Ama became a poet when she was six years old and stunned her practical parents by studying creative writing as an undergraduate student. Her quest to be a poor poet was interrupted when she volunteered to teach a poetry workshop at the women’s ward of a local prison. She realized she loved the art of teaching poetry more than the art of writing poetry. This effectively ended her career as a poor poet and began her career as a poor public school teacher. She has enjoyed watching her students graduate and even go on to become the next generation of poets and teachers.
Prior to launching the Los Angeles chapter of Educators for Excellence in 2011, Ama taught in the prison and public school systems and saw the clear link between public education and social justice. She founded Rose from Concrete, a program serving court-involved youth in Boston. Her experiences with youth, public schools, prisons and poetry ignite her passion for justice, creativity and collective action.
For 15 years, Ama has worked to elevate public education. A graduate of Emerson College and Columbia University, she is an education blogger for Huffington Post and was named one of Education Week’s Next-Generation Education Leaders. When she isn’t fighting for children and justice, she is surrendering to her own rowdy daughters, Asha, Esme and Zola, and her spectacular wife Joan.