Reimagining Education Series

Pangea World Theater is hosting a series of conversations with educators, students and families who are actively reimagining education through arts and social justice--as a community and a society.This time has become an invocation to reflect on ourselves and our communities, and examine how we address social justice, center artistic expression, and value of each individual in our society. 

This panel will features artist-parents, teachers and students:

  • Juma B. Essie - playwright, performance artist, video maker; parent

  • Sir Curtis Kirby III - Program Manager and Theater Director, Ikidowin Youth Theater Ensemble, Indigenous Peoples' Task Force

  • Kiyoko McCrae - multidiscipline artist, producer & consultant; parent

  • Denise Uyehara - interdisciplinary performance artist, writer and playwright; parent

Being in a distance-learning environment has made way for new discoveries, new ways of working and different strategies for connecting to each other amidst the various challenges. Addressing questions like: how are we staying connected? How are we centering social justice? How can art allow us to engage meaningfully with one another? 


Join us for this virtual conversation as we build a new reality together. 

Past Events

Reimagining Education

Addressing the impacts of the Pandemic and Social Uprisings on Teachers and Students 

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Watch Here

This virtual panel featured Rose Chu (MN Education Equity Partnership), Kathy Haddad (Kennedy HS, Bloomington), Anton Jones (Climb Theater), Kevin Ward (Avalon School, St. Paul) and Ahmed Yusuf (Ubah Medical Academy, Hopkins), as well as students from Avalon School and St. Paul Conservatory of Performing Arts.

About the Panelists​

Rose Chu - Senior Policy Fellow, MN Education Equity Partnership

Dr. Rose Wan-Mui Chu has dedicated her professional life to the tireless pursuit of education equity and excellence for children and youth. Rose brings over 20+ years of rich and diverse cross-sector experiences. Her original Industrial and Systems Engineering background, coupled with her experience as a classroom teacher have continued to ground her life’s work in educational reform and transformation. She is professor emerita at Metropolitan State University​, where she has previously been a faculty and department chair at the Urban Teacher Program. Rose also held executive leadership positions as Assistant Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Education, and as interim Dean of Urban Education at Metropolitan State University. She currently serves as Senior Policy Fellow at Minnesota Education Equity Partnership, leading the TeachMN20/20 collective impact initiative to advance systems change to create and retain a racially diverse teacher workforce. TeachMN20/20 aims to demystify and elevate the teaching profession by changing the public narrative about teaching (see, and to catalyze collaborative engagement towards collective action, accountability and impact. Rose was recently elected to the school board of the Roseville Area Schools and began her first term in January 2020.

Kathy Haddad - English Language Arts Teacher

Kathryn Haddad has been a high school teacher in Minnesota since 1991. Her licensure is in English Language Arts and Communication Arts with master’s degrees in Liberal Studies and Public Affairs. She has developed and taught classes in literature, writing, and film, and serves as a concurrent enrollment instructor at both Normandale Community College and Minneapolis Community College. In addition to her work as a teacher, she is the Executive and Artistic Director of New Arab American Theater Works in Minneapolis and was the founder and executive/artistic director of Mizna for over a decade. Kathryn is a 2004-05 recipient of an Archibald Bush Leadership Fellowship for her work with the Arab American community. She has received three Playwright’s Center Many Voices Fellowships, is a recipient of the 2018 Kay Sexton Award from the Minnesota Book Awards for her work with the Arab American Community, and is a 2019-20 Jerome Artist Fellow in theater. As a playwright, her works have been presented throughout Twin Cities stages. She has had several works published in anthologies including the upcoming, More Than A Single Story anthology edited by David Mura and Carolyn Holbrook, University of Minnesota Press, 2021.

Anton Jones - Artistic Director/CEO, Climb Theater

Anton holds his MFA from the University of Iowa Playwright’s Workshop and his BA in Theatre from Grinnell College. He has directed, written and provided hip-hop theatre workshops for CLIMB actors since 2007. He has worked as a director, playwright, and theatre educator for Penumbra Theatre, Pillsbury House Theatre, The Illusion Theatre, History Theatre, Karamu Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, Upstream Arts, Children’s Theatre Company, The Guthrie, St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, Imagination Stage in Bethesda, MD. He is a two time Jerome Many Voices Fellowship Recipient. As a sound designer/composer, his work has been heard internationally, off-broadway and most recently on CLIMBs podcasts of Faraway Woods.

Kevin Ward - HS Advisor/Language Arts Teacher, Avalon Charter School​

Kevin Ward is an advisor at Avalon School.  He joined Avalon School in 2002.  A graduate of Oberlin College with a BA in English, Kevin has also attended Northwestern University (MS in Secondary English Instruction) and University of Wisconsin-Madison (MA in English Literature).  He lives in the Hamline Midway neighborhood of St. Paul with his wife Jess and two kids Murray and Olive.  Kevin likes reading and working with students. 

Ahmed Yusuf - Writer, Teacher, Ubah Medical Academy

Raised in a nomadic upbringing, Ahmed Ismail Yusuf is the author of three books: Gorgorkii Yimi, a collection of short stories in Somali, The Lion’s Binding Oath, a collection of short stories in English, and Somalis in Minnesota. His short stories appeared in Bildhaan: An International Journal of Somali studies, Mizna: An Arab-American literary magazine. His play “A Crack in the Sky” was produced at the History Theatre in Saint Paul and others were performed at Pangea World Theater as well as Mixed Blood Theatre. His mental health publications appeared in Journal of Muslim Mental Health; Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology; International Society for Traumatic-stress Studies, Psychiatry Times. He has a BS in creative writing and psychology from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut; and an MPA (Master of Public Affairs) from the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs of the University of Minnesota.  

Pangea World Theater Education

Click here to learn more about our education opportunities, programming, and initiatives. 

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