Welcome from your Assistant Instructors! We have an excellent team this year, and we are looking forward to supporting your learning here at The Seattle School.

The role of Assistant Instructor (AI) at The Seattle School is somewhat different than what you may have encountered with Teaching Assistants (TAs) in other academic contexts in that they are graduates of The Seattle School and practitioners in their chosen fields. Assistant Instructors work with faculty to ensure that you get the most out of your learning experience. They provide feedback on papers, are available to meet for office hours, and occasionally teach or facilitate classroom interaction. Moreover, we ask AIs to bring to their work with you their experience as former students and as practitioners in their current vocational contexts. AIs are dedicated to your growth and development as students and are eager to walk alongside you in this journey.

Today we’d love to share the faces of those who will be present with you during the first trimester of your studies here. These three AIs are excited to introduce themselves and look forward to embarking with you!

The Seattle School 2018 Assistant Instructors


Brittany Deininger 

Brittany Deininger received her MA in Theology & Culture in 2017 from The Seattle School where she explored themes of memory, imagination, poetics, and the creative act as tools for transformation and healing. She received her BA in Creative Writing/Poetry from The College of Idaho and currently serves as summer faculty at The Grunewald Guild teaching writing as a spiritual practice. Brittany is passionate about midwifing writers’ voices and equipping students with the tools to externalize their insights and speak their truth. When she is not writing, you’ll find her at the local independent cinema or taking in the beauty of the Northwest.

Brittany will be your AI for “Faith, Hope, & Love,” joining faculty member Dan Allender and Allender Center Director of Organizational Development Rachael Clinton MDiv


dana-mitchell-assistant-instructorDana Mitchell

Hello! I can’t wait to meet you all, and walk alongside you as fellow life learners. It is so vulnerable to learn, isn’t it? I think that’s what we’re all invited to every day. Will we allow our curiosity to come along for the ride, and trust that there is goodness in the risk that new experience brings? Whew. So beautiful and so hard sometimes. You’re each doing a brave thing by choosing graduate education, and by moving toward the work of formation that I believe is at the heart of robust theology and hopeful psychology. I’ve been a student here in two iterations, (MATC ‘12/MACP ‘17) a journey that integrated theatre, theology, and psychology into my vocation. I served as an AI from 2012-2014, while also working in theatre education and production. Now I have a private practice in Ballard, where I love to help folx connect with their embodied experience to open up voice, practice grounded kindness, and play with creative agency. My path has always been outside the box and integrative. I hope you’ll give yourselves permission to follow your creativity and desire, too, wherever that leads. Learning is work, but it is also glorious play.

Dana will be your AI for “History & Therapeutic Perspectives” with faculty member Stephanie Neil’s section of this class.


alex-zarecki-assistant-instructorAlexander Zarecki

Call me Alex. From shores Atlantic, and with an MATC degree from 2016, I ask of you to please receive me as I join in the chorus of receiving you. Welcome!
A teacher once told me that poems are akin to constellations. With stars (words, ideas) too far apart, too disparate, the image is unintelligible. With stars too predictably close, the image is an unimaginative connect-the-dots. Life happens in the in-between, the present tense. Meaning-making amidst the constellations of your educational process, as with actual constellations, may at times call for the eye of someone who has been out on the deck staring at the night skies just a little longer. Beyond this, we keep looking up together. I look forward to what you, each new student, might bring to the School. Your uncertainties, your questions, your insights, your passions, your feelings of inadequacy, your grand aspirations – such are the necessary building blocks of a formative education.

Alex will be your AI for “Cultural Identity & Locatedness” joining theology faculty member Dwight Friesen and Senior Vice President of Academics Derek McNeil.