Amanda N. Simons (she/they) is a visual artist, writer, educator, and safety advocate, and has been teaching folks ages 5 to 75 for over 15 years. Amanda specializes in making technical and conceptual education more accessible for queer kids, folks with learning challenges, English Language Learners, and humans pursuing skills in technical (and typically exclusive) fields like woodworking, metal fabrication and casting, and digital tools. Through the pursuit of teaching technical skills clearly and inclusively to folks who may not otherwise access them, Amanda has also developed and taught diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies for design builds and tool education to professional educators both nationally and internationally.
Currently, Amanda is helping SkillSet expand to offer programming to both younger and older learners through age 18+ workshops (including those for beginning tool users), as well as summer camp for elementary-age builders.
Amanda holds dual degrees in English (BA) and painting (BFA) from the University of Michigan Flint, as well as dual advanced degrees in interdisciplinary studio art (MFA) and visual and critical studies (MA) from California College of the Arts. Amanda has taught at San Francisco State University, San Francisco Art Institute, California College of the Arts, Girls Garage, Tinkering School (San Francisco and San Rafael), Brightworks School, Mott Community College, and University of Michigan Flint, and currently teaches 3D design and art appreciation courses at Asheville-Buncombe Technical College.
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