Strategic Communications Director

Ariana Kiener

Ari works to spark a new dialogue about education policy in Minnesota, overseeing EdAllies’ publications, blog, media relations, social media, email marketing, and more. She brings to this role diverse experiences in education, advocacy, and communications. After a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Northeastern Thailand confirmed her passion for education, she got the policy bug by working as a field organizer on a 2012 congressional race. A writer and storyteller since childhood, Ari ultimately found her home in education advocacy communications, working for MinnCAN and the PIE Network before joining EdAllies. In her free time, Ari volunteers for various progressive causes and hones her policy skills as a law student on nights and weekends. She graduated from Carleton College with a bachelor's degree in American Studies and minors in Education and African American Studies.

What do you hope to see change in education during your lifetime?

When I was in second grade, my teacher decided to move me into the advanced math section. After that, I became confident in school, and was placed exclusively in advanced and Honors classes. With a seemingly simple decision when I was just seven, I believe my teacher largely set me on autopilot toward a good college and career. I’m thankful for that, but also troubled by what it says about the system as a whole. Would my outcome have been the same if that one teacher had not seen my potential and put me on that path? In my lifetime, I’d like to see our schools set high expectations for every child and deliver targeted support so that no student is on autopilot, whether toward graduating or dropping out.

What part of your job gets you out of bed in the morning?

Without a doubt, the best part of my job is working with students, parents, and educators as they share their perspectives to change the conversation and advocate for policy change. Helping advocates elevate their stories and ideas, whether through blog posts or legislative testimony, is motivating to me for two reasons: I get to meet and partner closely with passionate and inspiring educators, families, and students, and I get to do my part in bringing new perspectives to the table, which I believe is absolutely critical to changing the status quo.