Akane Ogren 

As a member of the early childhood community, Akane Ogren has worn many different hats. She has been a marine educator at an oceanarium, a Head Start preschool teacher, a high school teacher, and an instructor with the University of Colorado, Naropa University, and Front Range Community College. As the Board Chair and Executive Director of the Colorado Association for the Education of Young Children, she spent many hours advocating at the state and federal levels for young children, families, and teachers. Akane’s goal, from young children to adult learners, is to keep the inherent desire to learn alive, cultivate meaningful relationships and connections, and encourage greater engagement in our communities and the natural world. Maintaining curiosity, making new connections, and elevating the voices of young children is what she lives for.

When Akane began her journey into teaching, her motivation was the financial implications of being a single parent after a divorce. Very simply, she needed a job to support her children. However, Akane also knew that she wanted to choose a career that felt important, not merely a job for the sake of making money. Akane chose teaching because of her love for children, the value she places on education, and her growing bravery in speaking out loud about issues that were important to her. As a parent, an educator, and a scholar, speaking out loud is even more important to her now.

William Ayers says that “Teaching is instructing, advising, counseling, organizing, assessing, guiding, goading, showing, managing, modeling, coaching, disciplining, prodding, preaching, persuading, proselytizing, listening, interacting, nursing, and inspiring.” Akane adds to this list that teaching is also observing, reflecting, questioning, documenting, integrating, growing, evolving, compassion, interdependence, activism, advocacy, pain, hope, and love. Akane began her journey into education rather pragmatically, but she remains in the field with joy, hope, and strength, in solidarity with all beings in the world