Kaya Weidman, Executive Director
Kaya is a co-founder and Executive Director of Kite’s Nest, where she oversees day-to-day operations, including community engagement, organizational development and visioning, administration, fundraising, development and communications. As an educator at Kite’s Nest, Kaya has taught woodworking, the history of social movements, urban gardening, and journalism to children and teens. Kaya began living in Columbia County twelve years ago as a land steward and farmer, when she started a collectively-run CSA called Germantown Community Farm on land where she continues to live. After traveling throughout Mexico and the US teaching about radio production and transmission as a tool for organizing and empowerment, she co-founded the local community radio station, WGXC 90.7-FM, Hands-On Radio in 2008. She served as the station's Director of Community Engagement, and chaired the governing council. Growing up, Kaya was supported to make choices about her own educational path, and she’s passionate about supporting young people in having the power to make choices about where and how they learn. A lifelong self-directed learner, Kaya’s favorite moments involve opportunities to share, learn and build with others.
Zebi Williams, Education Director
At the age of eighteen, Zebi founded the Lil Ragamuffin Summer Camp in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica where she grew up. The camp grew to be recognized as one of the top arts programs in the country. Zebi has also worked as a community organizer in a range of contexts, advocating for young people to be agents of change in the development of their communities. She is a founding member of the Sista-2-Sista Youth Summit, an annual event built to empower and connect young women of Pan-African descent in Brooklyn, Jamaica, and Ghana. And she has worked with public housing residents and small businesses in the Lower East Side to organize against gentrification. Zebi’s education methodology emphasizes teaching to different learning styles, creating platforms for both indigenous and western based knowledge systems, celebrating teachable moments, redesigning community approaches to conflict resolution, and promoting community rituals to help ground children in local stewardship at every age. A lifelong learner, Zebi’s skills and interests are truly wide-ranging. She has a degree in Applied Anthropology, holds a certificate in UX Design and Design Thinking Methodologies, and recently won her first hackathon. Coming from a family of artists,Zebi’s own art includes poetry, fashion/jewelry design, filmmaking, graphic design and interactive data art. Zebi is also the mother of a teenage daughter, Zia!
Sara Kendall, Assistant Director
Sara Kendall is interested in how our communities can be our classrooms, and supporting young people to make their own media and to shape their neighborhoods. Sara helped to start Kite’s Nest, and worked as a Co-Director of the organization until 2017, while teaching workshops about cardboard urban planning, radio journalism, and the geographies of stuff. In addition to her work with Kite’s Nest, she is currently pursuing an M.A. in geography and oral history at Concordia University, and works with Hudson’s Staley B. Keith Social Justice Center. Sara was the founding station manager of WGXC: Hands-on Radio, a community radio station and participatory media project serving Columbia and Greene Counties. In 2012, she helped to launch the Oral History Summer School 2012 in Hudson, designed to train an international group of writers, media-makers, social workers and teachers to make use of oral history. In 2011, Sara was recognized by the Open Space Institute as a "Young Leader of the Hudson Valley".
Sharece Johnson, After School Coordinator
Born in Queens, NY, Sharece moved to Hudson when she was eight years old. Sharece has a B.A. in Communications from the University at Albany, an Associate’s Degree in Arts from Columbia Greene Community College, and is a graduate of Hudson High School. Sharece has worked as a lead Educator for the Social Justice Leadership Academy 2016 and 2017 at Kite's Nest, and this summer served as the Chief of Staff for youth staff. Prior to joining Kite’s Nest, Sharece has had significant experience working with children and teenagers. She has worked as a Child Mentor for Americorps with the Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood in Hudson, a Youth Mentor with the Liberty Partnership Program in Albany, a Program Assistant at the Boy’s & Girls Club in Albany, a Counselor of the Catskill Kids Club in Catskill, and with the Hudson After School Program. In these programs she’s led classes in improvisation, facilitated girl circles, run glee clubs, led community games, and more. Sharece is a passionate educator, musician, singer, and community volunteer. With appreciation for the counselors and mentors in her own life, Sharece is dedicated to being a source of strength to the young people growing up in her community.