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Big Time Feelings Panel


Bryan Manzo is a National Board Certified, professional school counselor and the founder, editor, and creative director of Why The Face and the Big Time Feelings Show. Over the last 17 years Manzo has been teaching, counseling, and supporting students from Pre-K to 12th grade. He believes that every student, in every building, has the right to learn about their social and emotional selves and that through researched and culturally responsive SEL programming many of the barriers to academic growth, personal/social development, and college and career readiness can be lifted. When he is not being the school counselor at Sand Point Elementary, he is either working on SEL programming, editing The Big Time Feelings Show, or playing guitar and saxophone with the post-punk band Jupe Jupe

Dr. Mia Williams has been the principal of Aki Kurose Middle School since 2008. Under Dr. Williams’ leadership, Aki Kurose has been recognized for fostering student growth and for closing opportunity and education gaps. Dr. Williams combines a data-driven approach with a strong sense of community and positive school culture to ensure academic and social-emotional success for her students. She has received several awards, including being named the 2016 Washington State Middle Level Principal of the Year by the Association of Washington School Principals, and the 2012-2013 Thomas B. Foster Award for Excellence from the Alliance for Education.

Prior to her time at Aki Kurose, Williams has served the public school system as a teacher and assistant principal at Salmon Bay and Denny International.

Caine Lowery is an assistant principal of math and science at Aki Kurose Middle school.  Mr. Lowery has spent the last 10 years working in the southeast Seattle community, serving students at Aki Kurose middle school and Cleveland High school respectively.  Mr. Lowery is motivated by his belief that education can, and should be used as a tool for liberation.  He loves the work he is doing to help address issues of structural and institutional racism through math and science education and SEL skill development in both teachers and students.  Outside of work Mr. Lowery spends time cooking, trying new restaurants  and traveling to new places with his wife Katherine.   


Mr. Stuart holds a BA in Theatre Education and an M.Ed in Literacy, both from Seattle Pacific University.  He is currently a Department Director at Seattle’s historic Roosevelt High School theatre program, where his students and colleagues produce ten play and musical productions each season.  Prior to Roosevelt, he ran the department at Aki Kurose Middle School in Seattle, where his student produced shows and went on many field trips to see theatre all over the region.  In 2015, Mr. Stuart was elected by the national membership of the Educational Theatre Association to serve on their governing board. He also serves on the board of Washington Thespians, where he coordinates the Washington Unified College Auditions, hosted at Roosevelt.  He teaches and directs professionally in the summer with the Seattle Children’s Theatre Drama School and other academic theatre organizations around the Pacific and Inland Northwest.

Alex O’Brien (@AlexOBrien) is an elementary physical education teacher in Seattle Public Schools as well a national presenter and consult for physical education. He has lead professional developments in more than 15 states impacting hundreds of teachers and 10’s of thousands of students. He has his Master’s in Education. His research focused on academic content integrated into physical movement, comparing how they can affect short & long term retention. Alex stepped away from the classroom for 3 years to become ‘Director of Film and Social Media’ and a ‘Lead Trainer’ for Focused Fitness. In these roles he traveled coast to coast leading health and fitness workshops as well as presenting at the state and national level. He believes in a well-rounded “whole child’” approach to education. When it comes to his content area, Alex believes that quality physical education programs will prepare students to exit the 12th grade with the knowledge to become their own nutritionist and personal trainer.  

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