Kyle Cornforth

Executive Director

As the Executive Director of Maker Ed, Kyle oversees the execution of our major initiatives, programs, partnerships, and the efforts of staff members. She is responsible for the leadership and management of Maker Ed’s operational and programmatic efforts. Over the last 20 years, Kyle has trained teachers from all over the world on how non-traditional education experiences are essential to truly prepare students for their lives on this planet, with the belief that teachers, administrators, and schools need to adapt their practices to the shifting world. To this end, she worked within a nascent field to build shared practice and professionalism to ensure equity and cultural relevance are foundational to program delivery at the Edible Schoolyard. With her incredible team, Kyle built ESYP’s internationally renowned training programs and communities of practice. These programs provide training for leadership, teacher practice and pedagogy, communications, program development, and resource sharing. Kyle holds clear communication, accountability, and feedback in all directions of an organization as vital to ensuring an organization can fulfill its mission. She loves to dance, cook, and hang out with her family.


Stephanie Chang

Director of Impact

Stephanie Chang is the Director of Impact at Maker Ed, having spent 5 years previously leading and designing Maker Ed’s program and project offerings for educators and institutions around the country. Her current work focuses on evaluating the impact and value of programmatic efforts, digging into data analysis to inform and improve the work, and developing stories, tools, and strategies for better understanding the impact of the field at all levels. She leads related research efforts and continues to inform the design of professional development and partnerships at Maker Ed. Prior to Maker Ed, Stephanie supported makerspaces and programs with 15 California high schools; worked in educational research and evaluation; led the science & technology program at The Tech Museum; and taught environmental and marine science. Stephanie holds a Bachelor’s in Biology from MIT and a Master’s degree from the Learning, Design, and Technology program at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education.

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Jakki Spicer

Director of Partnerships & Development

Jakki is the Director of Partnerships & Development at Maker Ed. She comes from a long line of educators, including her father, mother, sister and grandmother, and has a lifelong passion for fostering curiosity and intrinsic motivation in kids. At Maker Ed, she builds partnerships with foundations, corporations and individual donors. Previously, she worked in development capacities at Places Journal, the Jewish Community Center of the East Bay, KQED, Interfaith Power and Light, and other arts, community and environmental organizations. She holds a B.A. from Hampshire College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature from the University of Minnesota. While at Minnesota, she taught courses on cultural studies, and served as book review editor at the journal Cultural Critique. She has also been writing for independent journals in print and online for over a decade.


Aaron Vanderwerff

Director of Learning

As the Director of Learning, Aaron is responsible for content development and delivery to educators and trainers. He manages the design and content behind Maker Ed’s work, including resources, workshops, and programs. Throughout his sixteen years as a public educator, Aaron has been passionate about making and inquiry, believing that learner-centered, hands-on education can revolutionize our educational system. Prior to working at MakerEd he was the Lighthouse Creativity Lab Director, where he collaborated with teachers to turn learning over to students throughout the school day. Aaron started the Creativity Lab program in 2010, growing it from a high school elective to the K-12 program it is today. He also supports educators through Designing Making Experiences workshops, the AbD Oakland Fellowship, and teaching a course on Designing Equitable Groupwork in the Stanford Teacher Education Program. He taught high school science and robotics in the Bay Area for over ten years. Aaron lives in Oakland with his wife and daughter, who love to make things.


Justin Boner

Lead Maker Trainer

Justin is the Lead Maker Trainer at Maker Ed, where he supports Maker Ed’s multiple program initiatives and helps maintain their partner relationships. Before joining the Maker Ed team, Justin fostered the academic and social/emotional well-being of underrepresented youth at an immigrant advocacy non-profit in San Rafael, CA and assessed early childhood literacy in Oakland public schools. Justin holds a B.A. in Classics from New College of Florida and a M.A. in Classics from the University of California, Berkeley.


Lauren Penney

Making Spaces Program Manager

Lauren is the Program Manager for the Making Spaces project, supporting educational institutions and educators with training and resources to establish and strengthen maker education initiatives while also cultivating a community of practice around making. Lauren has been supporting youth, educators, and making for the past fifteen years across a variety of educational environments: She has been an educator and curriculum developer for various Boys & Girls Clubs and a Girl Scout summer camp. During her graduate school years, she played a key role in the establishment and development of FUSE Studio. She loves inspiring and helping youth and educators build their capacity and confidence in STEAM and making. Prior to joining Maker Ed, she worked with TEALS in the Bay Area to recruit, train, assemble, and support teams of tech industry volunteers and high school teachers who collaboratively taught computer science classes. Lauren has a B.S. in Computer Science from CU Boulder and a Ph.D. in the Learning Sciences from Northwestern University. She grew up in Colorado, but has since lived in Seattle, Boston, Chicago, and now the Bay Area. She discovered amigurumi in 2009 and is constantly thinking of ways to spread this craft.


Jan Schmitz

Office Manager

Jan joined the Maker Ed staff in March 2015 as Office Manger.  She combines a background in education with office administration experience gained in the higher education accreditation world of the WASC Senior College and University Commission. Jan started her teaching career off way before the Maker Movement but with marked maker tendencies. As a high school World Civilizations teacher she led her classes in an archaeological dig using a sandbox brought into the classroom that was ultimately filled with artifacts made and dug up by students! She has lived and worked in Oakland, CA for over 17 years, directing education programs at a community center, teaching English as a Second Language to adult learners, and nurturing a family on local tacos and phở. A California native, her BA in history is from UC Davis while she earned her MEd from UCLA.


Hadiyah Shabazz

Maker VISTA Program Manager

Hadiyah was born and raised in the Bay Area. Valuing curiosity, service, understanding, connection and kindness she ventured south to study at UC Riverside. During her time there she began recognizing various ways in which her learning needs were not being met, leading her on a journey of learning more about her needs and finding other avenues to fulfill them. During this journey she studied Anthropology and Dance, and was very active in supporting her community. Following graduation she joined AmeriCorps VISTA, working with California Conservation Corps, and later serving another year as a VISTA Leader in Utah. She spent 2 years with Galileo Innovation Camp for Kids in Oakland, and then a year as a caregiver, which helped her continue to engage her resourcefulness in supporting personal development. Hadiyah is very excited to be working with Maker Ed, as she has experienced the confidence developed through making and knows how crucial it is to believing, truly, that everything is possible.


Keyana Stevens

Communications Manager

Keyana Stevens manages the outreach and communications efforts at Maker Ed. Prior to joining Maker Ed, Keyana managed content partnerships and video publishing at Edutopia, worked on the digital media team at Sesame Workshop, and consulted with multiple educational technology startups on community management and engagement. They graduated from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study with a concentration in Digital Media for Journalism, and edited the independent student news blog NYU Local while there. A lifelong musician and artist, Keyana spends weekends immersed in the Bay Area music scene. Originally from Hawaii, they are now happy to call Berkeley home.

Maker Ed would also like to thank its former staff and board members for their contributions