Mini Course Presenters

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Jessalyn Aaland, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

As the Program Associate for Teacher Engagement and Resources at SFMOMA, Jessalyn Aaland works to support K-12 teachers with professional development and curricular resources for helping their students learn with and through visual art. Prior to her position at SFMOMA, Jessalyn Aaland was a high school English and ELD teacher at Balboa High School in San Francisco. She is also a visual artist who works across mixed media, sculpture, and socially-engaged art. 

Carlee Adamson

Carlee Adamson, MA, is a long time teacher and youth advocate. After working for nearly a decade as a middle school teacher and teacher-leader in the Oakland public schools, she came to know well the nature of the transition to adolescence and became increasingly aware that schools and communities were not providing young people with the tools they needed to take really good care of themselves. Carlee created expeditionary learning programs, initiating environmental awareness and earth philosophy programs in the schools where she taught. She worked to integrate restorative principles and emotional literacy curriculum into her classroom teaching.

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Jennifer Ahn, Mills Teacher Scholars

Jennifer has led adults in collaborative inquiry with Mills Teacher Scholars for the past five years and is currently the Director of Network Partnerships. She brings exquisite attention to the intersection of adult SEL and equity work. Jennifer cares deeply about supporting teachers in developing an optimistic, asset-based approach to inquiry into their students’ learning. Jennifer taught at Alameda Science and Technology Institute and Hayward High School. Jennifer received her B.A. in English and her M.A. in Education from UC Berkeley.

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Todd Berman, The Art Don't Stop

Todd Berman is a visual artist who has been experimenting with arts integration techniques as a substitute in San Francisco public schools for the past 15 years. For his City of Awesome art project, he got over 1000 strangers at events, in cafes, and on the sidewalk to draw pictures of themselves making their city more awesome which he collaged into a series of paintings of San Francisco which were featured in SF public buses in Fall 2015. He also uses art to deepen understanding as an educator at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. Todd wrote the curriculum for and manages the Where Art Lives program, a pro-art/anti-vandalism program of the San Francisco Arts Commission and the Department of Public Works. You may be most familiar with his drawings documenting the programming at past Summer Institutes.

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Reina Cabezas

Reina Cabezas has been an educator for ten years in Oakland and the Bay Area. Mother of two teenage boys and is herself a Xicana daughter and granddaughter of refugee parents from Central America who define what it means to ‘make’ for her.

Julie Charles, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Julie Charles is SFMOMA’s Deborah and Kenneth Novack Associate Curator in the museum’s Education and Public Practice Department. She currently oversees all aspects of the museum’s expanded school initiatives. Since 2006, Julie has designed and led programs for families, youth/teens, students, teachers and the museum’s vibrant and active docent program. Julie has taught art history at Bay Area museums, local universities, and as a parent volunteer in her son’s elementary school class. 

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Danielle Covington, New York University

Danielle Covington is an Oakland native currently attending New York University as a rising Junior studying Theatre. She is an Actor, Director, Playwright, and Cofounder of Affirmation Theatre Company; A student run company in NYC that aims to produce stories that are typically underrepresented in the theatre. She has helped develop multiple verbatim theatre pieces and taught a mini session with OakTechRep, Oakland Technical High School’s award winning theatre company and the Inventing Our Future Institute last year.

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Cicely A. Day, Agency by Design

Cicely A. Day is from Oakland and went to Oakland Public schools. She is almost always in the middle of a crochet project. Cicely loves tech, coding, art and making. Students find her maker space and use it as a healing space.

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Sheryl Evans Davis, San Francisco Human Rights Commission

Sheryl Evans Davis is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Human rights Commission (HRC). Prior to joining the HRC, she was the Executive Director of Collective Impact, a community-based organization in the Western Addition neighborhood of San Francisco. There she oversaw Mo'Magic, Magic Zone and the Ella Hill Hutch Community Center. Director Davis previously taught for many years in public and private schools developing  vast experience on youth and equity initiatives.

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Dominique Enriquez, Junior Center of Art and Science

Dominique Enriquez is a visual artist, educator, and cultural worker - engaging with youth and adult learners in a number of different community contexts.  She serves as the Executive Director for the Junior Center of Art & Science and as faculty for the Integrated Learning Program at the Alameda County Office of Education.

Dominique's work as a visual artist encompasses multiple mediums including paint, paper, and hair to investigate ideas of race, gender, growth, love and personal history.  

She studied Drawing and Painting at the California College of the Arts, received her B.A. in Studio Art from San Diego State University, and her Master's degree in Education from the University of California, Santa Cruz.  Additionally, she has over 10 years of dance experience and performs with Oakland's Bodywerk Dance. 

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Derek Fenner, Alameda County Office of Education

Derek Fenner is an artist, educator, and researcher living on Ohlone land in Oakland, California. He earned his MFA in writing and poetics from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University. He has an MA in educational leadership from Mills College. After a decade of experience as an art educator and administrator in the Massachusetts juvenile justice system, he is completing his Doctorate in education at Mills College. His research interests include, youth participatory action research as pedagogy, decolonizing methodologies, and arts based research. He is the arts learning program manager for the Alameda County Office of Education, where he also serves as a faculty member for the Integrated Learning Specialist Program.

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Noah Frigault, San Francisco Human Rights Commission

Noah Frigault is a California-licensed attorney and d Policy Analyst for the San Francisco Human Rights Commission who manages hiring and recruitment, internships programs, grants, compliance, and other other equity initiatives for HRC, as well as oversees graphic design, reports, and other media. Mr. Frigault has lectured at UC Hastings and is also a 2016 Yerba Buena Center for Arts Equity Fellow.

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Mahea Gaskins, The Village Method

Mahea Gaskins is the Executive Director of The Village Method (TVM) with over 20 years of experience serving Black youth, families and her community. Mahea began her career working as an elementary teacher, curriculum developer and community servant focusing on educational excellence among Black youth and families. Mahea and her husband Mark Gaskins co-founded a non-profit The Village Method focusing on Black youth, families and culture from an asset-based approach.   

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Jerarde Gutierrez, REACH Ashland Youth Center

Jerarde Gutierrez is Visual Arts Program Coordinator and instructor at REACH Ashland Youth Center. Jerarde shares his fine-arts and digital media expertise with youth members and shares his current professional knowledge with those aspiring professionals he mentors.

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Michele Hamilton, Pear Tree PreSchool

Co–Owner and Thought Partner, Pear Tree Preschool Michele has a graduate degree in Education, with an emphasis on curriculum development. She is a former teacher with OUSD and Associate Professor at Holy Names University, where she taught student teaching. Michelle has worked in Education Reform for many years in a variety of areas and is dedicated to creating a unique space for children to love, learn, and grow.

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Cherie Hill, Luna Dance Institute

Cherie Hill is a teaching artist in Luna Dance Institute’s School & Community Alliances, MPACT family dance, Professional Learning, and Studio Lab programs. She is also Luna’s Communications Manager, and Chief of Staff. She has taught dance to children in the Bay Area since 2005. Her teaching project, “Creative Movement and the African Aesthetic” has been presented at the National Dance Education Organization Conference in Miami and Berkeley, and at Dance TAG Philadelphia. Cherie holds an MFA in Dance from the University of Colorado Boulder and a BA in Dance from UC Berkeley.

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. 

Nancy James, San Leandro Unified School District

Nancy James is an artist and an Education Specialist for students with Moderate-Severe disabilities in the San Leandro Unified School District. She also has an MFA in Poetry and has taught poetry workshops in Bay Area high schools and community settings. Nancy has worked in dance and theater with a variety of populations including incarcerated women, liturgical groups, adults with traumatic brain injuries and children. Her dance study includes Modern, Jazz, West African, Congolese and traditional dance from the African Diaspora.

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Jean Johnstone, Teaching Artists Guild & Alliance for ALL

Jean Johnstone is the Executive Director of Teaching Artists Guild, and Interim Director of the Alliance for Arts Learning Leadership of the Bay Area. She was founding Director of Applied Theater Action Initiative, and developed and ran international multimedia programs for youth, programs for artists transitioning from homelessness, and incarcerated youth. She sits on the Policy Council for the California Alliance for Arts Education, and is a board member of the Francophone School of Oakland. 

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Natan Kuchar,  Jewish Community High School, San Francisco

Natan is a musician and educator who believes that collaborative creativity is the most significant way to make meaning and connection in the world. As the Director of Music at the Jewish Community High School in San Francisco, Natan teaches songwriting, directs ensembles and facilitates student creativity and leadership. Natan holds his Bachelor of Music from Berklee College of Music. In his spare time, Natan loves to read children's books, covet midcentury furniture and make things.

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Michelle Lee, The Whole Story

Michelle Mush Lee, Ed.M is a published poet, story strategist and a pioneer of spoken word / Hip Hop pedagogy. Michelle's poetry and keynotes have been featured on HBO, PBS, AfroPop, createCA Conference, National Asian American Theater Festival, New Works Theater Festival, Under the Radar Festival, National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education and the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival. She holds degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco State University, with a focus on educational equity and social justice. A former CompassPoint Next Generation Leaders of Color Fellow, Michelle is frequently a featured speaker on racial literacy, culturally resonant teaching and contemporary youth poetry movements. Her latest writing is published in All the Women in My Family Sing, an anthology of essays by women of color at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Michelle, currently, serves on the Leadership Advisory Board for Alameda County Department of Education’s Integrated Learning Specialist Program and as a Sr. Advisor of Pedagogy at Youth Speaks, Inc. She is the found and CEO of Whole Story Group, Inc

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Sonia Manjon, LeaderSpring

Bio coming soon!

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Natalie McBride, The Village Method

Natalie McBride is an artist and parent in The Village Method. She supports youth and adults to explore art making through methods which bring forth collaboration, communication and community building among participants. 

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Indi McCasey, ACOE & Oakland Unified School District

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. 

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Joaquin Newman, REACH Ashland Youth Center

Joaquin Newman is the Media Arts Program Coordinator and instructor in digital media at REACH Ashland Youth Center. Joaquin facilitates youth leadership initiatives at REACH, as well as directs youth artists in community engaged art projects, murals, and media projects to nurture youth voice and creativity.

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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.

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Gaia Pine, San Leandro United School District

Gaia Pine, M. Ed. is a TK-12 Instructional Coach in San Leandro with a focus on science and the arts. Prior to coaching, she taught science and math for 16 years in San Leandro, Oakland, San Francisco and Philadelphia. She is also a faculty member for the Integrated Learning Specialist Program at Alameda County Office of Education. Gaia holds an M.Ed in Integrated Teaching Through the Arts from Lesley University.  

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Brennan Popovic

Printmaker, activist and POP organizer

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Rebecca Prather, Alameda County Office of Education

A dancer, communication therapist, and the mother of a child on the Autism Spectrum, Rebecca is passionate about the body as a cultural text and an agent of social interruption. Her arts development programs focus on creative dance as a method of disability inclusion practices, social-emotional learning, and to elicit personal and community narratives.

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Sara Trail, Social Justice Sewing Academy

Sara Trail once heard that “there’s really no such thing as the ‘voiceless.’ There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.” She started the Social Justice Sewing Academy to give the “preferably unheard” population a voice through activist art. After graduating from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, she founded SJSA to be a platform where youth create art that engages and educates communities. Sara learned to sew at the tender age of four and has since designed several patterns and fabrics as well as grown into a successful author and sewing teacher. At the age of 13, she wrote a nationally published book Sew with Sara,” and 15 she starred in Cool Stuff to Sew with Sara, a DVD released by C&T Publishing. She has been featured on the Disney Channel, PBS Kids, Teen Vogue, and numerous blogs and magazines.

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Crystal P. Ward, Social Justice Sewing Academy

Crystal Palmero Ward started her career in DC as a 6th grade science and social studies teacher. Though many kids thrived in her classroom, she witnessed students entangled in unfair disciplinary policies that negatively impacted their grades, investment and self-esteem. This drove her to leadership as the founding dean of culture of Endeavor Elementary. Crystal’s school gained network and regional recognition for exceptional achievement, parent satisfaction, and high teacher retention. Due to strong results at Endeavor, Crystal was promoted to oversee strategy, vision, and implementation of culture across 32 schools and 3 states as the Director of School Culture. Currently, Crystal is a doctoral candidate in the Education Leadership Program at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.

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Carrie Wilson, Mills Teacher Scholars

Carrie’s commitment to transformational adult learning through inquiry has enabled her to lead the growth of Mills Teacher Scholars from its original single group of 18 teacher scholars to serving more than 450 principals, coaches, and classroom teachers. Previously, Carrie taught English and English Language Development at San Leandro High School where she developed and led teacher professional learning opportunities in literacy and language acquisition. She received her B.A. in English from Emory University and her M.A. in Education from Mills College.

Susan Wolf, Alameda County Office of Education

Susan Wolf is an arts integration coach working with teachers in East Oakland. She believes that making is a form of self-care that allows folks space to think about how things work and how the pieces fit together.