Ms. Kira’s Experience


Write This Second: Exploring Our Roots, Oakland, CA Aug-Dec 2015

Magnolia Women’s Recovery Program, Oakland & Hayward, CA, Sept-Nov 2013

Juvenile Hall, Pittsburg, CA, Jun-Jul, 2007

Health Professions Partnership Initiative (HPPI), Oakland, CA, Jul-Aug 2006

Henry J. Kaiser K-8 Art Magnet School, Oakland, CA, Mar – Apr 2000-2002

The Alameda County Office of Education & the McKinley Act Grant, Hayward, Berkeley, Fremont, CA, Jul -Aug 2000

  • Created curriculum for and carried out six-week poetry as self-empowerment projects
  • Worked with students on developing public speaking skills
  • Gave written feedback and kept 1-on-1 appointments with to improve confidence
  • Arranged and hosted culminating readings; created self-published anthologies of students work

VisionBoards for the New Year, Private Home Oakland, CA; Jan 2002-Present

Mother & Daughter Body Tracing Workshops, Private Home Oakland, CA; May 2006-Present

Poetry & VisionBoards, 3 generations each/4 families, Private-Home Oakland, CA; Aug 2005

  • Lead participants in setting intentions, selecting and placing images from calendars, magazines and art supplies to illuminate goals/patterns and empower conscious choices thru visualization

Host of the Write This Second Poetry Series at LaPeña Cultural Center in Berkeley, a second Wednesday’s of the month with featured readers and open mic, Jun 2001-Mar 2008

California State University Monterey Bay, Monterey, CA, Apr 1999 -2001

  • Developed and implemented an intensive seminar on teaching poetry as self-empowerment in community for 40 students in the class, Creative Writing and Social Action; Furnished ground rules, guidelines, and curriculum for use with their own students

Mills College/ Mills Cares’ Alternative Spring Break, Oakland, CA, Mar 2001

  • Formulated an interactive presentation on teaching poetry as self-empowerment in community to act as a model for 22 students volunteering in Bay Area non-profits; Furnished ground rules, guidelines, and curriculum for use with their own students

Mills College and Chrysalis, Oakland, CA, Feb -Apr 2000

  • Conceived, facilitated, and raised funds for the Why Reclaim Our Lives: poetry workshops
  • Drafted press releases, flyers, programs and personal invitations, set up radio appearances
  • Arranged venues; hired musicians and caterers for public readings; led Body Tracings work

Student-Teacher-Poet (STP) with Poetry for the People (P4P), Sept 1998-Jun 1999

UC Berkeley/ Berkeley High/ SF Mission Cultural Center

  • Conducted in depth research and wrote curriculum for African American, Latino and Asian American poetry units
  • Wrote, published and publicly read my own poetry
  • Taught P4P’s ground rules/ guidelines for critiquing poetry; workshopped 10 UC Berkeley student’s poetry
  • Provided detailed written comments, office hours, prepared students for public readings
  • Taught poetry with equal vigor for six weeks with 35 students at Berkeley High and 45 adults at San Francisco’s Mission Cultural Center


“Write This Second”, Clear Hearts Roar ~ Sing ~ Shine, editor Kira Allen, Nov 2013

“Papillion Mariposa Butterfly”, What I Need Right Now, ed. Gary Chandler, Summer 2001

“If I Name My Truth Who Will Hear Me”, “The Compass”, “I Pray You”

Full Circle, ed. John Fox, Spring 2001

Ravens Speak /Butterflies Flutter /and the Dance Lingers On, Spring 2000

My second chapbook containing 25 pages of original poetry

“Spark”, “This is Who I am” On the Wings of Words, Spring 2000

“For the One Who Defined Me” The Walrus, 2000: The Mills College Literary Review

“What is a Home Language Poem to a Girl Who’s Never Belonged Anywhere”

Listen Up: Oakland Poets Speak Out Chapbook, April 1999

“My Ruth Forman Poem”, “Martín Espada”

The Walrus, 1999: The Mills College Literary Review

“The ABC’s of War” We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For:

Poetry for the People Spring 1999 Anthology

“Disregarded”, “My Ruth Forman Poem” Survival Take a Verse:

A Collection of Revolutionary Student Poetry Fall 1998

Touching Stones, Fall 1998

My first chapbook containing 36 pages of all original poetry and prose

“Martín Espada” Mahfouz: Our Right to Our Words:

Poetry for the People Spring 1998 Anthology

“How I Define How I Put Myself on the Line”, “Sister of My Soul”

Wrong Is Not My Name, Edited by June Jordan, 1996

“The Secret Shadow” Sing Your Own Song, Edited by Janice Mirikitani, 1995


Master’s Degree in Transformative Arts; John F. Kennedy University, Berkeley, CA; Sept 2002

Bachelor’s Degree in English/Creative Writing; Mills College, Oakland, CA; May 2000


Roussel Sargeant Peer Teaching Award from Mills College, Apr 2000

Mary Atkins Poet of the Year, Apr 2000

Breaking the Cycles Award from Glide Memorial Church, Dec 1999

Mary Atkins Woman of the Year, Apr 1999


  • Clear Hearts Roar, Sing, Shine, Anthology of women in recovery, Intro, editing & design Nov 2013
  • And Sometimes, Even with the Words I Get Lonely, Anthology of adolescents in Juvenile Hall, Intro, editing & design,; Aug 2007
  • Henry J. Kaiser Sixth Grade Anthology, Intro, editing & design; May 2000, 2001, 2002
  • Nothing Can Dim the Light which Shines from Within, an anthology of at risk youth, Intro, editing & design; Aug 2006
  • Tender Voices, anthology of children in homeless shelters, Intro editing & design; Aug 2000
  • On the Wings of Words, Introduction, editing and design; Apr 2000


Workshop Participant Director, May-Jul 2000-Present

Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation ~ VONA, Berkeley, CA

  • Anticipate needs of and provide resources for 14 faculty, 2 staff and 140 writers
  • Organize and arrange for special events and fundraisers; Cultivate communication database
  • Live in the dorms at UC Berkeley with the writers coming in from out of town for one week a year

Samuel Merritt University ~ SMU, Oakland, San Francisco, San Mateo, Sacramento, CA

   Associate Director of Diversity, May 2011- Aug 2013

  • Collaborated with Chief Diversity Officer and key stakeholders to institutionalize inclusive policies
  • Scrutinized recruitment, retention and grievance policies for growth potential
  • Increased institutional aid and built highly-effective internal and external community partnerships
  • Linked social, emotional, academic and financial support to increase minority student completion

   Student Services Coordinator, Nov 2005-May 2011

  • Conducted 9 online/ in person orientations, Career Fair and various other student programming
  • Devised and supplied writing and resume support for 500+ students annually
  • Linked social, emotional, academic and financial support to increase minority student completion
  • Sounding board, problem solver, emotional translator and guidepost at all times
  • Nominated/ chosen to represent SMU in the Leadership Oakland Program, Class of 2011
  • Key contributor to 8 on campus leadership committees including 5 years Staff Council Co-President

Outreach Consultant, Jan 2003-Jun 2004

Lafayette Elementary School, West Oakland, CA

  • Strategized with essential stakeholders to significantly decrease suspension rates
  • Identified over 100 “at risk” students and put services in place to help them succeed
  • Wrote, submitted and received a grant worth 50k a year to fund the position


Drop Out Prevention Certificate; Cal State East Bay, Hayward, CA; Dec 2003

Grant Seeking Basics; the Foundation Center San Francisco, CA; May 2001



Oct 15: One of six featured readers on the VONA Voices LitCrawl Stage in San Francisco


Apr 24: One of several featured readers as part of the “Listen Up” reading at Mills College


Jun 12: The featured reader at La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley

Feb 4: The featured reader as part of Marin Academy’s Literary Festival


Mar 14: Reading celebrating Women’s History Month at La Peña Cultural Center

Mar 4: Reading to culminate the Poetic Medicine class at JFKU


Jun 14: La Peña’s 25th Anniversary Celebration: The Power of the Word

The best of the featured readers over time were invited

Apr 19: The Mills College Literary Review: The Walrus Publication party and reading

Apr 14: The “On the Wings of Words” poetry reading in the Mills College student union

Apr 12: The “On the Wings of Words” poetry reading at La Peña Cultural Center


Sep 23: One of seven featured poets reading alongside Adrienne Rich for

the California State University, Monterey Bay Writers Series

May 11: Reading for Mills College class, Social Action and the Academic Essay

Apr 28: Poetry for the People’s “We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For”

Feb 10: The featured poet at La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley

Feb 20: Reading in celebration of June Jordan’s life and book Affirmative Acts


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