DONTE FELDER | EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
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.
DR. DONALD FELDER | CURRICULUM MENTOR
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.
FRANCESCA BETANCOURT | PROGRAM MANAGER
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.
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.
DAN TRUOG | LEAD FILMMAKER
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.
MARIBEL (MARI) GONZALEZ | DIRECTOR OF CURRICULUM AND ASSESSMENT
Maribel (Mari) Valdez Gonzalez is Native/Xicana of Wixárika and of Spanish descent. Her grandma’s are from the Mother Mountains of Sierra de Morones in Zacatecas, Mexico. She is an educator, keynote speaker, published author, and 2022 Adding Voices Express: Speak Your Truth award winner. Mari has been honored to work with youth and adults to decolonize and humanize pedagogical practices, social structures, and belief systems in classrooms and beyond as an instructional coach and as an educational consultant.
She is a founding leader of the Education Amplifier program which began in the fall of 2017 where she provided educators with teaching tools created by Amplifier social change movement partners to guide students toward action. Mari has collaborated with and offered curricular guidance to organizations such as the Women's March, March for our Lives, Earth Guardians, Families Belong Together, IllumiNative, She Can STEM, Protect the Sacred, Free Migration Project, the Washington Bus, Newsela, City University of Seattle, and many more.
Mari is passionate about creating academically engaging learning experiences through a culturally sustaining environment that fosters empowerment, healing, and radical kindness. She is National Faculty at PBL Works, a nationally distinguished team of educators specializing in project-based learning. Committed to creating systems centered on equity and justice, she is a member of the Antiracist Arts Education Task Force for Visual & Performing Arts for Seattle Public Schools. She co-authored the Roots Framework, used to create antiracist and culturally responsive classrooms using the decolonial act of reflection. Additionally, Mari is the author of the book series for children, Social Justice and You (Capstone Publishers, 2023).
STEFAN RICHMOND | COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA MANAGER + TEACHING ARTIST
Stefan (he/they) is a Colorado native, Seattle based actor/movement/performance artist & educator. After graduating from the University of Northern Colorado with a B.A. in Theatre Arts and Dance, He made his way to the PNW through the Intiman Emerging Artist Program in 2016 and has been a full-time artist in Seattle. As a creative collaborator and storyteller, he believes in the power of storytelling and its ability to heal. The projects they seek to create and collaborate on examine and explore the intersections of stories and emotions related to physical space, natural movement within the body, and language/text. Some Seattle credits include Salvage Rituals (Tim Smith Stewart/Jeffery Azevedo), multiple educational touring shows with Book-It Theatre, Romeo y Julieta (Sophie Franco/Seattle Shakespeare), Black Bois (Dani Tirrel+Congregation), Time to Tell (Shawn Johnson),Pylon III (Tectonic Marrow Society), The Earth Shakes (Heron Ensemble), Carry We Openly (Amador/Stokes) and The House of Dinah (Andrew Russell/Dani Tirrell/Jerome Parker.)
HANNAH VOTEL | DATA/ASSESSMENT ASSISTANT + YOUTH BLOG MENTOR + TEACHING ARTIST
Hannah Votel (they/them) is a Seattle-based actor, writer, and director. They graduated with a BFA in Musical Theater from Cornish College of the Arts in the Fall of 2021, and have been working as a teaching artist both at SES and Seattle Rep throughout their first year post-grad. Hannah began working with South End Stories in the summer of 2021 at Lowell Elementary, and has continued on with their partnership taking on new roles and loving every minute of it. This company has provided them with a new appreciation and passion for foundational arts education, and they are forever grateful for the opportunity to be working alongside such amazing artists and humans. (Hannah is currently performing in Dacha Theater’s production of An Incomplete List of all the Things I’m Going to Miss When the World is No Longer.)
SHALONIA WONCH | OPERATIONS MANAGER
Shalonia (she/her) is a Chicago-Based arts organizer and teaching artist with a wide variety of artistic expressions. Having started teaching through developing and leading leadership workshops for the University of Idaho, Shalonia has found a passion for infusing her work as an artist, educator, and leader into her teaching philosophy. Shalonia is dedicated to working with youth to help them understand themselves and the world in which they are inheriting through arts education. She holds a M.Ed. in Curriculum and instruction, as well as, a BFA in Theatre from the University of Idaho. In addition to her work with Intiman, Shalonia can be found in a variety of classrooms, working as a teaching artist for Seattle Rep. and as a Resident Director & Stage Manager for Bellevue Youth Theatre.