Dani O’Brien is an educator, activist and former English teacher currently working on her Ph.D. in Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies at UMass Amherst. Her activism and research seek to understand and push back against policies and practices that undermine the promise of public education and stand in the way of social justice. She hopes that through her activism and work she can join with others to reimagine what education, schooling, and community could be.
For the past several years, Dani has worked with the Pa’lante Restorative Justice Program at Holyoke High School, where she has co-facilitated multiple youth leadership programs, using participatory action research and other popular education methods to support students of color in in understanding and challenging educational injustices.
In addition to this work, she has served as a co-director for the Western Massachusetts Writing Project, developed social justice curricula and led professional development workshops for teachers in the Holyoke Public Schools and the Department of Youth Services and has developed and facilitated trainings on teaching for anti-racism and social justice. She also has a passion for comedy and can occasionally be found doing stand-up at local clubs.