Rebecca Walker, MFA, Creative Nonfiction
Rebecca Walker is an award-winning writer based in Los Angeles. She is the author of the bestselling memoirs Black, White and Jewish (Riverhead) and Baby Love (Riverhead), and editor of the anthologies To Be Real (Doubleday), What Makes a Man (Riverhead), One Big Happy Family, (Riverhead) and Black Cool (Soft Skull). Her writing has appeared in Bookforum, Bomb, Afar, Greater Good, Newsweek, Real Simple, Glamour, More, Marie Claire, The Washington Post, Vibe, Interview, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Babble, and CNN, among many other publications, and in literary collections including Erica Jong’s Sugar in My Bowl, and Crush, Unbuttoned, Dirt, Shaking the Tree, The Way We Live Now, Tales from the Couch, Mixed, The Fire This Time, Blended Nation, Adios Barbie, The Modern Jewish Girl’s Guide to Guilt, and In Search of Mary Poppins. Her most recent work, Adé : A Love Story (New Harvest), was published last fall.
Rebecca has taught and lectured at over three hundred universities and corporate campuses, including Yale, Harvard, Brown, Penn, MIT, Tufts, Smith, Williams, Mt. Holyoke, University of Utrecht, University of Linkoping, Microsoft, JP Morgan Chase, and the Ministry of Gender and Culture of Estonia, and participated in creative collaborations with other writers and visual artists at The Addison Gallery, Walker Art Center, LA Hammer Museum, Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, New York Jewish Museum, Headlands Center for the Arts, Amsterdam Cultural Education Foundation, and The Fundazione Merz in Turin. She has developed projects for film and television with Nickelodeon, NBCUniversal, BET, and the Kennedy Marshall Company.
She is the recipient of MacDowell and Yaddo fellowships, and the Alex Award from the American Library Association, and has appeared on Charlie Rose, Good Morning America, and Oprah. Time Magazine named Rebecca one of the most influential leaders of her generation.
Rebecca holds a BA from Yale, an MFA from Spalding, and an honorary Doctorate of Arts and Letters from the North Carolina School of the Arts.
John is the founder of the Maui Breadfruit Company and is dedicated to restoring Breadfruit as a major food crop in the Hawaiian Islands.
Amir Amiraslani is currently a math faculty at the University of Hawaii-Maui College (UHMC). He has a PhD in Applied Mathematics from the University of Western Ontario. He has over fourteen years of experience in teaching and research in mathematics at different levels ranging from high school to advanced university level. He is currently the coordinator of Project Heluna, a program for mathematically talented students of Maui. Since 2011, he has designed and implemented innovative project-based advanced math curriculum at UH Maui College.
Mr. Wood is an award-winning journalist, author and educator. Across the island chain, Wood’s name is synonymous with inspired writing and effective teaching.
He began teaching in 1977 at Lahainaluna High School providing “occupational skills” training to local boys. In 1979 he accepted a position in the English Department at Seabury Hall, a college-preparatory secondary school in Makawao, Maui. There he taught writing and literature classes, served as department chairman and representative to the school’s board, and he created a drama program, which included for-credit acting classes. For many years he directed and wrote plays, built sets, and staged public-attended student productions while teaching full-time in the English Department—his signature class being the school’s required “Expos,” or expository writing. In the late 1980s he established the school’s Arts Department, hiring drama, dance, visual art, and music teachers and thereby making that school’s dedication to the arts its second-highest bragging point (after college admissions). When he withdrew from full-time classroom teaching in the early ’90s in order to create a career as a self-employed writer, Seabury Hall created an award in his name: The Paul Wood Arts Award, given each year to one or more graduating seniors.
Since then he has continued to work as a teaching artist, primarily offering residencies in elementary schools, staff trainings, and teacher workshops. He is a long-time affiliate of Maui Arts & Cultural Center, and he is recognized as an “advanced teaching artist” by the Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the
Arts. He calls his approach “Writing Without Pencils.” In 2013, by invitation, on two occasions, he presented teacher workshops at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. He continues to teach as a lecturer in creative writing at the University of Hawai‘i Maui College.
His published writing has been honored in Hawai‘i—best in the state from Society of Professional Journalists (five times), Hawai‘i Publishers Association (three times),the Hawai‘i Ecotourism Association (“Travel Writer of the Year 2013”) and in 2006 the Elliott Cades Award for Literature. Other recognitions have come from the International Association of Business Communicators, the Public Relations Society of America, the Lowell Thomas Travel Writing Award, and the Telly Award. Paul Wood-authored books available at this time on Amazon: Four Wheels Five Corners; False Confessions; Lurigancho; The Ingenious Life of Melbourne Smith.
Will Fowler is the Programs Director for the Architectural Foundation of San Francisco and the instructional leader for the AFSF Build San Francisco Program. A long time educator, Will has received numerous awards for his work with educational technology and project based learning. With 25 years of teaching experience, he is a leader in educational reform. As a middle school teacher, Will pioneered the use of advanced visualization technology in his social science program. His students’ work has been showcased at a variety of state and national educational conferences. He is the co-author of two books on the use of technology in the classroom and continues to advance the use of technology in integrated studies programs. Will has served as a consultant for the Autodesk Corporation, Envision Schools, Bay Area School Reform Collaborative and the Beryl Buck Institute of Education. From 2000 to 2004, Will served as Faculty-in-Residence for Dominican University of California, where he was instrumental in the development of the online Master’s in Education Degree program at that institution.
As a teacher in the California system, Will Fowler has worked successfully with a variety of students. Throughout his career, at all grade levels from elementary to university levels of education, Will has demonstrated the ability to work with the diverse populations found in California schools. A hallmark of this success is the level of excellence achieved by the students of Build San Francisco who represent the cultural and ethnic variety found in San Francisco public schools.
Katie Rast is the Director of Fab Lab San Diego, and has worked with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to develop the San Diego instantiation of the Global Network of MIT Fab Labs. Since 2007, Katie has managed this local invention space, and has developed and deployed programs focused on innovation, ideation, hardware development, and rapid prototyping.
Katie has been an evangelist for the Maker Movement for the past seven years, and remains dedicated to the belief that communities benefit when tools, teams and training are made accessible. As a part of her ongoing efforts to grow the local maker community, Katie co-produced the first Maker Faire in San Diego, a showcase of local innovation and creativity that brought over 5,000 people together under one roof to share their ideas and inventions.
Fab Lab San Diego is currently working with inventors and entrepreneurs to assist in the development of hardware and physical products that include household items, 3D printed fashion, drones and wearable electronics.
Shayla Adams is a history and government teacher at Phelps Architecture, Construction, and Engineering High School in Northeast Washington, D.C., where she combines her love for learning and teaching with a unique project-based learning model. She is also the CEO and founder of RemixEducation, an education training organization that has provided more than 100 students in Maryland, North Carolina, Georgia, and Washington, D.C. with positive youth development programming. Shayla graduated from Wellesley College in Massachusetts and received a master’s degree in teaching from Duke University.
Carol Booth Olson is the Director of the UC Irvine site of the National Writing Project and an Associate Professor in the School of Education at the University of California, Irvine. She received her Ph.D. in American Literature from UCLA and was honored as Outstanding Graduate Woman of the Year. Dr. Olson has edited three books: Practical Ideas for Teaching Writing as Process (1997), the best-selling publication of the California Department of Education (1986; 1987); Thinking/Writing: Fostering Critical Thinking Through Writing (Harper Collins, 1992); and Reading, Thinking, and Writing About Multicultural Literature (Scott Foresman Publishers, 1996). In addition, her single-author text, The Reading/Writing Connection, is now in its third edition (Pearson Education, 2011). Her newest book Helping English Learners Meet the Common Core Standards for Writing, was just released by Teachers College Press (2015). Dr. Olson has also published over thirty journal articles on interactive strategies for teaching writing, fostering critical thinking through writing, applying multiple intelligences theory to language arts instruction, using multicultural literature with students of culturally diverse backgrounds, and more.
In 1994, Dr. Olson and three UCI Writing Project teacher researchers won the first annual Caddo Gap Press Award for California Education Research for a study of the impact of teaching multicultural literature on the writing of ethnic and linguistic minority students. She has also received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the UCI Committee in Teaching Quality and the Outstanding Contribution to Reading Award from the Orange County Reading Association. In 2007, Dr. Olson received the Alan Purves Award from the National Council of Teachers of English for the article in Research in the Teaching of English deemed most likely to impact educational practice for an eight-year long study in Santa Ana Unified School District and in 2009, she received the Richard A. Meade Award from NCTE for the same article. Dr. Olson is the developer of the Pathway Project intervention to improve the academic writing of Latinos and English Learners. She has been the PI on a Goal 3 IES grant, an i3 Validation grant, and an Office of English Language Acquisition, National Professional Development grant.
Peter Sagebiel has been in education since 1997. He received his undergraduate degree in English from the University of Oregon and both his Masters in Humanities and Secondary Teaching credential in English from Dominican University. Peter taught for six years in both private and public schools in the Bay Area before moving to Nevada County in 2002 where he was an English teacher at Nevada Union High School. He started his first administration job in the fall of 2004 as the Director of Twin Ridges Home Study Charter while receiving his administrative credential through National University. In 2005, he moved to Forest Charter, a progressive personalized learning school, where he spent four years as their Academic Dean. Since 2009, he has served as the Executive Director of Forest Charter where he continues to foster a passion both for creative, progressive education and, specifically, for Forest’s personalized learning methodology. He is an active member of the California Charter School Association, The association of Personalized Learning Schools, the local ACSA chapter and the Nevada County Charter Cooperative. He lives in Nevada City with his wife and daughter.
Koalani Lagareta was born and raised in Honolulu where she currently resides and teaches third grade at Wai’alae Public Charter School. She was introduced to integrated, thematic, project-based curriculum while attending The Evergreen State University where she earned her undergraduate degree in 1997. Through the experience of designing her own individual learning contracts focused on early childhood education and permaculture design, she was inspired to share this experience with children. Koalani continued her education at Chaminade University where she earned her the Masters in Education in 2004, with emphasis in mathematics and science, as well as dual Elementary Education and Montessori certification. She believes in the power of novel, relevant experiences that foster meaningful connections and inspire passionate lifelong learners.
Koalani has 15 years of teaching experience in Hawai`i schools, both private and public charter. She has taught grades 1-8 in culture-based, place-based and project-based programs. At Halau Ku Mana (HKM) New Century Public Charter School, Koalani collaborated with a team of teachers to design and implement a 3-year spiraling, math/scienc integrated project and culture-based middle school curriculum focused on coastal marine plants and animals. HKM is a Title I startup charter school in central Honolulu serving a 75% native Hawaiian student body, with close to 30% SPED population. She is no stranger to the challenges facing Hawai`i’s at-risk youth today. At Wai’alae Public Charter School, Koalani was the science cadre head for 5 years, leading the charge to develop integrated, thematic science and social studies units for grades K-5. She is currently working with her team to overhaul the 3rd grade curriculum in order to foster more integration, independence, and innovation.
Sara Tekula has worked as a creative consultant in both the non-profit and commercial business sectors, primarily in the areas of media production, marketing, outreach and education, and community event coordination. She also contributes her talent for the written word as a journalist on Maui and formally engages in education a part of the business faculty at the University of Hawai‘i Maui College.
She is co-founder of TEDxMaui – the largest public educational conference on Maui – and has produced the event since its inception in 2011. Since moving to Maui in 2004, she has worked to promote native habitat restoration, volunteered and consulted for the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust, and is co-founder of the Plant a Wish project.
In January 2016, she became the Communications & Outreach Director of Maui nonprofit The Merwin Conservancy, where she works to preserve the living legacy of renowned U.S. Poet Laureate and deep ecologist W.S. Merwin through conservation, education, and outreach programs.
KIM CULBERTSON is the award-winning author of the YA novels Songs for a Teenage Nomad (Sourcebooks 2010), Instructions for a Broken Heart (Sourcebooks 2011), Catch a Falling Star (Scholastic 2014) and The Possibility of Now (Scholastic 2016). Much of her inspiration for her novels comes from the work she’s done as a high school teacher for the last eighteen years. In 2012, Kim wrote her eBook novella The Liberation of Max McTrue for her students, who, over the years, have taught her far more than she has taught them. Kim is currently at work on her fifth YA novel (Scholastic 2017) and lives in Nevada City with her husband and daughter.
Member, Sierra Writers