Kyle has two decades of experience working at the intersection of education, organizational development, social justice, and advocacy. As the Executive Director of Maker Ed, Kyle oversees the execution of our major initiatives, programs, and partnerships. 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 have the opportunity 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 Project. With her incredible team, Kyle built ESYP’s internationally renowned training programs and communities of practice. 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.
Raquel Trinidad (she/ella)
Director of Storytelling
Raquel Trinidad loves stories and the power that they have to transport us to different times and faraway places. After working in the public sector in the fields of youth development, community engagement, air quality and transportation, Raquel gained an even greater appreciation for soulful, socially transformative work. One of the projects she co-led included an exploration of healing-centered engagement for LA County’s Arts Ed Division, as they advance their understanding and practice located at the intersection of liberatory practice, learning and healing. Raquel holds a Bachelor of Arts in Community Studies from UC Santa Cruz and a Master of Arts in Community and Regional Planning from the University of British Columbia. Raquel enjoys being in nature, cooking, and learning about medicinal plants.
Zahra Syed (she/her)
Zahra Syed is an operations strategist, designer, artist and overall creative nerd with over a decade of experience in non-profits and tech. She is best at designing and standing up systems, enabling change across organizations and functional teams, and infusing her work environment with fun and light. Zahra has learned that human wellness is the most important thing and hopes her work has a deep impact on developing wellness. At Maker Ed she supports the operations of all functions, in service of making true, joyful, experiential and ancestral maker-centered learning available to all young people. Stories, cooking, long leisurely conversations and time with her family are some of her favorite things.
Aáron B. Heard (she/they)
Director of Learning
Aáron B. Heard is a creative problem solver committed to our collective liberation through the intersection of art, healing, and education. Born to a 21-year-old mother in Los Angeles, CA exactly one month after the murder of her 19-year-old father, the first of many losses, Aáron has been on a healing journey embedded in art practice her entire life. Rooted in love, curiosity, and community Aáron is often described as the "heart of the team.” She is grounded in purpose, leads with enthusiasm, questions with a critical curiosity, and prioritizes learning, reflection, and growth. Aáron received her Bachelor’s Degree in English: Creative writing from the University of Southern California and her Master’s from Loyola Marymount University. Additionally, Aáron holds certification as an Arts Integration Specialist and was a two-time fellow of Agency by Design Oakland.
Aubrey Mailliard Rawlins (he/him)
Director of Strategic Partnerships
Aubrey has more than a decade of experience telling meaningful stories, fostering growth, and connecting needs with resources. After working in communications and messaging in New York City and the Bay Area, he moved to rural Mendocino County where he built bilingual educational programs for agricultural workers and convened a group of northern California farming organizations to confront drought conditions jeopardizing that community’s well-being. He then spent three years growing the resources and establishing new program areas at a land-based social justice and education organization on the central California Coast. With Maker Ed, Aubrey is excited to explore new partnerships, deepen existing relationships, drive conscientious growth, and build sustainability where the broader community most needs it. His most beloved pastime is making food and sharing it his loved ones. You’ll see him escape to the outdoors whenever possible, and exploring the power of plant life all around.
Ariel Marchante Ortiz (she/they)
Learning Communities Facilitator
Ariel Marchante Ortiz is the Learning Communities Facilitator at Maker Ed where they focus on building ecosystems of community sustainability. Ariel has experience in facilitating and developing curriculum that support youth to explore their identities, build creative practices, and counter harmful narratives through STEAM based learning experiences. Using multi-modal media practices, they strive to bridge the gap between art and science so that youth can reclaim personal and community identities. They’ve taught in K-12 contexts using different art practices such as comics, animation, game design, coding, robotics, 3D Modelling, VR/AR. Ariel is a storyteller and artist at heart. In her free time she loves to create art and write stories that she then centers in her educational practice.
Evaluation and Scalability 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.
Dora Medrano Ramos (she/ella)
Learning Events Manager
Dora Medrano Ramos is the Learning Events Manager at Maker Ed where she develops and facilitates professional learning experiences that support educators to integrate liberatory, maker-centered learning into their practice. She has been an educator in a variety of youth, family, and community-centered spaces, from museum education to afterschool programs to learning labs, as well as curriculum development. She cares deeply about creating a cultural shift in math education centered in rehumanizing, anti-racist, and culturally relevant practices that promotes agency, cultivates positive identities, and works toward healing math anxiety. She believes in the inherent brilliance of all youth to critique unjust systems and reimagine a more liberatory future in their place. Dora is a mathematician in mind, an artist at heart, a maker at her core, and a zero-generation immigrant who graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in Applied Mathematics in Quantum Mechanics and a minor in Science & Math Education.
Tamekia Jackson (she/her)
Learning Communities Manager
Tamekia Jackson has always been drawn to storytelling, she loves how people connect through stories and lean into the shared human experience. As a teaching artist, Tamekia helps students take ownership of their creative process to produce devised shows. She enjoys creating empathetic and respectful spaces that encourage self-exploration and growth. Tamekia has cultivated her love for this work and shared her expertise with students and teachers to create learning experiences that build community, support agency, and embrace failure. In her most recent position with Ford's Theatre, Tamekia enjoyed helping teachers challenge their teaching practice and build the skills to help their students engage more deeply with history and themselves. A native Texan, Tamekia received her BA from St. Edward’s University in Theatre and Psychology. In 2018, Tamekia completed her MA at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. Prior to this role, Tamekia had the pleasure of working with awesome organizations including The Moth, the Theatre Lab in DC, and the Moonshot Studio at the Kennedy Center. Tamekia enjoys spending time with her daughter, traveling to new and old places, and basking in the warm sunlight.
Community Engagement Co-Lead
Donaldo is a first-gen engineer & artist from the Rio Grande Valley, South Texas. In his engineering career, Donaldo has worked in a variety of roles to create software automations, data visualization pipelines, and lead process improvement projects as a Six Sigma project manager. As an artist, Donaldo shares his love of science in his work, engaging with others through collaborative art projects & leading community workshops. Donaldo is passionate about building bridges of communication & shared resources across knowledge domains. Additionally, he looks forward to helping other makers and educators find community & space to share their ideas, to create positive change in the world. Donaldo studied Chemical Engineering at Rice University, and is currently based in Houston, TX.
Isabel Emmons (she/her)
Community Engagement Co-Lead
As the Community Engagement Co-Lead, Isabel focuses on strategically building and deepening relationships with the Maker Ed community and Maker Ed partners, and designing, facilitating, and moderating community spaces, workshops, and events. Isabel has experience building community in educational, cooperative, non profit, and public health spaces. With a scholarship in Interdisciplinary Human Happiness and Well-being from UC Berkeley, she enjoys braiding together positive psychology, cognitive science, and play based learning philosophies to make school, work, and life more fun. Off the clock you can find her at the arts and crafts store, at any ice cream parlor, or in the woods.
Our Amazing Contractors:
Jacqueline Garrett (she/her)
Communications and Content Creation
Always seeking out pathways towards creativity and meaningful work, Jacqueline has worked in the non-profit space in the Bay Area for over 4 years. After graduating university in 2017, Jacqueline was a French teacher at Martin Luther King Middle School in Berkeley, CA. She continued in the education field with an emphasis on Food Justice while working as an Operations Coordinator and Garden Educator at The Edible Schoolyard Project for over three years. Here, she helped establish DEI learning pathways for the annual Education Conferences, co-facilitated the Black Student Union, and made equity and accessibly a core function in her teaching strategies. Her current life chapter is focused around Graphic Design, Social Media, and Communications, using technology and art as a mode of storytelling and sharing impactful materials with the online world.
Who We’re Learning With:
shea martin is a lit educator, scholar, and community curator raised at the intersections of gospel and go-go. In their writing, pedagogy, and practice, they employ queer, Black feminist, and abolitionist pedagogies to explore the nuances of organizing, schooling, and liberation. As a consultant, shea dreams and partners with students, teachers, and organizations across the country in their efforts to reimagine literacy, community, and education. Determined to bridge the gap between the “scholarly” and the personal, shea uses storytelling as a tool to build community and enact change. Their work has been featured in the New York Times, Electric Lit, and several other national, local, and academic publications. shea is a co-founder of both the Liberate and Chill* Collective and Love & LiteraTea, a literacy community for LGBTQ+ youth, runs the Anonymous Teacher Speaks project, and currently spends their days just drinking espresso and reading as a doctoral student. Find them dreaming at @/sheathescholar.