You will find no better candidate in terms of intellect, leadership, and dependability than Kaara Kallen. In the relatively short period of time I worked with her Kaara showed an unwavering passion and dedication to social issues and inequalities in education and how they affect various communities.
She has a wealth of personal initiative and spent the individual time necessary to learn and digest a large amount of material as she inherited a program in Chicago that was only three years old. Equally impressive was Kaara’s ability to integrate this material into well-organized and strategic workplans which is a strong aspect of her work ethic. Kaara takes pride in her work and this is revealed in the relationships she creates and the work she produces.
Overall, I believe Kaara is one of the most self-directed and grounded educators I have had the good fortune to work with and support. Kaara asks the hard questions because she cares about what can and needs to be done to create the change young people in Chicago, and the US, say they want. She is astute and embraces a positive youth development philosophy, and puts those qualities into practice when engaging and working with youth.
[On content work]
Kaara’s editing support and critical eye for detail and clarity made the curriculum incredibly strong. Throughout the editing process Kaara asked important questions about the goal and objectives for each lesson plan, provided examples and feedback on making definitions for challenging and new topics accessible at an 8th grade reading level, and helped with the overall grammatical edits of the curriculum. Kaara was an invaluable component of completing the curriculum we have today…Our other 24 films do not have this level of depth and inclusion for educators. Having Kaara as a member of our Education Department meant having a wider reach, stronger content, and useful tools for educators through our curricula and films.
[On outreach work]
The Chicago Manager position relies heavily on personal initiative and outreach to administrators, educators, and organizations. Kaara excels at making each personal encounter and connection authentic and meaningful. She uses her background in education and the arts to facilitate important conversations about social and emotional learning, media literacy, media justice, and a variety of social justice issues Chicago students encounter with a keen eye on the intersections of race, gender, class, and power.