Teacher of the Year: Oluyinka A. Akinjiola
Oluyinka A. Akinjiola is the Artistic Director of Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theater and a Portland Public School teacher. Oluyinka founded Rejoice! in 2014 with the support of New Expressive Works (Subashini Ganesan) and Performance Works NW (Linda Austin) in Portland Oregon. Oluyinka is a recipient of the 2017 Oregon Arts Commission Artist Fellowship, Monserrat Award for Dance Research, multiple Regional Arts and Culture Council Project grants, Multnomah County Cultural Coalition and Oregon Community Foundation grants. Oluyinka received a MFA in Dance Choreography and Performance, and was Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance at Reed College and SUNY The College at Brockport. Her artistry and pedagogy creates a unique blend between dances of Africa, the African Diaspora, Modern dance and social justice issues. She was a three year guest artist for the Sankofa African Drum & Dance Ensemble; her work was featured in the International Association of Blacks in Dance conference (Washington D.C. and Los Angeles), Carnaval 2014 (Salvador, BA, Brazil), TEDxMtHood, and Newmark Theater among others. After being a teaching artist with the Right Brain Initiative and Young Audiences, Oluyinka joined Portland Public Schools in 2015 and is now a current dance teacher at both Harriet Tubman Middle School and Faubion K-8. Most recently Oluyinka was an alumni and scholarship recipient of the Urban Bush Women's Summer Leadership Institute (NYC).