Mariah Rankine-Landers, EdM stepped out of the classroom in 2011 to step into teacher leadership at Alameda County Office of Education, supporting the goals of arts education in schools in the Bay Area. As former Director of the Integrated Learning Specialist Program and current Director of School Transformation Through the Arts, she is a visionary behind what teaching and learning has the potential to be and how schools can develop systems of practice that encourage artistic practice and narratives of inclusion. She invites educators to critique established norms and return to spaces of love, joy and art centered education that responds diligently to the probing questions and needs of today’s young people. Mariah is sought out for her ability to design responsive curriculum centered in creative inquiry. She’s a coach to educators at large to interrupt master narratives in favor of a systems whose outcomes are justice. She 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. In 2011 Mariah co-founded Canerow, a place reflective of the histories, lives, experiences, and dreams of people of color. In 2014, she co-founded Chapter 510 that provides free in-school tutoring, creative writing workshops, and publishing opportunities for students in Oakland K-12. In 2017 she co-founded Studio Pathways an organization devoted to the transformation of teaching and learning through creative inquiry. Mariah was particularly motivated by the musical “Hamilton, An American Musical” as a doorway to activate the changes in attitudes, assumptions and patterns of knowing that teachers and students should wrestle with. With a team of incredible educators and artists she has developed “Rise Up! An American Curriculum.” 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.
Jessa Brie Moreno, MFA is a renowned facilitator who utilizes compassionate inquiry to unlock people's inherent creativity, shift power disparities, and embody our most ancient and futuristic narratives for a better world. She wrestles actively with complex lineage as a sixth-generation settler colonist to California, fourth generation artist, third generation activist and mother of two young women. Jessa has been a professional theatre artist and arts educator for over twenty years. As Program Manager of School Transformation Through the Arts and the Integrated Learning Specialist Program out of the Alameda County Office of Education, she has had the pleasure of midwifing individual educators through whole-school mindset shifts. She is a founding collaborator on Rise Up! An American Curriculum and has collaborated with Youth Speaks/Whole Story on the Ca Spoken Word Project as Senior Pedagogical Advisor. Moreno is currently the Local Advocacy Field Manager for the California Alliance for Arts Education, community organizing for advocacy and policy shifts for arts education statewide. Moreno is ongoing Adjunct Faculty with the California Institute for Integral Studies and San Jose State University. Moreno is a founding member of White Educators for Racial Justice, a study group for decentering and disrupting bias in the classroom. She was the founding director of award-winning student theatre company OakTechRep and the Oakland Theatre Arts Initiative, and is known for holding story mirror circles and using verbatim theatre to reflect our shared humanity back to ourselves. She has a passion for the interdisciplinary art that is theatre and firing up our mirror neurons through empathetic listening. Jessa's directorial work has appeared in collaborations with CalShakes, Stanford, UC Davis and in Edinburgh, Scotland. A Bay Area resident since 1997, she has directed for Crowded Fire, TheatreFIRST, San Jose Stage Co., Marin Theatre Co school tour, the reading series at SF Playhouse, Playground at Berkeley Rep, and as Asst. Director at CalShakes. In 2011 she developed, directed and produced the critically acclaimed The Last Night of the Barbary Coast at Somarts in SF. As an actor she performed with A.C.T., Marin Theatre Company, Aurora, TheatreWorks, San Jose Stage Co., SFShakes, and CenterRep, among others. Professional Awards include an Emmy (Motion Capture Specialist), Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle, Dean Goodman, and Shellie Best Actress Awards. She is a graduate of Scuola Internazionale dell'Attore Comico in Italy and holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts and Creative Inquiry from CIIS and a English Language Arts Teaching Credential.
Unique Holland, MNA - Is a cultural strategist, facilitator and strategic communications specialist focusing on racial equity and social justice projects. Her long-term experience in art and theater production brings a special sensitivity to the development and management of projects in the public realm, where she crosses easily between aesthetic, communicative, and facilitative practices to produce meaningful collective outcomes.
Unique has collaborated with artists for over 20 years to develop projects in urban environments centered on explorations of community, youth leadership, and public policy. A few select highlights include: Under Construction: The Turning Point, a social art/community development project and performance involving hundreds of teenage girls (Vancouver, BC); Expectations, a project and art installation addressing teen pregnancy (Oakland, CA); Code 33, a performance involving 150 urban youth and 100 police officers in heated debate (Oakland, CA); and I.D. Entity, a performance with youth and educators in Taipei, Taiwan. In addition, she has directed public performances with artist Suzanne Lacy including Silver Action (London, UK), Between the Door and the Street (Brooklyn, NY), De tu Puño y Letra (Quito, Ecuador), and The Border People’s Parliament (Belfast, Ireland). This work is part of a long-term artistic and social engagement in conversations on equity, both in the arts and beyond.
She is currently working with Studio Pathways and World Trust to develop a racial healing curriculum for one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the country and is the lead researcher for a Zumberge Diversity & Inclusion grant project, "Methodologies of Youth Civic Discourse: Social Practice Art" at University of Southern California.
Before joining Studio Pathways, Unique spent nearly a decade as the Director of Communications & Public Affairs at the Alameda County Office of Education. Prior to that, she served as an Executive Director for the East Bay Leadership Foundation and worked to successfully developed and lead a host of educational and community-based programs for youth.
Shakti Butler, Ph.D is Founder and President of World Trust Educational Services. Shakti is an inspirational facilitator, trainer and lecturer who is sought after by schools, universities, public and private organizations, and faith-based institutions. Dr. Butler has produced four documentaries: The Way Home; Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible; Light in the Shadows, and Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity. These films form the core of World Trust’s teaching tools, and have experienced increased exposure — 23 million views of one clip alone — generating national dialogue and critical thinking that is impacting institutions and communities across the country. Most recently, Dr. Butler served as diversity consultant and advisor on the Disney animated film, Zootopia, which focuses on challenging bias and systemic inequity. Shakti’s work incorporates whole body learning through stories, art, movement and dialogue. Her current film/dialogue project, Healing Justice: Cultivating a World of Belonging, is intended to popularize a national conversation about justice, responsibility and healing.