Meet the 2021-2022 KQED Media Literacy InnovatorsMeet the 2021-2022 KQED Media Literacy Innovators

Meet this year’s KQED Media Literacy Innovators cohort! These educators successfully integrate critical thinking about media and media-making skills into their classrooms, or to the teachers they coach or lead. They are leaders from across the country who collaborate with KQED to create and share the best professional development and classroom resources on media literacy. Follow them throughout the year via #KQEDInnovators on Twitter.

Jim Bentley
Math, ELA, Science, History, Computer Tech
Foulks Ranch Elementary School
Elk Grove, CA
Jim Bentley teaches 5th and 6th grade in Elk Grove, California. He integrates research, reading, and writing with filmmaking, civic action and environmental literacy in a project based learning classroom. Bentley is a National Faculty Member for PBLWorks and a National Geographic Society Fellow and Explorer. As National Faculty, he leads professional development on implementation and refinement of Gold Standard Project Based Learning. As a Fellow, he's reviewed and refined National Geographic's Geo-Inquiry Process materials, trained teachers at national institutes, and worked on developing an online Geo-Inquiry course. As an Explorer, Bentley and students are researching and mapping how plastic moves from suburb to sea. Bentley graduated Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a B.S. in social sciences and cross-cultural studies emphasis.

Headshot of Gary Samuel Bogle

Gary Samuel Bogle
Social Studies - Special Education
IS 281 Joseph B Cavallaro
Brooklyn, NY
Gary Samuel Bogle teaches Social Studies Special Education to middle schoolers. He has a masters in education, more specifically disabilities studies from Long Island University (Brooklyn campus). He enjoys learning about media literacy, especially how to analyze and evaluate media. He teaches his students how to use their skills and talents to change the world. In his spare time, he practices Taekwondo. He is currently a Brown Belt, and is two tests away from taking his Black Belt test. In addition to honing his mind and body, he also cultivates his spirit. He volunteers his time organizing and teaching breathwork, meditation and wellness courses for the Art of Living. Lastly, Gary became a teacher because he envisions an education system that prioritizes students’ social emotional wellbeing. Therefore, he strives to write education policy for our nation.

Merek Chang
William Workman High School
City of Industry, CA

Merek Chang is a chemistry and engineering teacher who currently teaches at Workman High School in Industry, California. He received his B.S from UC Davis in Food Science and Technology and worked full time in the food industry prior to entering education. It is his desire to incorporate technology into his lesson plans whenever applicable and, if possible, through the lens of food or in partnership with stakeholders in the local community.

Kara Clayton
Digital/Visual Arts
Thurston High School
Redford, MI
Kara Clayton is a high school video production educator as well as an instructional technology coach in the South Redford School District. She also serves as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Rhode Island. An award-winning educator, she teaches students to use video as a tool for effective communication and empowerment. Kara presents regularly at state and national media and digital literacy conferences, is a graduate of the inaugural class receiving the University of Rhode Island Graduate Certificate in digital literacy (2014), and holds a masters degree in adult education with a specialty in digital literacy from the University of Rhode Island (2016). She launched Kara Clayton Digital in 2018.

Headshot of Giavanni Coleman

Giavanni Coleman
STEM and Digital/Visual Arts
East Avenue Elementary
Hayward, CA
Giavanni Coleman is a 5th and 6th grade STEAM teacher at East Avenue Elementary School in Hayward, California. This past school year, she spent time working with the Geo-Inquiry Process and Storytelling through National Geographic. She has been a member of the California Teachers Association Instructional Leadership Corps for seven years with a focus on equity and access in mathematics. Previously, she was an instructional math coach for ten years, developing math curriculum and assessments. As a health educator, she is commited to bringing health education curriculum into every elementary classroom.

Rachel Collay
Westwood High School
Mesa, AZ
Rachel Collay thrives on sharing her passion for literature, music, art, and sustainability with her students. Teaching with technology allows her to help students master the content standards while learning meaningful ways to present their work to a larger audience. Building off the obvious appeal of media to young people, she works to find the intersection of ELA standards and modern literacy modes so that reading and writing skills are authentic and relatable. She has a passion for the power of protest songs and for the last ten years she has taught students to analyze protest music and write songs of their own based on the headlines. Currently, she is the co-chair of the English department, AP Literature and senior English teacher, and sponsor of Westwood High School’s Earth Club and Word! Poetry Slam. She lives in Mesa, Arizona with her husband, two sons, two “daughters-in-law” and two hound dogs and spends most of her spare time writing, sewing, listening to music, and camping with her squad

Teresa Diaz holding a clapperboard

Teresa Diaz
Library Media Specialist
Tex Hill Middle School
San Antonio, TX
Teresa is currently the teacher-librarian/media specialist at the Learning Commons at “Tex” Hill Middle School in San Antonio, where she also facilitates the student-driven Media Moguls multimedia production club. Teresa (MAT, MLIS) has over 20 years experience as a teacher and library media specialist in both public and private middle and high schools in Texas and New York. Teresa is a Google Certified Innovator; a Wakelet Community Leader; an Adobe Campus Leader; a 2011 Follett Challenge winner; and a two-time campus nominee for Trinity University’s Prize for Excellence in Education. She has written guest blog posts for Education Week’s Classroom Q & A with Larry Ferlazzo, Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day, and 52 Weeks of Guided Inquiry. Teresa has also led professional development webinars for TXLA, presented at TCEA, TXLA, AASL, ISTE, the ESC-Region 20 Roundup, the Texas Google Summit, and the New Leaf in Learning Conference. Her professional passions include digital and media literacy integration, inquiry-driven and PBL-style learning, culturally-responsive librarianship, brain-based learning, and multimedia production. On the side she rescues/fosters dogs and travels whenever she can get away (not from her dogs, but sometimes).

Ricardo Elizalde
ELA, History/Social Studies, Health/Physical Education
San Francisco Unified School District
San Francisco, CA

Dr. Ricardo Omar Elizalde, Sr. honed his craft of teaching for 18 years in the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). A lifelong learner, Ricardo started to experiment with multimedia projects early in his teaching career as an English and English learner teacher. From puppet shows to film festivals, Ricardo enjoyed creating a classroom community of storytellers and media-makers. Currently he works as a teacher on special assignment in SFUSD trying to weave content and technology into powerful learning environments. He is a doctor of education in learning technologies. His dissertation blends language learning with multimedia making and sharing across digital platforms.

Lisa Ernst
Ancient Studies, Language Arts, STEAM
Alice Fong Yu K-8
San Francisco, CA
With over thirty-two years of teaching middle school students, Lisa teaches at the First Chinese Immersion Public School in the Nation, Alice Fong Yu K-8. She has developed integrated content through a Makerspace environment. In order to create the culture of learning, Lisa has had 70 projects funded through Donors Choose. Her vast commitment as a lifelong learner, has enabled her to participate in various fellowships from NASA, Department of Energy, the Yale National Initiative, Exploratorium, the 1990 Institute, to the Strategic Education Research Partnership with Stanford. With these experiences, Lisa has co-developed a vast assortment of curriculum which includes the San Francisco Unified School District Science NGSS in Middle School Science. Leading to a variety of presentations and speaking events from the NSTA, Donors Choose,1990 Institute, CUE, CSTA, CABE, to Sino-USA in Shanghai. Through all of these experiences, she was honored to receive the Sylvia Shugrue Award from the National Science Teacher Association as well as the RAFT Bay Area 2020 STEAM Teachers of the Year.

Mariana Garcia Serrato
San Jose, CA
Mariana Garcia Serrato is a STEM teacher at AdVENTURE, a STEM program from the Oak Grove School District in San Jose, California. She currently teaches science and engineering in grades five through eight. She is a Google Certified Educator, Edmodo Ambassador, MT for, Globaloria Teacher of the Year (2013), SCCOE/TI STEM Teacher of the Year (2014) and a certified PBS Media Literacy Educator. Her goal of making STEM relevant to her students has inspired her to create a fully gamified, PBL classroom. She enjoys sharing her ideas in her blog, Teaching Above the Test, and connecting with other educators using the Twitter handle @MarianaGSerrato.

Mia Gittlen
Prospect Sierra School
El Cerrito, CA
Mia is a teacher librarian at Prospect Sierra in El Cerrito, CA. Her 15 years of experience in education include teaching ELA and social studies in middle and high schools in Massachusetts and California as well as three years as an instructional technology teacher on special assignment. She also serves on the East Bay CUE Board of Directors. Mia is passionate about amplifying student voice, media literacy, and maker-centered learning. In her spare time, she enjoys bullet journaling and reading young adult fiction.

Headshot of David Greenbaum

David Greenbaum
Drama, Music, Musical Theatre, Performing Arts
Visitacion Valley Middle School
San Francisco, CA
David Greenbaum (aka Mr. G) is a San Francisco native who has produced, directed, and taught drama and music throughout the Bay Area for 20+ years. David currently teaches at Visitacion Valley Middle School and previously served in SFUSD’s Arts Department. He has taught 5,000+ in students grades K through 12 and beyond and holds a BA (Communications), a MAT (Theatre Arts), and a MA (School Administration). David was SFUSD’s first Performing Arts Master Teacher (Teacher Leader Fellowship) and a 2018 Dreamcatcher Honoree. He is also a certified practitioner (Six Seconds Emotional Intelligence Network) and former regional program specialist (Little Kids Rock).

Jeremy Hyler
ELA, Science/Engineering, Creative Writing
Fulton Middle School
Middleton, MI
Jeremy Hyler is a middle school English and science teacher at Fulton Middle School in Middleton, Michigan. He is a teacher consultant for the Chippewa River Writing Project and has co-authored Create, Compose, Connect! Reading, Writing, and Learning with Digital Tools (Routledge/Eye on Education) with Dr. Troy Hicks, From Texting to Teaching: Grammar Instruction in a Digital Age, and Ask, Explore, Write: An Inquiry- Driven Approach to Science and Literacy Learning. Jeremy is also a MiddleWeb blogger. His column is called Create, Compose, Connect.

Bob Kelly
History/Social Studies
Minarets High School
O'Neals, CA
Bob Kelly teaches U.S. history, government, economics and psychology at Minarets High School outside Yosemite National Park in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California. Bob has taught for over 20 years in all sorts of social studies content areas and school settings including Palo Alto, Mariposa and the Central Valley. He loves blending new and old school understandings and approaches to the world we live in. He is a well-experienced teacher trainer in both history and technology integration and has been an AP reader for the U.S. history exam as well as a AP U.S. history consultant for the College Board, a Google Apps for Education Certified Innovator and a PBS LearningMedia Local Digital Innovator. Bob was also a football coach for over 25 years.

Headshot of Ken Kusactay

Ken Kusactay
ELA, Journalism, ELD
John Henry High School
Richmond, CA
Ken Kusactay is a 6th year teacher from Queens, NY. He has taught both middle school and high school, ELA, ELD, and AP courses as well as acted as English Department Chair and now currently acts as his school’s ELD Specialist. It was in this position that he began using media and technology to boost the language acquisition and education of his EL students, finding innovative ways to engage them with English through a variety of different media projects. As of December 2020, he achieved National Board Certification and continues to pursue professional development in the mission of serving his students and amplifying his pedagogical skills. He is passionate about philosophy and enjoys integrating critical thinking and theory into his curriculum. Outside of school he enjoys traveling to new places, trying new foods, cooking, baking, and punk and 90s hip hop music.

Mary Kate Lonergan
Social Studies
Eagle Hill Middle School
Manlius, NY

Mary Kate has taught 8th grade students to critically engage with media and information in the social studies settings for 13 years and has made media literacy the heartbeat of the social studies curriculum. She empowers students to think critically, ask questions, reflect, create and use their voice to take informed action. Mary Kate serves as board member on the Central New York Council for the Social Studies, works as an educational consultant with the News Literacy Project, and contributes as a faculty member to the Summer Institute for Digital Literacy. She also serves as an educator collaborator with Ithaca College's media literacy organization Project Look Sharp. She has presented workshops and sessions at the National Council for the Social Studies and National Association for Media Literacy Education conferences as well as at state and local social studies conferences. Mary Kate has also developed and implemented professional development courses for integrating media literacy skills and practices across different content areas. Mary Kate holds a Masters in Education and a Graduate Certificate in Digital Literacy from the University of Rhode Island.

Headshot of Victoria Lowe

Victoria Lowe
JHS 131X (Middle School)
Bronx, NY
Victoria Lowe is serving as a Model Teacher in the New York City Department of Education as a 6th Grade ELA teacher. She has taught in the NYCDOE for 20+ years and is presently working toward certification as a School Librarian at SUNY Albany. She holds the following certifications: Nearpod Certified Educator, Flipgrid Certified Educator, Kami Certified Educator, Mote Certified Educator, Microsoft Innovative Educator, Google for Education Certified Trainer, Apple Teacher, Newsela Certified Educator and Teacher Trainer, and Common Sense Educator. She connects with other educators using the Twitter handle @vlowe144. She has presented locally, regionally, nationally, and globally on instructional strategies to support student learning. She considers herself a lifelong learner and is proud to be a KQED Media Literacy Innovator.

Samantha McMillan
History/Social Studies, Science/Engineering
San Jose, CA
Samantha McMillan is a teacher at AdVENTURE, a small public STEM program in the Oak Grove School District in San Jose, California. She currently teaches 5th-8th grade social studies and a 8th grade engineering elective. Her experience includes the IDEO Teacher’s Guild Design Thinking Teacher Fellowship (2017/2018), IREX Teachers for Global Classrooms (2016/2017) and SCCOE TI STEM Teacher of the Year (2017). She is a certified California Naturalist and member of the UC Berkeley/SCCOE Informed Action Civics Teacher Research Group. She is passionate about developing social studies curriculum that emphasizes design thinking, global issues and civic action. She enjoys sharing her learning and what’s happening in her classroom on Twitter (@emergingedu).

Aspen Mock
Forest Hills High School
Sydman, PA
Dr. Aspen B. Mock is an English language arts educator at Forest Hills Junior-Senior High School in Western PA. Dr. Mock’s educational philosophy and approach is to provide a creative, collaborative educational environment and writing community with a focus on 21st century skills, service-learning and critical thinking. Her doctorate is in educational leadership and administration; her dissertation focuses on creativity. She currently teaches Language Arts 7, composition 9 and AP Literature & Composition 12, is an ACE adjunct instructor for Pennsylvania Highlands Community College, and is a member of the Leader In Me leadership team. She holds the following certifications: PBS Media Literacy Educator Certification, K-12 Principal Certificate, National Geographic Certified Educator, Nearpod Certified Educator, Flipgrid Certified Educator, Certified Microsoft Innovative Educator, Google Certified Educator, Apple Teacher, and Common Sense Educator. She is also a Yoga Alliance registered yoga teacher and children’s yoga teacher. She is a playwright who has had two plays staged for major charitable organizations and is a volunteer for United Nations Women. She is a national co-leader for the international group, WomenEd. Currently, she is working on a National Geographic Education grant to empower students to write and publish an Explorer Mindset children’s book. She enjoys spending time playing, laughing, dancing, singing and exploring the world with her two amazing daughters. She connects with other educators by speaking/attending conferences, and using the Twitter handle @AB_Mock.

Peter Paccone
History/Social Studies
San Marino High School
San Marino, CA
Peter Paccone is a San Marino High School social studies teacher with 30 years of teaching experience. He is a member of several teacher advisory committees (iCivics, Global Flipped Learning, PBS, Better Together California Teacher Summit, etc.). He writes frequently for several education-related online publications (ITC, Edutopia, PBS’s Teacher Lounge, etc.) and he has given a TED-Talk style presentation at the 2015 and 2016 California Teachers Summit and at the 2016 Arcadia Innovative Teacher Summit. In addition, he has produced two TED-Ed Lessons and is the host of the Titan Talk podcast.

Dan Rosales
Science/Engineering, Math
America Canyon High School
Pope Valley, CA
Dan Rosales is an experienced educator who currently teaches physics and computer science at American Canyon High School in Napa, California. He is also a former SWAT Team member in the USAF, a former EMT II (ACLS), and a former Cardiac Monitor Technician for an ICU/ CCU hospital with a BSEE and M.A. in physics. These experiences have given him a unique, renaissance view of the world and of how to teach science and technology. He has used this perspective to incorporate KQED Learn into his lesson plans to present scientific content.

Belinda Shillingburg
James Denman Middle School
San Francisco, CA
Belinda Shillingburg is an 8th grade English and ELD teacher and a School Site Instructional Leader in San Francisco, California. She comes to the Bay Area having taught in online, hybrid and brick-and-mortar school environments from elementary to university. She is a PBS/KQED Microcredential Assessor and is passionate about helping teachers increase their Media Literacy Skills. She works with her school site and KQED Learn staff to help educators ground their students in the District's Graduate Profile and Deeper Learning Skills to build digitally literate and critical readers, writers and thinkers. She enjoys keeping up with EdTech innovations and best practices in teaching and learning via Twitter @britlitlover91.

Sara Stewart-Lediard
Academy of Arts, Careers and Technology
Reno, NV
Sara is a science teacher at Academy of Arts, Careers and Technology in Reno, NV. She has held a variety of roles during her 22 years in education, including instructional coach, technology specialist, online learning specialist, teacher-librarian and science educator.  Sara believes integration of media literacy into core subjects is essential for digital age students. Teaching both biology and environmental science allows students opportunities to learn more about a number of issues that they care deeply about, and take their learning and interests even further through developing and creating media projects to share with others. Sara has developed and facilitated professional learning courses and workshops for Nevada educators in the areas of digital literacy, 21st Century Learning, and STEM for over a decade. She is a PBS Certified Media Literacy Educator and a National Board Certified Teacher. She is always interested in connecting with others and growing her professional learning network. You can find her on twitter @edtechmuse.

Trish Terrell
ELA, Speech & Debate
Maria Carrillo High School
Santa Rosa, CA

Trish Terrell is a high school English teacher of 25 years at Maria Carrillo High School in Santa Rosa, California. She received a MA in Liberal Arts from Stanford University and uses her humanities classwork to provoke interesting discussions in the classroom and incorporate the aspects of culture in her literature units. Terrell is also a practicing “brain-based teacher,” using a brain development, self-regulation and growth mindset approach with her students. One of her favorite activities to do with media literacy is using Literary Critical Theory approaches with multi-media, such as film shorts, commercials, film clips, art, songs, speeches and other texts. She has been nominated multiple times for teacher of the year awards throughout her career. Her 15 year old son and two dogs keep her young and busy, and her husband, also a teacher, inspires her to keep traveling the world, learning, and evolving. You can find her on Instagram @mrsterrellmchs.