The Team

The strength of the Children’s Media Workshop effort can be summarized as a team of dedicated experts in the field that understands the need for critical thinking, media literacy, and digital empowerment.

John Schaefer is founder and has been working on large scale educational change for 30 years. His work has always been characterized by real classroom experience that he then translates into systemic programming. In the 1990s he used the latest visual technology, instant photography, a science-based tool, to create the largest teacher training network in US history with over 800,000 members.

Alex Johnstone is the Technology Director who has an impressive new media career in app building that has led to a position as an adjunct professor at the University of Utah. His interactive media talents include developing and building of the scientific exhibits at the new Utah Science Center, The Leonardo. His honors include having a high tech movie accepted into the prestigious Sundance Film Festival. He will be a key player in developing the CMW as a transformative science learning experience that is accessible to non-science educators.

Dr. Elizabeth O’Brien is the CMW STEM Education specialist. She is a full-time scientist with a long standing relationship with educational programming and has worked closely on projects with John Schaefer and the CMW team for 15 years. She brings the scientific rigor and learning methodology that has characterized her career to the development of CMW programming.

Dr. Cherie Byars is a biology professor at Salt Lake Community College with an expertise in testing educational outcomes—an important aspect of CMW growth—rigorous assessment.

Mitchell Wade is a community builder who brings exceptional organizational acumen in connecting key people and resources. In a decade at RAND, the nation’s premier think tank, his innovative approach was used in policy research, high-stakes communications, and the organization’s own successful strategic change.  He has consulted with key leaders in such disparate settings as Charles Schwab, the US military, Accenture, and The Soros Foundation.

Brisa Ayub has a Masters in Psychology and is an expert in curriculum design with new media. She spends significant time in classrooms alongside John Schaefer studying the effects of authentic learning models with a wide range of learning styles. She also works with Commonsense Media in San Francisco on designing digital citizenship curriculum.

Tim Gangwer is the CMW Professional Development director and an expert in the field of visual learning. He has worked closely with John Schaefer since 1986 and was instrumental in creating the Visual Learning Network. He conducts Professional Development workshop and trainings throughout the US, Africa, and Europe.

Dr. Deborah Burney-Sigman has a PhD. In biology from MIT and has created large-scale educational outreach projects as director of Breathe Utah. She worked with John Schaefer to create the first mandatory Drivers ED curriculum on the environmental impacts of driving.