The Melanated Educators Collective wants to unify and empower educators of color in the Philadelphia and Greater Philadelphia communities.
Meet MEC Core Members
Tamara Anderson (she/her) is a multi-talented actor, singer, writer, and director. She has been featured in musicals and plays across the country and in multiple TV, film, and commercials like The Blacklist and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and more. She is an advocate for education, anti-racism trainer, editor, producer of virtual content, and a single-parent blogger. Look out for her new project, the Gumbo Lab, featuring a virtual platform for Black females, trans, and queer solo artists. More info here. Check out her page at www.tamara-anderson.com.
Clarice Brazas (she/her) holds an Ed. S. in Instructional Technology from the University of West Georgia. She is in her twelfth year of teaching and is always looking for ways to improve her craft. The first three years of her career were spent working with students who had emotional and behavioral needs, which early on gave her the desire to educate students in a holistic and engaging way. Currently, Clarice teaches African-American studies at Palumbo High School in the School District of Philadelphia.
Ismael Jimenez is a dedicated educator, who for the last twelve years has worked with students in Philadelphia from preschool age to high school. After working as a secondary social studies teacher at Germantown High School until it was closed, Ismael then was appointed to Kensington Creative and Performing Arts High School. Today, he works in the Curriculum and Instruction office at the School District of Philadelphia.
Rebeca Cintrón-Loáisiga (she/her/ella) is a Boricua living in the diaspora. She is an anti-colonial educator, decolonial cultural facilitator, and community organizer, working within the cultural industry in the Philadelphia region. Her work includes providing educational programming, facilitating discussions, and hosting community gatherings using a decolonial lens to amplify exploited and underrepresented communities.
Melissa Parke is a Brooklyn-based creative that is making waves in the arts-education world. Parke initially developed her concept for Black Teaching Artist Lab, LLC at the beginning of 2019, while working as a community manager at Brooklyn Creative League—a co-working space in Brooklyn, New York. Surrounded by successful entrepreneurs and immersed in the social changes that were underway in America, Parke was inspired to turn her big ideas into a tangible, new reality.
Keziah Ridgeway is a Philadelphia area educator, activist, wife, and mother. She’s also a published writer with articles appearing in Sister's Magazine and on Common Ground News. Keziah obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts with a major in History, particularly, of non-peripheral countries from Temple University. After Temple, she completed a Master's of Education with a focus on secondary education from Saint Joseph's University while being a wife and mother to four children.
Jihan Thomas (she/her) is a visual artist, artivist, abolitionist, mother, and community and museum art educator from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She has been an educator and teaching artist for over 15 years where she uses her creativity to advocate for education justice and youth advocacy. She is passionate about BIPOC educators in and beyond the traditional classroom and the power of arts integration into various subjects. She is also an educator with the Abolitionist Teaching Network and is the representative of the Museum Education Division Director for Philadelphia with the Pennsylvania Art Education Association.
Karen Williams (she/hers) is a Literacy Coach for the School District of Philadelphia. She works at Luis Munoz-Marin Elementary where she serves as the school equity leader on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Team. Karen earned a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood & Elementary Education from Arcadia University in 2001, and an M.Ed in Educational Leadership from Scranton University in 2012. Highlights from her career include induction into the Teacher Advancement Program and recognition as a Master Teacher, through the Teacher Advancement Program in 2008, and spotlighted by the SDP for effective practices in the 2016 Exemplary Teaching Library. Karen is highly passionate about history and currently serves as the President of the ASALH PhilaMontco Branch.