Mariah Rankine-Landers, EdM
Mariah (she/ her) is most proud of her 12 years as a kindergarten and first grade teacher. She stepped out of the classroom in 2011 to lead for teacher leadership and school transformation at Alameda County Office of Education, a role she was asked to lead due to her outstanding methodology and equity outcomes in her classroom leading through the arts. Mariah is sought out for her ability to design responsive curriculum centered in creative inquiry. She’s a coach to school leaders, classroom teachers, and educators at large to interrupt master narratives in favor of systems whose outcomes are justice.
Mariah’s work promotes and invites the educational system to redesign its purposes with the role of the contemporary artists at the forefront of how young people can develop the capacity for imagination, innovation, perception, and critical thought that will bridge and build a society that we all deserve. Mariah leads with conviction that if you tend to your heart, tend to the art that motivates you, and lead with love, that our schools can dissolve the oppressive systems they uphold and become the sanctuaries we all need to fully bloom and become. She was particularly motivated to co-found Rise Up! An American Curriculum inspired by the musical “Hamilton, An American Musical” to transform teaching and learning through creative inquiry. Mariah as a doorway to activate the changes in attitudes, assumptions and patterns of knowing that teachers and students should wrestle with.
In recent years, Mariah Rankine-Landers, has been a fellow for the National Arts Strategies Harvard Business Program, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and Harvard’s Project Zero. She was featured on The Electric Company (PBS), The Teaching Channel, Education.com, Teaching Artists Guild, and Happy Black Girl. She co-founded Canerow, a resource and database of literature for children of color written by authors of color. She is also a founder of Chapter 510, a writing center for youth in Oakland and served on the board for 7 years. She still studies tap dance, which has been a lifelong love affair.
Jessa Brie Moreno, MFA
In addition, Moreno has held posts as Adjunct Faculty with the California Institute for Integral Studies (BA, MFA programs) and San Jose State University (Theatre Dept.) is a founding member of White Educators for Racial Justice (WERJ) and has facilitated with RISE for Racial Justice. Moreno (alongside Rankine-Landers) formerly co-lead the Integrated Learning Specialists' Program, professional development in and beyond Alameda County that supported transformative K-12 school change through the arts. Moreno served the California Alliance for Arts Education as a Local Advocacy Field Manager building community leadership networks for Arts Advocacy statewide. She was the founding director of both the Oakland Theatre Arts Initiative and of award-winning student theatre company OakTechRep. Jessa's directorial work has appeared in collaborations with CalShakes, Stanford, UC Davis and in Edinburgh, Scotland. Professional Awards as a performing artist include an Emmy (Motion Capture Specialist), Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle, Dean Goodman, and Shellie Best Actress Awards.
Moreno utilizes a stance of "creative midwifery" to assist in the ethical "birth" of transformative practices in education, arts and culture. She wrestles actively with complex lineage as a sixth-generation settler colonist to Ohlone lands, fourth generation artist, third generation activist, and mother to two young women. She is a graduate of Scuola Internazionale dell'Attore Comico in Italy, holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts and Creative Inquiry from CIIS and a English Language Arts Teaching Credential.
Julie Kuwabara (she/her) is a cultural producer with a narrative strategy lens dedicated to partnering with Arts and Nonprofit organizations. Her current partnerships include Studio Pathways, The Center for Cultural Power, The Living Document, and Whole Story Group. She continues to build and produce art through comedy sketch writing, performing, and producing with Granny Cart Gangstas an all-Asian American comedy sketch group.