Abolitionist Early Educator & Founder of Woke Kindergarten
Akiea “Ki” Gross (they/them) is an abolitionist early educator & coach, consultant and creative entrepreneur currently innovating ways to unlearn, heal and liberate with their pedagogy, Woke Kindergarten. Their 12+ year teaching career spans infancy to sixth grade, and they spent their last years in the system as an Instructional Coach and Kindergarten Teacher in Harlem. It was their experiences with the carceral state of schooling and the trauma enacted upon Black children in these systems, that galvanized them to create #BlackTeachersMatter, Black Teachers Mentor and Equitable Schools years ago. As their ideologies and experiences with abolition evolved, they dissolved Equitable Schools and created @WhyAbolition. Their commitment to creating safe, inclusive and liberatory spaces for BIPOC queer & trans artists, led them to create Sisters Unsigned, an intimate concert series that amplifies the voices of independent queer, trans, gender and genre expansive BIPOC artists and creators. Along with their partner Sonic and creative team, Womxyn Amplify, they’ve directed, curated and hosted many other creative pursuits including Sisters Unsigned presents: Women in Hip Hop, Archway Pride, and SEASONS: A Voyage Through Sound, their team’s 2020 artist residency at National Sawdust. Currently, they serve as Coaching Manager for 4.0 Schools, an early stage investor and incubator for education entrepreneurs, and are working on the release of of two big projects coming this Fall: Woke Kindergarten’s curricular zine and their partner Sonic’s EP.
They hold an M.A. in Developmental Psychology from Teachers College, an M.S. in Childhood Education/Special Education from the Progressive Education Institute/Touro College and two B.A.’s in Child Development and Family Studies and Psychology, respectively.