TRICIA DEGRAFF – Executive Director



Welcome to AFIA. At AFIA, students engage in authentic learning activities and project work to help develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. Arts are integrated throughout the curriculum to engage students in meaningful learning. At AFIA, the arts are utilized as a vehicle for deeper learning. Daily, students learn through viewing, discussing and experiencing art. Students also engage as artists to process learning, which allows for deeper understanding of content and concepts and increases student self-confidence. Please don’t hesitate to contact me to learn more and visit the school.

Why am I here?

I am here because children are brilliant and I want to be a part of a school where that brilliance is celebrated and nourished. I want to work in a school where children enjoy learning and are always growing. I am here, because I want students to be able to ask questions, and seek answers to their questions. I want children to be able to make choices about their learning, while also learning important skills that will enable them to reach their goals. I am here, because I believe the students at AFIA have important stories and viewpoints and their voices should be heard. I am here, because I believe teachers have so much to offer their students and I want them to feel empowered and supported in being the best they can be. I am here because I believe schools should support literacy and learning for transformative purposes and not for proficiency only. Through integrated curriculum, projects and art, students and teachers can showcase their gifts and inspire others. I am here, because I believe schools should be welcoming to families and that families should be viewed as integral part of their kids’ learning. I am here because I want to be a part of a vibrant, caring, dedicated, talented community – and this is what we have at AFIA.



♦ I.Ph.D., May 2015. School of Education, University of Missouri – Kansas City

♦ Coordinating Discipline: Educational Leadership, Policy and Foundations

♦ Co-Coordinating Discipline: Curriculum and Instructional Leadership

♦ M.S., May 2003. Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Wisconsin – Madison Major emphasis: Multicultural Education and Literacy

♦ B.A., May 1997. Washington University in St. Louis.


♦ Over 15 years of experience in education, including:

♦ 6 years of experience as a teacher educator at the University of Missouri – Kansas City

♦ 8 years of experience as an elementary school teacher in Houston Independent School District, Chicago Public Schools and Kansas City schools