KURT WOOTTON is the Co-Founder of the Arts Literacy Project at Brown University and Director of Habla: Center for Language and Culture in Merida, Mexico. With a specialty in creative literacy pedagogies, teacher professional development, and organizational change, Wootton works with teachers and administrators helping to design schools and organizations that are creative, meaningful, and welcoming places. Previously he worked as an urban school reform consultant for the Providence School District and has led literacy initiatives for the Boston Public Schools, the St. Paul Public Schools, the Central Falls School District, and Plan Estratégico de Mérida, Mexico. He is the co-author of A Reason to Read: Linking Literacy and the Arts (Harvard Education Press, 2012). He writes a blog at kurtwootton.org.
GOWRI SAVOOR is a visual artist who creates environmental sculpture, works on paper and performs the Indian art of Rangoli. Born in Manchester, England, she was educated in Manchester and Leeds, and moved to the United States in 2007. Savoor has exhibited in the U.S., the U.K., and internationally. Savoor also works towards bringing art to the community, and believes passionately in the power of participatory, community art events. See her work here: http://www.gowrisavoor.com/
LIZ WOODY is the Co-Founder and the Director of Professional Development for The Learning Alliance. TLA, in collaboration with the Indian River County School District and the wider community, has set the Moonshot Moment goal of having 90% of third grade students reading at or above grade level. Liz’s efforts reached a world-wide audience when her work with TLA was featured on the PBS NewsHour in September 2014, and TLA/Moonshot Moment has earned the Pacesetter Award from the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading three times. Liz earned her BA in English Lit from the University of Delaware and her Master's in Learning Disabilities from American University, where she was one of the last students to work with the legendary Sally Smith, the founder of the Washington Lab School.
DEBBI ARSENEAUX is an Educational Consultant and Teaching Artist with The Learning Alliance. She has been a classroom teacher in the Washington DC Public School District and worked as a professional Theatre Director, Stage Manager, Producer and freelance Teaching Artist in the DC area for over 15 years. Specializing in arts integration, she believes in the power of the arts to reach and teach students of all ages.
LESLIE CONNELLY is a certified educator in Elementary Education K-6 with a Master's in Educational Leadership. A team member of The Learning Alliance, she serves as an Educational Consultant and Liaison with the Indian River County School District. She is trained in Conscious Discipline, Wilson, Fundations, Backward Design, and many other researched based strategies. She is excited to be a part of the journey to reach our Moonshot Moment Goal of 90% of third graders reading on grade level.
MEGAN KENDRICK, Coordinator of Professional Development for the School District of Indian River County, has a Master’s in Educational Leadership, is a certified educator in English grades 6-12, Elementary Education K-6, Middle Grades Integrated Curriculum 5-9, and holds a Gifted Endorsement. Megan earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing from the University of Florida. She is excited to be part of the Professional Development team and looks forward to providing meaningful workshops for our district.
TARIK "KONSHENS the MC" DAVIS is a talented writer and musician born and raised in Northwest Washington DC. A HipHop Artist, Songwriter, Educator, Youth Advocate and MC of a HipHop Band - Konshens and his State of Mind, he is currently working on his fourth Independent project, followed by an inspirational book. Accomplishments include: First HipHop artist to perform at the Grand Canyon (2015), Co-Chair of the Recording Academy Chapters HipHop Committee, Voting member of the GRAMMY Recording Academy, Teaching Artist at the GRAMMY Museum and Global Wildlife Conservation, Voiceover actor with Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Insurance Co. and featured artist/performer at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Learn more at http://www.konshens.com/ And check out his latest release: The Birth of a Boy That Helped Shape a Man
ARNOLD APRILL, the Moonshot Institute documentation consultant, comes from a background in professional theater as an award-winning director, producer and playwright. He founded the Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE) in 1993 and the Radical Compliance Arts and Learning Laboratory in 2013. He is one of the co-authors of Renaissance in the Classroom: Arts Integration and Meaningful Learning, and is a contributor to the Routledge International Handbook of Creative Learning. He consults nationally and internationally on arts learning documentation and assessment, and has been recognized for exceptional leadership by the Fulbright Scholars program, the Chicago Community Trust, and by the Leadership for a Changing World initiative of the Ford Foundation.