Emily Carlson (she/they) is the director of Art in the Garden and has been teaching since 2001. Emily deeply believes in creating communities that foster radical acceptance and compassion. Emily has worked in Ghana with the School for International Training’s (SIT) program for high school students; in Italy and Brooklyn, NY teaching horseback riding; and in Beirut, writing with the support of a grant from the University of Pittsburgh’s Syria-Lebanon Nationality Room. Emily earned a BA in Poetry and African American Literature from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA in Poetry from the University of Pittsburgh. Emily is the author of three poetry chapbooks, Why Misread a Cloud, I Have a Teacher, and Symphony No. 2. Emily serves as a board member for Olmo Ling Bon Center and Institute. Emily lives in an intentional community centered around an urban garden with their partner, Sten, and their three children.
Monica Daniels (she/her) is a new Lead Teacher for grades 5-7 with Art in the Garden’s summer program. She received her Master of Arts Education from Chatham University and is currently a Visual Arts Teacher with Pittsburgh Public Schools. Monica is a Pittsburgh native, a practicing artist in fashion design, painting, and more. Her teaching philosophy is rooted in the strong belief that it takes a village to raise a child and nurture them to excel. The lessons she instructs students are rich with S.T.E.A.M, Arts Integration, and culturally responsive practices.
Sabrina LeClair (she, her) is a Lead Teacher for grades 2-4 with Art in the Garden. Sabrina has a Master’s in Early Childhood Education and graduated Suma Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s in Child & Adolescent Developmental Psychology and is completing a RBT certification. Sabrina also has an Associate’s in Health Science & Technology and an EMT-B certification. Her graduate research focused on mitigating the development of racial dysphoria and promoting resiliency and positive self-identity in students. She currently works in a special education classroom at Pittsburgh Public School; she also taught in a local Reggio Emilia inspired ECDC for three years, where she led a toddler class, and ran the Math and Science program for preschoolers. Sabrina is inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach, a student-centered, constructivist approach, which motivates children’s passion for learning, with a focus on social emotional development and naturalism. In her free time, Sabrina enjoys cooking, sports, hiking, biking, traveling and volunteering with her pediatric therapy dog, Callie.
Nina Ingram (she/they) is a multidisciplinary artist, educator, and social worker who is honored to be a Lead Teacher with Art in the Garden. This summer Nina will be the Lead Teacher for students in grades 1 and 2. For over a decade she has worked with youth in schools, ecology camps, residential treatment centers, and after school programs. Nina has a BA in Social Work and brings a special focus of providing trauma informed care to system-impacted youth with complex behavioral needs. She enjoys sewing, dancing, gardening, baking, playing the drums, and skateboarding.
Rachel Hermes (she/her) is joining OMA Art in the Garden as Lead Teacher for grades PK-2. Rachel is an early childhood educator with a background in outdoor education. She loves the joyful routines and spirit of freedom that grows in the garden. During the school year, Rachel is an assistant teacher with The Early Learning Center at Yeshiva. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Pacific Northwest College of Art in 2015. Rachel also worked with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy for four years, developing outdoor education programs and leading social justice work for the staff and community. During that time, she also completed two years of service and professional development with Americorps Public Allies. In her free time, Rachel loves to play with her cats, play video games, and ride her bicycle.
Leah Morelli is an artist, educator, and museum consultant with a focus on disability and the arts. She is joining Art in the Garden as an assistant teacher and program director assistant this summer. Leah has been working in cultural institutions for over ten years with a focus on museum education and inclusive cultural experiences for diverse populations. She lives in Pittsburgh’s East End with her son, step-son and partner.
Takeela Washington (she/her) is a teacher and community advocate. She is joining Art in the Garden as a program director assistant this summer. Takeela has been in the education field for over 15 years. Takeela has a Masters Degree in applied developmental psychology and has always been passionate about education, specifically education for minority children and youth. Her passion for helping children with the development of self-regulation skills grew when her son was diagnosed with childhood anxiety and sensory processing disorder (SPD). Takeela believes success comes first through children and families learning how to creatively express their emotions in their homes and communities. As self-regulation skills develop, children excel in other areas of their lives. That’s the goal, to help our children become well rounded human beings.
Ayanna Mallory, an assistant teacher at Art in the Garden for grades PK-2, is a rising junior at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania majoring in early childhood education with a concentration in special education. As a member of the Honors Academy on campus, Ayanna works hard to maintain a 4.0 GPA. Ayanna is part of the Arts and Healing Committee as well as the Sexuality and Gender Alliance Club on campus. Furthermore, Ayanna’s hobbies include drawing, yoga, making jewelry, and playing video games. Ayanna also likes to garden when she get the chance; she acquired the skills from working at Phipps Conservatory as a summer intern for two years. Ayanna’s passion for working with children comes from her experience being an older sibling and cousin. Teaching makes Ayanna feel proud because she knows that she can influence children with education.
Isabel Kinnane-Smith (they/them) was born and raised in Pittsburgh and has been engaged in the city’s community of Black organizers for nearly a decade. Isabel is returning to work with Art in the Garden this summer as an Assistant Teacher for grades 1 and 2. Currently pursuing a degree in Africana and Environmental Studies at Oberlin College, Isabel is interested in earth arts, and counter mapping practices. They have worked as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisor for Oberlin College College Athletics.
Sam Hahn-Madole (he/they) is a rising senior at Oberlin College, majoring in anthropology and musical studies and is joining Art in the Garden as an Assistant Teacher for grades grades 2-4. He is a part of the Oberlin Arts and Sciences Chamber Music Orchestra and loves to produce music in his spare time. Sam is passionate about the power of music in bringing people together, as well as the expressive power that art has in children’s lives. He has also WWOOFed (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) and finds working with plants satisfying and enriching. Sam’s hobbies and interests include writing, playing, and listening to music, doing puzzles, and sustainable fashion.
Jodi Iddings (she/her) is an Assistant Teacher for Art in the Garden for grades 5-7. She graduated from Slippery Rock University with a dual bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and Special Education. Jodi was a member of the International Club in college, where she helped students from all over the world transition to college life in the United States. Upon graduation, Jodi began working for the Environmental Charter School at Frick Park. She currently teaches fourth and fifth grade interventions for Math and Literacy. She also supports through an Environmental Literacy class and through Flow Club, practicing movement meditation and mindfulness activities. Jodi loves hula hooping and creating art and music. Her biggest passion of all is being present in the moment for children to feel safe to express themselves.
Robin Clarke, LCSW, MFA, MA, is a psychotherapist, writer, and teacher. She is offering affirming, strengths-based mental health support on site for campers and staff at Art in the Garden. Robin has worked with children, adults, and families for the past five years as an outpatient therapist. She is an EMDR certified trauma therapist and a Certified Trauma & Resilience Practitioner (CTRP-C). Her therapy emphasizes unconditional positive regard, attuned presence, teaching mind-body skills to relieve anxiety and depression, and developing safe spaces in which to heal from trauma.
Camila Pulgar Machado (she/her) is a translator and collaborator at Art in the Garden and teaches at the University of Pittsburgh. Camila has a PhD in Cultural Studies from Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV), where she was a professor of Latin American Literature. There she taught every level of UCV’s undergraduate curriculum, including subjects such as “Archives, Creation and Urban Imaginaries.” She first came to Pittsburgh as a visiting Fulbright Scholar in the Department of Hispanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pittsburgh. Camila enjoys teaching with materials that stimulate passion for cultures in the Hispanic world, including photography, cinema, TV, music, and digital media. She writes a regular column on archives, pedagogy, art, literature and migration for Venezuela’s Papel Literario.
Substitute teachers and volunteers
Madison Eveland (she/her) is in the last semester of her master’s program at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work with a concentration in mental health. She is joining Art in the Garden this summer as a substitute teacher. Madison has worked in the field of social work as a counseling intern for college students as well as a victim advocate for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault. Madison’s future career goal is to become a certified trauma therapist, and she strongly believes in the power of trauma-informed services and the integration of art and nature to aid in healing from past traumas. Outside of the professional realm, she can often be found making music, hiking, cooking, and traveling with her partner and two border collies.
Jordan Taylor (he/him) is a dancer, photographer, and teacher who believes all emotions can be expressed through art. Jordan is returning this summer as a substitute teacher with Art in the Garden. He graduated with a BFA in Cinema and Photography from Edinboro University, where he spent his four years leading and choreographing for his dance team. Originally from Akron, Ohio, he enjoys traveling with friends. Jordan strongly believes in expressing himself and encourages everyone around him to do so in their own artistic way. He typically spends his free time writing, studying constellations, and hanging out with his black cat, Santiago.
Montinique Ollison is an assistant teacher with Pittsburgh Public Schools Early childhood education program and returning to Art in the Garden this summer as a substitute teacher. Montinique has developed a passion for teaching and caring for children through her experience as an early childhood assistant teacher and numerous volunteer work for community gatherings and programs. Montinique has worked for Pittsburgh Public Schools for 6 years. Montinique is college graduate, with a bachelors in biology from Thiel College. “My love for children and the ability to educate them is something that I am extremely passionate about. Given a safe and healthy learning environment, every child has the ability to learn at high levels.”
Teona Wakefield (she/her) is a native of the Pittsburgh area. Teona is returning this summer as a volunteer with Art in the Garden. Teona has worked as a paraprofessional with Pittsburgh Public School’s Early Childhood Center for four years, preparing children for kindergarten. Teona also has a background in social services and has worked in community neighborhoods’ Family Support Centers for years before joining PPS. Making education enjoyable for children is a passion of hers. Incorporating creative arts with learning is something Teona knows makes learning fun and more intriguing to children. “Every experience is a learning experience” is a life motto that Teona reminds the children .
Angie Meyers (she/her) has been an art teacher in Pittsburgh for the past 3 years, after graduating from Edinboro University with a degree in Art Education and Ceramics. Angie is returning this summer as a substitute teacher with Art in the Garden. Angie strongly believes that immersion in and connection to the outdoors, coupled with art-making, has powerful healing properties. Angie has worked alongside students of all ages and can’t picture herself being anything but an art teacher. She believes that learning is a process of everyday life and is never-ending. Her passion is to help others learn about the arts. Angie loves traveling, being outdoors, yoga, hiking, camping, and rock climbing. Angie lives in Swissvale with her partner and her orange tabby cat, Monty.
Art in the Garden is made possible by volunteers from OMA Center for Mind, Body, and Spirit, including:
Gail Hunter, LCSW, BCD, is a Founding Member and the President of the Board of Directors for OMA. Gail has been in Private Practice as a psychotherapist in the Pittsburgh area since 1979 and is a holistic practitioner using EMDR, Brainspotting, Reiki, Source Point Therapy, ‘Bars’, Theta Healing, TFT, EFT and other Energy Techniques. She is a holistic practitioner and has always believed in everyone’s inner capacity to heal into life, to remember the ‘truth’ of who we are innately and the abundance of possibilities we can create. She loves to spend time with her family, friends and pets, and she enjoys Swing/Lindy hop dancing, gardening, and fitness.
Joanne Riley (she/her) is the director of operations for OMA. Joanne practiced as a Critical Care Registered Nurse for sixteen years until going into Health Care Administration. She has a passion for assuring individualized quality care, and management allowed her to do that. After management positions including Director of Nursing, and completing her Masters Degree in Hospital Administration from Carnegie Mellon University, she accepted a position as Senior Administrator for General Internal Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh where she stayed for 25 years before retiring in 2017. Her responsibilities were broad including: residency training programs, research programs and clinical programs. Joanne’s last project prior to retiring was obtaining a state grant to create an Addiction Clinic for UPMC. Since retirement she has been filling her life with volunteer work, gardening, creation with stained glass, and her wonderful husband and family.
Callie Gropp (she/her) heads OMA Pittsburgh’s Surviving to Thriving Programs. A native of Pittsburgh, Callie earned a BA in History and African American/Black Studies from Oberlin College. She has been an educator since 2007, and increasingly spends her time working to create awareness about the science of trauma and resilience. She is hopeful that through education, awareness, and advocacy we can establish awareness of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), trauma, and all forms abuse as a major public health issue. In order to break cycles of silence and harm, Callie believes we must collaboratively respond to the collective arena of trauma and its effects throughout the generations. Through collaboration with individuals and organizations city-wide, she hopes to help reveal possibilities that emerge when communities come together to provide all people with access to holistic, trauma-informed and healing centered care. She believes that when we heal ourselves in the present, we heal the generations to come.
Paul Clough is OMA’s treasurer. Husband, Father, Helper, Fixer, Programmer, and Data Manager, Paul was born and raised in New York, raised his family in Northwest Arkansas and Houston, Texas, and lived various other places. Paul moved to Bethel Park after marrying Joanne Riley and, there, is enjoying retirement and working in a backyard forest among the wonderful trees. Paul also enjoys fixing things and creating IT solutions for friends and family. Prior to retirement, Paul worked as a data manager at the University of Pittsburgh. His interest in personal growth and spirituality began at a young age. With other wonderful members of our spiritual community, Paul helped create an organization called Site Nite, and is an active member in Unity Center of Pittsburgh. Paul is passionate about encouraging people to consider if they are still being served by long-held beliefs, or if the beliefs are automatic reactions to life.
OMA’s Art in the Garden celebrates and supports a community of individuals with varied experiences and expression, including socioeconomic status, race, national origin, religious background, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and ability.