Executive Director & Founder
Donte Felder began subbing for Seattle Public Schools twenty years ago in 1998 and became a full time teacher at Orca K-8 the following year. He has taught 2nd - 8th grades instructing children in history, language arts, social studies and theater. Eighteen years ago, he founded the Orca Drama Club which has been going strong since. Felder has been absolutely instrumental in creating extracurricular writing, theater, and film programs and has acted as a community leader and organizer, bringing together students with local nonprofit organizations in order to provide them access to opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable.
In 2005, Mr. Felder was awarded Washington Education Association's Humanitarian Award for his play the First Day, a science fiction allegory about Brown versus the Board of Education that explored race relations. His play Katrina: I Too Am Worthy was subsequently produced at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center. Felder has used his own success as a playwright, screenwriter, director, and producer to mentor youth in both stage and screen, partnering with the Film School, Intiman Theatre, the Northwest Film Forum, and others, even going so far as to found the Columbia City Youth Theater Group to allow for Orca alum to continue being involved in local theater after they move on. Mr. Felder sits on the board of directors of the Hugo House, ArtsCorp, The advisory board of the Seattle Rep, and the Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship Foundation. On top of organizing a social justice film festival and the social justice conference, he also leads restorative justice workshops for the Seattle Art Museum and Creative Advantage.
Kelly Karcher is a Seattle-based actor, singer, educator, administrator, and advocate. Originally from New Jersey, Kelly earned her B.F.A. from Montclair State University and spent the next seven years working as an actor out of New York City. She made her way out to Seattle in 2018 after completing her M.F.A. at Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy for Classical Acting at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. As an actor, Kelly has performed all over the country in both national tours and regional theatre. As an educator, she works with high school students to help them achieve their goals on the SAT, ACT, and Literature/Language tests. Kelly strongly believes in the power of theatre as an impetus for social change and is passionate about creating space for ALL stories to be told.
DR. DONALD FELDER
Dr. Felder is a traveling teacher. He visits schools to coach teachers, guide student workshops, and facilitate panel discussions. He wants students to know the secrets of personal happiness and self-advocacy. More so, Dr. Felder wants inspiring learners to engage in social justice affairs in their schools.
Before retiring, Dr. Felder worked for Seattle Public Schools, beginning his career as a 4th grade teacher, helping 34 children bloom academically. The next year he transferred to Interagency Schools, teaching high school students math and science. Five years later, he became the principal of this school. While recognizing the lack of educational services for students challenged by community dilemmas, and/or learning/discipline issues at schools, he set his sights on developing small learning centers throughout the Martin Luther King County. His reputation as a compassionate teacher, leader, and adviser grew.
Dr. Felder effectively protected the educational rights of struggling students pushed out of traditional schools, including those who were juvenile offenders,
and/or in foster care. Under his leadership, a culture was created for teachers and students to thrive interdependently. Consequently, Dr. Felder’s legacy still resonates in the operation of these schools, 15 years later.
After retiring from Seattle Public Schools, Dr. Felder joined Casey Family Programs and served as an ambassador for foster care children. After nine years in this position, he decided to retire again to serve local communities. His focus is on developing partnerships that empower adults and young people to maintain safe neighborhoods, execute social justice goals, and become caretakers of schools. Finally, in the name of fun, Dr. Felder makes his way around town as a Chicago Stepper, claiming he can still shake a leg among the best of the young.
Racial Equity Consultant
DR. TANISHA FELDER
Tanisha Brandon-Felder is currently the Director of Equity and Family Engagement in the Shoreline School District. An educator in the Seattle Public Schools for 16 years, Dr. Brandon-Felder specializes in race and equity, culturally responsive practices and, primarily the achievement and opportunity gap occurring with Black and Brown students. A graduate of both Grambling State and University of Washington she focuses on equitable leadership with adults. Dr. Brandon-Felder piloted the Creative Schools Initiative through Arts Corps and is a firm believer that the arts creates pathways for student engagement and academic success. Racial Equity is the key in Identifying all the ways in which we can build strong learning partnerships and ensure equitable outcomes for students. Dr. Brandon-Felder is committed to transforming institutional practices one system at a time.
Accessibility, Inclusion, & Assessment
After eight years of passion for teaching special education, Sarah Arvey is excited to be a doctoral student at the University of Washington College of Education. Her work centers the voices of youth with disabilities and disabled activists in K-12 curriculum and teacher education programming. In collaboration with the Office of Education Ombuds and Rooted in Rights, she helped develop the One Out of Five: Disability History and Pride Project that includes six student voice videos and a variety of learning resources about disability identity, intersectionality, disability history, and solidarity. As a disabled scholar and educator, it is amazing for Sarah to participate in emancipatory research that focuses on cross-disability and cross-movement activism within and beyond our classrooms. She utilizes arts-based methods in my teaching and research that centers the role of hope, joy, and emotionality in schools and academia. Sarah is excited to be working with South End Stories to support arts-based storytelling as a culturally sustaining method of inclusion across content areas.
KAITLIN KAMALEI BRANDON
Culturally Sustaining Curriculum Coach
Kaitlin Kamalei Brandon is a Native Hawaiian, multiracial educator and 2020 Teaching Tolerance Excellence in Teaching Award Winner. At the University of Washington, she completed her Masters in Teaching. She has taught Grades K-3, but she is currently a Grades 2/3 ELA Ethnic Studies Teacher at Leschi Elementary. With the goal of creating an empowering community for every student, Kaitlin Kamalei is an Ethnic Studies Curriculum Developer for Seattle Public Schools, Coach for the SEA Center for Racial Equity, and Founder of Colorful Pages to extend this work beyond her classroom. Her favorite things (besides diverse books and Colorful Pages) are watching and analyzing movies, listening to music, and going for runs with her dog, 'Īlio.
Teaching Artist, Filmmaker, & Curriculum Development
Dan Truog is a Seattle-based filmmaker with 15 years of video editing experience. He has spent most of his career in the advertising and documentary world. He also regularly teaches storytelling and filmmaking classes to students of all ages. When not at work, you can find him hanging with his daughter, watching movies, and drumming.
Media and Communications Manager & Curriculum Writer
Francesca (Cessa) Betancourt is an administrator, actor, intimacy director, and educator. Her work is based in social/emotional learning, trauma informed facilitation, social justice, compassion, autonomy, and physical storytelling. She is the artistic director of a recurring storytelling event and podcast called "she is FIERCE: stories from the female and genderqueer perspective" and is a founding member of HERON, an interdisciplinary theatre ensemble. Cessa holds two BAs from Western Washington University in Theatre Arts and Sociology. and has trained in Applied Theatre at City University of New York.
SHARON H. CHANG
Youth Blog Advisor
Sharon H. Chang is an award-winning Taiwanese American author, photographer, and activist. She has published two books, Raising Mixed Race and Hapa Tales and Other Lies. Her writing has also appeared in BuzzFeed, ThinkProgress, Racism Review, Hyphen Magazine, ParentMap Magazine, South Seattle Emerald, The Seattle Globalist, AAPI Voices and the International Examiner. Sharon was named 2015 Social Justice Commentator of the Year by The Seattle Globalist and 2016 Favorite Local API Author / Writer by International Examiner readers. She won the inaugural Northwest Journalists of Color Visual Storytelling Grant in 2019 and was recently awarded a 2020 Facebook COVID-19 Journalism Project Grant to provide coverage of coronavirus impacts on South Seattle communities of color. Sharon is currently working on a long-term visual storytelling project about Womxn and Nonbinary Farmers of Color and a family memoir about Taiwan’s transition to democracy after the second longest martial law period in world history.
Raven Wilcox is a passionate early childhood educator with 5 years of teaching experience in the Seattle area. She currently teaches 1st grade at Orca K-8, and is excited to pilot K-2 South End Stories projects and curriculum with her curious students! She holds a BA in Early Childhood Education and a Master's in Curriculum and Instruction. Her goal is to bring joy and liberation to her students through engaging and culturally responsive learning projects and is looking forward to collaborating with other educators about how we can bring SES into more classrooms!
Youth Leader - Curriculum Development
BIO TO COME
Youth Leader - Curriculum Development
Aliyah Newman is 18 years old and a freshman at The New School’s Eugene Lang college of liberal arts in New York City and is planning on studying culture and media. She was born and raised in Beacon Hill, Seattle and is a graduate of Cleveland High School. Throughout high school she experimented with film, photography, and fashion, and hopes to continue these in college through personal projects or a minor in one of the fields. In 2019 she and her friend Chapel Barnes were able to participate in the South End Stories social justice film festival, where they made a film centering the disproportionate disciplining of Black students in schools. You can also see her photography work on the South End Stories blog, where she documents Seattle youth through their quarantine.
Aliyah first started her work in education as a peer educator teaching sexual education through Planned Parenthood’s Teen Council, where she taught comprehensive and inclusive sex ed with other teens in local middle schools and high schools. She is excited to bring this experience and interest to her work for South End Stories curriculum development. She is excited about the intersections of education and social change, and will continue this work and learning in every way possible, starting on an individual level.
Intern - Blog Editor
Hello, my name is Dayanara Almon and I am 15 years old. My pronouns are she/her and I identify as Black and Latina (or Afro-Latina). I live in Skyway and I go to the Northwest School. My passions include social justice and performing arts. Currently my friend and I manage a Instagram account called @empoweringourmelanin, our goal is to uplift BIPOCs. We go on IG Live (to talk about important issues concerning social justice) and we created a podcast series called EmpoweringOurMelanin The Podcast. In the past I’ve worked with groups like IMPUHWE (Inspire Motivate Powerful Undiscovered Hopeful Women with Education). I have been in school plays and presentations and in the past couple of summers I was in the Teen Summer Musical. I’m so excited to work on this blog to uplift the voices in our community through art and journalism, because these are things I am passionate about. I’m very happy I got the opportunity to be a part of the SES Youth Blog Editing Team!
Intern - Blog Editor
My name is Fatrah Hussein, I am 12 and a 7th grader at Washington Middle School. My pronouns are she/her. I am someone who is passionate about writing and believe that young people appreciate, want, and need spaces to tell their own stories. I am from the heart of South Seattle, born and raised in the South End. I want to give back to my community through storytelling of my own. For me, giving to the community around me is a way to help the world. I'm Black and Muslim (yes the hijab), from an Oromiyan ethnic group that has faced genocide for years on top of years that is still going. Noticing all the things happening to my people, genocides and unfair things happening to people similar to me (like people calling Muslims "terrorists"), Black people getting oppressed by the government and police, and the LGBTQ+ community getting so much hate and their rights taken away–makes me want to be all of their voices and help not only them, but even more people.
AFFILIATED ARTISTS & EDUCATORS
Summer School Director, Teaching Artist, &
Originally from Wisconsin, Lindsay Kujawa graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in 2012 with degrees in Theatre Performance, Education, and Dance. Prior to moving to Seattle, Lindsay taught a variety of disciplines at the Renaissance School for the Arts in Appleton, WI and choreographed / directed over 20 productions across the state. In 2009, she and her now husband founded Introspect Arts, a fine arts company comprised of individuals under 25 who wrote, produced, directed, performed, and designed original works in an effort to create community dialogue and inspire change. Since she has moved to the Pacific Northwest she has pursued her passion of telling and creating stories that encourage empathy through her work onstage and in the classroom. Lindsay works as the Organizational Training Program Producer at Intiman Theatre, producing professional development opportunities that connect the arts and various community partners in an effort to empower others through storytelling. Additionally, she works with Village Theatre teaching in the acting and devising space where she helps young people discover their voice.
Teaching Artist & Curriculum Development
Miss TiQuida Spellman is a proud mother and educator in the King County area with over 20 years of dance and performing arts experience. She is the founder of Baile Dior Studios (Dance Golden) in Renton, Washington; a dance studio that focuses on connecting dancers to Historically Black Colleges and Universities. She is also a music teacher at Campbell Hill Elementary School in Renton where she teaches integrated arts through music, movement, creativity, and innovation. Her focus is changing how music is looked at for children of color. She has a passion for dance and the arts that is translated through youth that she engages with. “Expression is important to the soul,” she says. “Words aren’t always accessible but dance translates to masses.”
Teaching Artist & Curriculum Development
Carlynn Newhouse is a poet, educator, actress, emcee, and performer. She is an Adobe Creativity Scholar attending Howard University, a National YoungArts Finalist, and ranked 4th in the 2020 Women of the World Poetry Slam. Carlynn believes poetry is a form of activism and tool for raising awareness in hopes of making the world a safer space.
Teaching Artist & Curriculum Development
Dustin Kaspar has been the Educational Programs Manager at SIFF since 2008, designing engaging programs connecting filmmakers to school classes, teachers to training in using film crafts creatively in their classrooms, and public classes in filmmaking and film appreciation for youth, professional filmmakers, and general audiences. In addition to his education work, he is also a feature and short film programmer with the Seattle International Film Festival specializing in films for youth audiences and the cinema of Sub-Saharan Africa. Before his involvement with SIFF, Dustin was a secondary choir director at Lakewood High School and Middle School and he still keeps one foot in the musical world as a vocalist across Seattle.
Anthony Warner is a musician, producer, and educator born and raised in Seattle, Wa. He runs a record label- We Coast Records that has been putting out vinyl 45's and albums since 2012. He is also a keyboardist and beat maker w/ multiple albums under the stage name "Funkscribe". He is also a DJ who has had a radio show on 91.3 KBCS for 15 years. When he's not making beats, he's digging up beets at his school garden at Orca K-8 School where he's been the garden coordinator for 12 years.
Intern - Blog Editor
My name is Sofia Elena Heron, I use she/they pronouns, and I am a 16-year-old Latina running start student at South Seattle College. Previously, I attended Cleveland STEM High School in Seattle, where I was a part of the Youth Race and Equity Team; a group that held discussions about how we could make our school somewhere that was accepting and safe for everyone, and that our diversity was properly represented. I was born in Oakland, California and moved here to Washington at the age of eight. Outside of school, I am a part of the Vertical World rock climbing team, a competitive sports club. I have been competing with them since middle school, and it is truly a passion of mine. I love learning about political theory and thinking about how I can apply what I know to the world around me to make change–– in particular, I am interested in how communities of color are affected by policy, and how global capitalism lays the foundation for inequality in our society. Aside from that, I also enjoy reading, making art and practicing language in my free time.
Aishé Keita is a healing artist and two time award winning actress. She is based in Seattle, WA but has been seen on stages throughout the US. Aishé appeared in Seattle Magazine's September issue as must see artist. Where she also received recognition for her work at Seattle Repertory Theater and The Guthrie Theater for the co-production of Familiar by Danai Gurira . Aishe's first solo show, Griot, produced by Earth Pearl Collective premiered in 2018 and now in the works to tour. She holds a B.F.A from Cornish College of the Arts in Original Works (playwriting, acting, directing) with a minor in applied theater. Aishé has taught healing through creative expression at Gig Harbor Women Correctional Facilities for five years and teaches acting/improv to first year students at her alma mater, Cornish. Recently co-founder of the African healing collective , Niles Edge Aishé focuses on the relationship between Theater and African Healing modalities with a special focus on the Diaspora's relationship to self.
Director of Bridging Wisdom
BIO TO COME
Educational Consultant & Teach (Pathfinder K-8)
Beth Alexakos was born and raised in Chicago, but has been a Seattleite for the past 20 years. She is a second and third grade teacher at Pathfinder K-8 where she helps lead the Racial Equity Team with fellow SES teacher leader Dianne Espinosa. She is excited to be a part of South End Stories as one of the teacher liaisons for Pathfinder K-8.
Educational Consultant & Teacher (Pathfinder K-8)
Dianne Espinosa is a Mexican American woman originally from Fresno, California. She has lived in Seattle since 1995 and currently resides in West Seattle with her husband Jerry and their Chihuahua named Penelope. Dianne is a Special Education teacher at Pathfinder K-8 in West Seattle. She also proudly serves as a member of the Racial Equity Team at her school. Her core values are deep-rooted with love and pride for her family and her heritage. Through her work as an educator and social justice advocate, Dianne is committed to encouraging students of color to find their voice and reflect on their own experiences related to race, gender identity, equity, and inclusion. She is excited to be teaming with South end Stories to intentionally design curriculum and lesson plans that lift students of color. She also hopes to raise awareness of the issues of normativity through an intersectional lens. In her spare time, she enjoys hanging out with friends & family, listening to music, exploring the history of indigenous people and places of California, movies, and camping in the National Parks.
Cece Chan is a student activist, born and raised in Seattle, Washington who uses she/her/hers pronouns. She will be a sophomore at Pacific Lutheran University this upcoming fall of 2020 and is planning to major in Political Science and minor in Critical Race Studies. She recently won her college’s ‘Spirit of Diversity Award as an Emerging Leader 2019-2020’ for having been especially visible, empowering, advocating, and supportive of diversity, justice, and sustainability issues on campus and in the greater community. She was also one of the 2019 ‘Black Education Matters Student Activist Award’ winners, and is highly recognized for her recent project “For the Culture”, the first large scale, student led documentary done on Seattle Public Schools about the importance and need of ethnic studies. She works with the Washington State National Association and Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Youth Council to fight for racial justice and equity within education. Cece is excited to use her passion to improve education and show all students, especially students of color that they are seen and loved.
Moriah Reibman is 19-years-old and was born & raised in Seattle. She’s a graduate of Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences and a freshman at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University where she is studying across the disciplines of film making, journalism, creative writing, art, business, and social & cultural analysis cumulating in her concentration titled “The Economy of Story.”
Her mission is to create art with the purpose of promoting equality and igniting social activism. Her favorite visual artists are Kehinde Wiley, Yayoi Kusama, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Her favorite musical artists are Kendrick Lamar, Erykah Badu, Jimmy Smith, Grateful Dead, Frank Ocean, Lauryn Hill, Rihanna, and Jimi Hendrix. Her favorite films are Inglorious Basterds, Do the Right Thing, and Isle of Dogs. Her favorite books are Slaughterhouse-Five, Between the World and Me, and Beloved. Some of her role models include Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Beyoncé, and her mom.
She has two younger siblings, Barak and Ariana, and a beagle named Abracadabra. In her spare time, she enjoys spending her time with family and friends, writing, making films, taking photos, and learning how to play the electric guitar. Her and her friend Helen make collages; you can find them on Instagram @kaleidoscopecollages. She is passionate about addressing issues of climate change, child sex trafficking, the prison industrial complex, gender/racial/income inequality.