Every year, MOHAI recognizes and honors an educator who personifies excellence in education, in the classroom, in after-school programs, in community spaces, or in cultural organizations, who is making a positive impact on students or youth up to grade 12.
My journey with performing arts began when I stepped into my first dance class at 3-years old. Throughout my childhood, I found the theatre to be a safe place where I had a voice and a place to express myself. As I grew older, it became my mission to give others that same experience.
My career began 18 years ago, teaching theatre and dance across Western Washington. I’ve worked with a wide range of bright and talented students from school age to professional, which eventually inspired me to pursue my Masters in Teaching so I could bring my passions to the public school system. For the last 8 years, I’ve taught at Wedgwood Elementary, where my multi-arts program and after-school theatre and choir initiatives became places of growth and self-discovery for those who participated. My classroom is a space for learning and art, but more importantly a space that is safe for all students to be themselves, make mistakes, laugh, and use their voice.
Most recently, I’ve begun the process of founding my own performing arts school called Off Book Productions, and I’m so excited to continue to infuse joy, creativity, and a sense of purpose into my community. I firmly believe that it’s not about whether a child pursues a career in the performing arts; it’s about giving them the opportunity to learn more about themselves—about reminding them that they matter and have a community that’s there for them.
Al Young is synonymous with making a positive impact on students in the community. To celebrate his enduring legacy, MOHAI has renamed its Educator of the Year award in his honor to highlight those who embody Al’s spirit in the classroom, in after-school programs, in community spaces, or in cultural organizations.
MOHAI continues its yearly tradition of recognizing an educator who personifies excellence in education and meaningfully addresses challenges in their school or community.
2022 – Becky Laird, NOVA High School
2021 – Delbert Richardson, Unspoken Truths
2019 – Gerald Donaldson, Leschi Elementary School
2018 – Anna Howell, Meany Middle School
2017 – Clarence Acox, Garfield Jazz Program
2016 – Erin Chen, Seattle World School
2015 – Michael Oliviera, Interlake High School
2014 – James Ewing, Mount View Elementary
2013 – Lauren Blackburn, Cleveland High School
2012 – Patty Shelton, Bellevue School District
2011 – Liza Rickey, Newcastle Elementary School
2010 – Sara Williams, Margaret Lang, and Lisa Stroud, Westwood Elementary School
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