Staff & Teachers

Samantha Kelly (she/her)

Executive Director

I believe our community is stronger when every person, especially youth and historically disenfranchised populations, has access to the resources they need to succeed. As such, I have spent my career creating inclusive spaces and opportunities for people to connect, feel valued, and achieve their full potential through art. I am proud of the work we do at Youth in Focus to create a healthier, vibrant, and more just society! When I'm not in art education mode, I enjoy hiking and hanging out with my husband and teen daughter - oh, and donuts, I LOVE donuts!

Shida Bonakdar (they/them)

Community Engagement Manager

I'm super stoked to be part of the Youth in Focus team! I am passionate about my community, equitable access to resources, disrupting oppressive systems, and centering youth's voices. I hope to be an inviting bridge between Youth in Focus and the communities we serve. Outside of work, I love pottery, hosting dinner parties for my friends, hang out with my cats, and reading!

Photograph by Youth in Focus student, Mirabelle C.

Tara Fisher (she/they)

Education Manager

The youth are the truth! I am beyond excited to continue working in arts education with young folx at Youth in Focus. It is my firm belief that when young people have access to arts, technology, and mentorship they will flourish and one of my goals in life is to be a conduit to that access and support. In my downtime I love catching live music shows, DJing at various venues around town, cooking dinner with friends, and hanging with my cat Buddy.

Bryn mooney (she/her)

Teaching Artist

bryn is a passionate arts educator who has been working in community for 15+ years. She has taught/mentored internationally and locally with orgs like Coyote Central, Powerful Voices, and Kirkland Arts Center, but her journey began at Youth in Focus as a classroom mentor ages ago. She couldn’t be more excited to be back!

bryn see’s photography as a profound tool for community building. Through images we share stories, communicating in another language, one that can be more accessible than words. Her goal is to help foster the space to explore vulnerability and creativity while providing new tools for youth to amplify their own voice.

bryn loves salty snacks, surprises, the magic of shadows in the evening light. Always in motion, you can catch her bike commuting, in the high mountains, or diving for a frisbee.

Cennady Coleman (they/them)

Teaching Artist

Photography is the perfect way to explore outside perspectives and let your creativity run wild! I'm primarily a film photographer with a background in Education and Social Justice. I know I've done my job if students walk away with a deeper understanding of themselves, their place in the community, and their place in the world.

Chloe Collyer (they/them)

Teaching Artist

Chloe Collyer is a nonbinary photographer, journalist, and photo educator whose work is deeply connected to the history of marginalized communities in the Pacific Northwest.

Chloe is a natural-born documentarian whose toolkit includes 15 years behind the camera, an AA in Commercial Photography, and seven years of experience working as a freelance photojournalist. For the past decade, Chloe has taught photography to all ages while freelancing for editorial clients like the New York Times, Bloomberg Business, City of Seattle, and more.

Dene Diaz (he/him)

Teaching Artist

Dene was born and raised in NY to parents from the Dominican Republic. Loves to share his love and discovery of mindfulness and stillness in photography with youth.

Ehsaan Taeb (he/him)

Teaching Artist

Ehsaan is a human who, first and foremost, loves to make real connections with all humans he has a chance to interact with. He is also a photographer, and a theatre maker, who is passionate about helping youth foster their own creativity and voice. He is especially invested in amplifying the voice of underserved and minority youth. Ehsaan believes that every small supportive influence has the potential to ripple outward and make a bigger impact in our society. His inclination towards outward expression helps him use art as a tool of inner exploration that he also strives to share in his teaching. After spending nearly 5 years traveling the world and photographing some of the most beautiful places and people, he is excited to bring his experiences to the Pacific NorthWest.

He is honored to be a member of Youth in Focus’s team, where he has the opportunity to encourage the youth to use their voice to keep changing the world one exposure at a time.

Ettie Wahl (she/they)

Teaching Artist

Ettie Wahl is an artist, filmmaker, photographer, educator, and artistic entrepreneur from the Pacific Northwest with a focus on women, non-binary, and LGBTQIA+ stories and experiences. She has been actively engaged in artistic curation, event organization, and underground arts activism for the better part of a decade in the greater Seattle area through her foundational work with Bioluminescent Films, Inner Sleeve Magazine, Off the Wall Artist Collective, & Bard Rock Studio. Ettie now also works as a videographer for the world renowned radio station KEXP’s live sessions.

She has spent the better part of the last decade cultivating and refining her work in the film industry with a focus on music and ethical film work and as an arts educator. Prioritizing women, non-binary, queer, and other marginalized creatives; challenging the oppressive systems that these industries are founded upon. She is excited to work with Youth In Focus to bring her love of the catharsis through photography to young creatives. We all have a story to tell, and my job is to create a safe place for you to develop your artistic voice through the lens of creativity and self expression, so you can tell your story, your way.

Isabel Dietz Hartmann (she/her)

Teaching Artist

Isabel is an art educator and photographer who has been working as a teaching artist for Youth in Focus since 2017. She graduated with a Bachelor in Fine Arts in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 2016 where she discovered her passion for teaching photography to youth. A Seattle native, Isabel moved back home in 2017 and since has worked as a K-8 art teacher at the Westside School and is now currently a middle school and high school Photography Teacher at University Prep in the Ravenna neighborhood of Seattle. In her free time, Isabel loves to cook, travel, study astrology, draw comics and work on her own personal photographic projects.

Jonathan Owens (he/him)

Teaching Artist

Jonathan Owens is a photographer originally from Las Vegas, NV. Today, he lives and works in Seattle where he operates WKND Photography, a studio specializing in portraiture of youth athletes.

He is also an experienced visual designer, having led high profile advertising campaigns for some of the most recognizable brands in the world. When not working, Jonathan is spending time with his wife and children exploring the PNW.

Lindsey Dalthorp (she/her)

Teaching Artist

Lindsey Dalthorp is a mixed-media artist and photographer based in Olympia, Washington. Her work focuses on themes of community, history, and connection. She is passionate about the potential of photography and art to act as a powerful tool for communication across borders of language, culture, geography, and time. In her free time, she likes to explore new places, escaping to the forest or beach whenever possible, and photographing wherever she goes.

Lindsey Miller (she/her)

Teaching Artist

Lindsey likes combining art, science, and philosophy. Her first photographic experience was for a 6th-grade science fair project; building a pinhole camera. This project sparked her curiosity about the impermanence of memories and paper. Lindsey went on to take darkroom classes in high school, learning the chemistry behind photography. Later, she received a Bachelor of Fine Art after studying digital engineering and Adobe software. Then Lindsey received her Master's, diving deep into the psychology of storytelling and branding. She works for Microsoft, marketing pioneering technologies, and dedicates her after-work hours to teaching others to explore art, science, and philosophy.

Meg Stacker King (she/her)

Teaching Artist

Meg Stacker is a commercial and editorial photographer, who expresses her artistic vision through the images she shoots all over the world. Since the gift of her first camera at age 13, inspired by her desire to continue her family legacy of writers, activists, and performers, she uses photographs to tell stories, evoke emotion, shares moments, and portray the truth. She began teaching photography to students in Kenya, utilizing disposable cameras, and fell in love with sharing the power of creativity to inspire and empower. Then she had the opportunity to return to Africa to launch Piga Picha Project, a photography learning experience with six young artists in Kenya, in partnership with One Vibe Africa. She traveled to Kisumu, Kenya armed with 6 digital canon cameras to gift the new students and teach them photography skills. The focus was to explore perspective, cultural heritage, community, and storytelling.

To Be Determined

Teaching Artist

Support our Students work

All student work is available for purchase! Contact us to order.

Order Prints