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Thank you for joining us for the Arts Uplift! Conference on August 3 – 5, 2021.

We had over 180 attendees and 11 presenters gather virtually over the three days to celebrate joyful learning, wellness, and creative possibilities for early learning communities across Washington State.

The Arts Uplift! conference provided early learning educators, teaching artists, and leadership with more tools to integrate arts instruction, culturally responsive teaching methods, and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) frameworks into their daily work. Participants gained tools for their own creative growth and wellness practices.

Download the Event Program

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Watch our event summary video!

Find out more about the conference, and what our event partners and presenters have to say about the event.

Video produced by Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction

Conference Schedule

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Speakers and Presenters

Adeyemi Stembridge photo

Adeyemi Stembridge, PhD
Adeyemi Stembridge, PhD is an educational consultant with a particular interest in the design of culturally responsive learning experiences to close opportunity gaps and improve systems for equitable outcomes.  He has been a technical-assistance provider in applied research centers at New York University, Teachers College (Columbia University) and American University in Washington, DC. He has taught in K-12 schools and also at the university level. He is the author of the book, Culturally Responsive Education in the Classroom: An Equity Framework for Pedagogy (Routledge, 2020).

Dr Bre Haizlip

Dr. Bre Haizlip, LPC/ LMHC
Dr. Bre Haizlip is an award-winning speaker, professor, licensed therapist, equity consultant and coach. She is a soulful practitioner and transformative healer known to meditate to trap beats. She’s spent over 15 years studying the science of trauma and over 15,000 hours teaching the art of healing. Combining the science of psychology and the art of ancient wisdom, her approach centers individual well-being as a catalyst for positive social change. She believes our healing is our justice. And healing is not a right—it’s a responsibility.

celeste galvan

Celeste Galvan

I was born in Yakima; raised in Michoacan, Mexico. Being migrants we valued education and sought the best for our family. I’ve worked in various areas, from the field to cleaning offices. In the last fifteen years, I have become more involved in the school. I‘ve learned you never stop learning, I am proud of my Mexican roots and ready to continue studying! I currently serve as Selah School District’s Migrant Student Advocate and Recruiter and have built strong relationships with the Migrant and EL Community.

Nací en Yakima; crecí en Michoacán, México. Soy de una familia migrante que valora la educación y busca lo mejor para nuestra familia. He trabajado en diversas áreas, desde el campo hasta la limpieza de oficinas. En los últimos quince años, me he involucrado más en la escuela. Aprendí que nunca dejas de aprender, ¡estoy orgulloso de mis raíces mexicanas y lista para seguir estudiando! Actualmente me desempeño como ayudante y reclutadora de Estudiantes para el programa Migrante del Distrito Escolar de Selah y he construido relaciones sólidas con la Comunidad de Estudiantes Migrantes y EL.

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Grace Washington

Grace Washington, painter and teaching artist, began with Arts Impact in 2015 as an artist mentor, then in 2020 a Program Manager for Voices from the Field and Creative Impact. As a Atelierista at a Reggio inspired preschool, Grace worked with children and teachers in integrating the arts into learning. In 2017, Grace collaborated with 397 Northeast Tacoma elementary students on a diversity project “Together We Rise”. An alumnus of Washington State Teaching Artist Training Lab, Grace has a degree in Child and Family Development.

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Jesi Sucku

Jesi has a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and Social Justice and a Master’s in Early Childhood and Inclusive Education. She was an early educator and music teacher before moving to the Pacific Northwest in 2015, teaching in a Reggio-inspired school before becoming a training specialist for early childhood educators with ESD 112. She has a passion for advocacy and social justice, play-based learning and social-emotional learning. She lives with her husband Matt, daughter Norah and dogs Archer and Molly in Washington state.

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Josie Komorowski

Josie is the Early Learning Coordinator (P-3) at the North Central Educational Service District. Growing up in a family of artists–musicians, visual artists, and writers–the arts are close to her heart.  She is passionate about the ability of arts integration to bring inclusionary practices and social-emotional learning initiatives together on a connected path leading towards improved quality of life, amplified celebrations of diversity, and greater success in school and beyond for our youngest learners, their families, and communities.

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Kate Lindholm

Kate has been in education for 29 years. She has taught 2nd – 6th grades for 15 years, moving schools and grades often, always looking for a new challenge. She never saw herself as one to offer Professional Development or teach teachers, but her love of science pushed her in that direction. After 25 years in the same school district, Kate moved to an organization (NCESD) that serves 28 school districts, offering STEM support to schools all around her area of Central Washington State.

Lauren Appel - Headshot

Lauren Appel

Lauren has worked at many educational and cultural institutions in Washington and New York including a recent role as an Elementary Art/MakerSpace Specialist with Seattle Public Schools, and past work with Arts Corps, Hilltop Artists, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Youth Theatre Northwest, Rubin Museum of Art, Henry Street Settlement’s Abrons Arts Center, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Lauren holds a BA in theatre from Smith College and a MSEd in Museum Education from Bank Street College of Education.

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Megan LaPalm

Megan LaPalm supports elementary school counseling at OSPI. She has worked as an elementary school counselor, a university academic advisor for elementary and early childhood teacher preparation programs and has managed federal grants for school mental health systems and school climate. This year, hope has become a core theme of Megan’s work, connecting the dots between the science of hope, school counseling, social-emotional learning, pedagogy, and career and college readiness.

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Valerie Bayne Carroll

Valerie Bayne Carroll has been with Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts since 1983. As a Master Teaching Artist, Valerie leads teacher professional development workshops in music and drama around the country. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theater from Boston University, School for the Arts. Valerie has also presented workshops for the Kennedy Center and InterAct Story Theatre and taught classes for Imagination Stage, Round House Theatre, The Sitar Center and the arts-based Lucy School.

Valerie Branch 

Valerie Branch became a Wolf Trap artist in 2014 and provides residencies in early childhood classrooms. She has experience touring as a performing and teaching artist both nationally and internationally. Valerie graduated magna cum laude from the University of Maryland College Park with a Bachelor’s Degree in Dance. She is the founder and artistic director of VB Dance Ensemble, a professional contemporary company focused on bringing social and cultural awareness and change through the power of dance.

Conference Partners

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Students on Orcas Island display handmade art projects. Photo courtesy of Orcas Island Educational Foundation.
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Silver Ridge Elementary student applies ink with a brayer to her relief printing plate in Meredith Essex's artist residency.
students create art projects
Students from Lincoln Elementary begin coil pots during a workshop at Gallery One facilitated by Lead Artist Bonilyn Parker