conservatory Director at San Francisco’s New Conservatory Theatre Center. His theater training comes from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts (BA in Theatre). His Mindfulness training comes from Mindful Schools, UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center and is a longtime member of Spirit Rock Meditation and Retreat Center’s Wednesday Sangha. He is on the Board of Directors of several educational based non–profit organizations including The Mindful Life Project in Richmond California, San Francisco’s New Conservatory Theater Center, and Arts Ed Matters, an arts– integration organization. Andrew Jordan Nance lives in San Francisco.
Nancy Ng, Luna Dance Institute
Nancy Ng is the Executive Director of Creativity & Policy, and a professional learning faculty member with Luna Dance Institute in Berkeley, California. She facilitates workshops, and coaches teaching artists and teachers. As a former co-director and choreographer of San Francisco’s Asian American Dance Performances she presented the work of artists; directed outreach programs; and choreographed dances which delved into Asian female stereotypes, immigration and racism. Ng helped author California’s VAPA Early Learning Foundations, and the new PK-12 VAPA standards. Ng’s leadership service includes California Dance Education Association’s past president, California Alliance for Arts Education and National Guild for Community Arts Education board member, and editorial review board member for NDEO's Dance Education in Practice. Most recently, she was appointed serve on the California Visual and Performing Arts Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee.
Trena Noval, Alameda County Office of Education
Artist/educator Trena Noval works with Integrated Learning pedagogies and strategies through program design and leadership development in both public and non-profit educational sectors. She is currently developing principal and teacher leadership initiatives for ACOE Integrated Learning Division and teaches interdisciplinary studio practices at California College of the Arts. She is founding member of transnational artist collective 3rd Space Lab, whose practice has been shown internationally, and participatory research group Fieldworks Collaborative, examining the intersections of culture and land.
Patrick Ohslund, Bay Area Creative
Patrick Ohslund is an internationally touring artist and the Executive Director of the spoken word poetry focused non-profit Bay Area Creative. His work with this fiscally sponsored agency encompasses writing workshops with under-served youth from grades 3rd-12th, therapeutic arts work with caregivers and people currently involved in cycles of abuse, professional development with educators that focuses on creating culturally relevant curriculum and supporting social emotional learning, and team building workshops with companies for providing cultural sensitivity and equity training. He is the founder and lead grant writer for this organization.
Currently, He focuses his primary efforts on bringing the work of Bay Area Creative to 5 counties within Northern California and serving a vast range of demographics. He is a recent graduate of McGill University where he received an MA in Education and Society while focusing his efforts on transforming the negative effect that education has on marginalized communities. His thesis is a research study that utilizes spoken word poetry written by his students to alter state-mandated curriculum in order to create a culturally responsive base for education.
Vanessa Ramirez, Everyday Arts
Vanessa Ramirez is a bilingual and bicultural teaching artist, social change activist, and special education advocate from Guatemala who is skilled in working with culturally diverse populations. She received her BA in Theatre Education with a Teaching License from UNC, Colorado. In the last 8 years, Vanessa has created and written inclusive curriculum, lead professional development workshops, integrated the arts in everyday curriculum with children with special needs through Everyday Arts for Special Education, implemented theatre for the oppressed workshops stateside and in Guatemala, developed bilingual programs for ELL, and taught theatre in Italy, Mexico and various in school and after-school programs in NYC and Los Angeles. Vanessa is a true third culture child with a determination to transform lives through education, locally and abroad.
Kelsey Rieger, Youth in Arts
Kelsey Rieger is the Program Director at Youth in Arts. In addition to a background in museum and community arts education, she recently completed her advanced degree in Arts Education from Penn State University with a concentration in community-based arts research and curriculum and instruction. Although new to the Youth in Arts team, Kelsey has been dedicated to the mission of providing equitable access to arts education for students of all abilities for over a decade. Kelsey has worked with artists of all ages and has co-designed and facilitated curriculum for mobile making spaces (makerspaces) focused on additive manufacturing, collecting and non-collecting art museums, community art spaces and non-profits, and pilot programs for arts education in adult correctional facilities. At Youth in Arts, Kelsey manages the in-school artist residencies and the Arts Unite Us program for students in special day classrooms across Marin County, CA.
Elizabeth Rubenstein began studying creativity and design in college with a BS in Industrial Design at Georgia Tech, transitioned into architectural photography, and accidentally began her teaching career shortly thereafter. Relocating to the Bay Area, she received her Single Subject Credential in Fine Arts and MS in Curriculum and Instruction from Dominican University. She completed the Integrated Learning Specialist Certificate in 2016.
Maia Scott, City College of San Francisco
Maia Scott is an interdisciplinary artist and bodyworker who teaches accessible theater and arts for City College of San Francisco. She completed an MFA in Creative Inquiry, Interdisciplinary arts from California Institute of Integral studies and an art installation from her thesis project on seeing still hangs in the San Francisco Main Library’s Braille and Talking Book section. Her teaching style focuses primarily on process and harnessing the power of creative process to explore other elements of life and community. Scott is also a certified labyrinth facilitator currently working on a tactile labyrinth book and collection with the American Printinghouse for the Blind.
Leeah Thomas, RYSE Center
Leeah Thomas, a Richmond native, currently attends Making Waves Academy. She started writing at the age of 9, and eventually joined R.A.W Talent (Richmond Artists With Talent), a poetry organization based in Richmond, CA. Her work focuses on her personal trauma, struggles with mental health, and the meaning and the essence of being an African American woman. During her early high school years she started performing around the Bay Area and did her first teen poetry slam in 2017. Leeah uses her artistry as a tool to help out others as she continues to heal and understand herself. She will be attending SF State in the Fall pursuing Creative Writing.
Gever Tulley, SF Brightworks
Founder of SF Brightworks, Tinkering School, author of 50 Dangerous Things (you should let your children do), TED speaker, TEDx speaker.
Jamey Williams, Bay Area Creative
Jamey Williams II is a nationally ranked spoken word poet, organizer of The Oakland Poetry Slam, student at Cal State East Bay and glorious human being. Jamey discovered spoken word poetry while a student of Bay Area Creative's high school program Digital Storytellers. Jamey has performed at the national poetry slam and toured in the North Western US. His poetry focuses on proclaiming personal and cultural strengths, upholding heritage and connecting with people in every walk of life. Currently, Jamey teaches at elementary, middle and high schools with Bay Area Creative in Richmond, Hayward and Pacifica, CA.
Stacey Wyatt, Berkeley USD & Bloom Educational Therapy & Learning
Stacey (S.E.) Wyatt is a lifelong artist and educator who finds herself in a continuous, glorious battle between educational theory and direct action. She has been blessed to always find herself in a place where her voice can be lifted and heard. Whether on stage and storytelling, through community and educational work, or dance, she has stayed committed to the uplifting of the voice of the unheard. Now as an educational leader and a mother she recognizes her work as future building, life saving and restorative and of course, as LOVE.