Meet the 2019-2020 KQED Media Literacy InnovatorsMeet the 2019-2020 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.

Jeff Brain
Integrated Media Projects, Speech/Debate, Digital Music Composition/Production
Del Mar Middle School (retired)
Tiburon, CA

Jeff Brain was a middle-school teacher in Tiburon, California for the past fifteen years. He has taught a wide array of classes over his 25 plus years of experience in education, including, technology, art, integrated media projects, comics creation, game design, digital music production, poetry, speech and debate, English and history. He has done educational consulting for Common Sense Media, StoriumEDU, Learning Company, Leapfrog and Zynga. He has a multiple subject credential, and masters degree from San Francisco State in instructional technology, plays jazz in the UC Alumni Big Band, and is a published poet and professional artist. With a wide range of passions, Jeff hopes to integrate them into education with ever-increasing elan from his San Francisco home base.

Kara Clayton
Digital/Visual Arts
Thurston High School
Redford, MI

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

Stacey Cler
Monta Vista High School
Cupertino, CA

Stacey Cler currently teaches 9th grade literature and writing I and sheltered 9th grade literature and writing I at Monta Vista High School. As a certified PBS Media Literacy Educator, Stacey enjoys integrating digital media literacy into her English curriculum. As she begins her 20th year of teaching, Stacey is a Google Certified Educator, an Apple Teacher and looks forward to creating new lessons that incorporate even more digital literacy skills into her curriculum for the new school year.

Rachel Collay
Westwood High School
Mesa, AZ

Rachel Collay is a high school English teacher, amateur environmentalist and estate sale junkie. Born and raised in Arizona, she relishes 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. Educational technology can also build connections across the classroom, the community and the globe. Building off of the obvious appeal of media to young people, she works to find the intersection of English language arts standards and modern literacy modes so that reading and writing skills are authentic and relatable. Currently, she is the co-chair of the English department at Westwood High School, a 9th grade MYP English teacher and a Canvas trainer. She lives in Mesa, Arizona with her husband, two sons, two “daughters-in-law” and two dogs who all partake in tending to the garden, camping and skateboarding (we are still working on the skateboarding for the pups). Onward!

Ricardo Elizalde
ELA, History/Social Studies, Digital/Visual Arts, Performing Arts
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.

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
ELA, Science, History/Social Studies, Math
Berkeley Unified School District
Berkeley, CA

After teaching middle and high school humanities and serving as the instructional technology teacher on special assignment for Berkeley Unified School District, Mia is now the Director of Partnership and Programs at the Krause Center for Innovation located at Foothill College in Los Altos. She has also serve on the East Bay CUE Board of Directors. In her spare time, she enjoys bullet journaling and reading young adult fiction.

Claire Greene
ELA, History/Social Studies, Performing Arts
Northbrooke Junior High School Library
Northbrooke, IL 

Claire Greene is a first year school librarian at Northbrook Junior High School in Northbrook, Illinois: a school serving roughly 600 6th through 8th graders. Claire is passionate about bringing diverse perspectives into every facet of education, developing opportunities for students to ask critical questions about the content they consume, and creating experiences that empower students as creators. Claire studied library science at Dominican University and Spanish at Northeastern Illinois University. She is endorsed K-12 as a library media specialist and as a Spanish teacher.

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, vice-president of The Assembly for the Teaching of English Grammar (ATEG), an affiliate of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and is a 2019-2020 Community Ambassador for NCTE. Hyler has co-authored Create, Compose, Connect! Reading, Writing, and Learning with Digital Tools (Routledge/Eye on Education, 2014) with Dr. Troy Hicks as well as From Texting to Teaching: Grammar Instruction in a Digital Age. Jeremy is also a MiddleWeb blogger. His column is called Create, Compose, Connect.

Sheri Hynding
ELA, History/Social Studies, Science/Engineering, Math, Digital/Visual Arts
Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District
Santa Monica, CA

Sheri Hynding is currently an educational technology teacher on special assignment working in the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District in Southern California with over 20 years of classroom experience. She is currently certified as a Google Educator, Flipgrid Ambassador, Common Sense Educator, Apple Teacher, as well as a certification in BrainPOP and Osmo. Sheri works with PK-12 educators and feels passionate about blended learning, amplifying student voice and increasing engagement amongst all stakeholders. She enjoys speaking at conferences and networking with other educators using the Twitter handle @shynding.

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.

Jayne Lecky
Science/Engineering, Digital/Visual Arts
San Ramon Valley High School
Danville, CA

Jayne Lecky is a curriculum writer, mentor and high school science and art teacher at San Ramon Valley High School. She wants to live in a world where science literacy is mandatory, staff meetings can never be over 59 minutes, and everyone carries a notebook and colored pencils wherever they go. As a KQED Media Literacy Innovator, she has furthered her knowledge and sharing of pragmatic professional development, where tech, inquiry and creativity combine. Jayne genuinely loves being asked questions by all people, young and old, as long as they raise their hand first. Follow her on Twitter @mrslecky.

Samantha McMillan
History/Social Studies, Science/Engineering
San Jose, CA

Samantha McMillan is a STEM teacher at AdVENTURE, a STEM program in the Oak Grove School District in San Jose, California. She currently teaches social studies and engineering in grades five through eight. 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 student activism. She enjoys sharing her learning in her blog, Emerging Education, and 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 Sidman, Pennsylvania. 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. She currently teaches composition 9, is an ACE adjunct instructor for Pennsylvania Highlands Community College, and is a Facilitator of a Girls Who Code Club chapter. 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, Newsela Certified Teacher and Trainer, Symbaloo PD Certified Teacher & Trainer, SAS Integration Trainer (PA Dept. of Ed.) and Common Sense Educator. She connects with other educators 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.

Nicole Pfaff
Notre Dame High School
San Jose, CA


Nicole Pfaff is a sophomore and senior English teacher at Notre Dame High School in San Jose, California with ten years of classroom experience. She also volunteered with 826 Valencia and the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation. Nicole loves to travel and spoils her three cats and husband.

Mark Roquet
Information Literacy
Seven Hills School
Walnut Creek, CA

Mark Roquet is the head librarian at the Seven Hills School in Walnut Creek. California. Mark is interested in information literacy, critical librarianship and digital civics. He can be found at @markroquet on Twitter.

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.

Patricia Russac
History/Social Studies, Information, Media and Digital Literacies
Buckley Country Day School
Roslyn, NY

Patricia Russac is the director of the Library Learning Center and a history teacher at Buckley Country Day School. She is a TED Educator, PBS Learning Media Digital Innovator, KQED Media Literacy Innovator, Common Sense Educator, NAIS Teacher of the Future and iCivics Educator Network. Her passion for promoting ethics and social good inspired her to reimagine curriculum to intentionally expand the opportunities for student agency to take action by thinking beyond the classroom walls. She routinely presents at national conferences on instructional design, digital humanities and the visual classroom. She co-authors The ASIDE Blog to promote her ideas and best practices as well as maintains several websites including Social Entrepreneurship, The Visual Classroom and Buckley Codes. She actively connects with others using the Twitter handle @BCDS_History_56, shares on Instagram @BCDS_History_56 and publishes student work on her class YouTube channel.

Belinda Shillingburg
James Denman Middle School
San Francisco, CA

Belinda Shillingburg is an 8th grade English teacher and humanities department chair in San Francisco, California. She comes to the Bay Area having taught in online, hybrid and traditional school environments from elementary to university. She is currently pursuing PBS Media Literacy Educator Certification. Belinda is passionate about helping students own their education while becoming digitally literate critical thinkers. She enjoys keeping up with EdTech innovations and best practices in teaching and learning via Twitter @britlitlover91

Emily Soper
Monhagen Middle School
Middletown, NY

Emily Soper is a certified K-12 library media specialist currently working at Monhagen Middle School, a public, Title I middle school in New York’s Hudson Valley. She is all about writing grants (eight grants in three years!) and finding new ways for students to be makers and creators in the library space. She love dogs and also partners with Hudson Valley Paws for a Cause to run a therapy reading dog program in her school library for students to be able to gain confidence while reading and reading out loud.

Sara Stewart-Lediard
ELA, History/Social Studies, Science/Engineering,
Traner Middle School
Reno, NV

Sara Stewart-Lediard is a teacher librarian at Traner Middle School in Reno, Nevada. She has held a variety of roles during her 20 year education career, including middle and high school science teacher, instructional technology specialist and instructional coach. She also enjoys designing and facilitating online learning courses for Nevada teachers. Sara is a certified PBS Media Literacy Educator and a National Board Certified Teacher. Her favorite part of being a teacher librarian is teaching media literacy embedded within all content areas. She is always on the lookout for new and engaging strategies and connecting with others on twitter. Her twitter handle is @edtechmuse.

Anna Tkatch
History/Social Studies, Science/Engineering
Magnolia Science Academy - 2
Lake Balboa, CA

Anna Tkatch is a STEAM teacher at MSA-2, a LaCOe Charter School in Lake Balboa, California. She currently teachers integrated Science for 6th grade and oceanography. She is a US Federal Courts Institute Teacher, TAH Grant Winner, CRF Pilot Teacher on the National Advisory Board for CORE Standards, and a dual credentialed teacher in geo-sciences and social sciences. Her goal is to incorporate STEAM and technology standards with a curriculum universally accessible yet stimulates a student's personal interests. Her twitter handle @MSA2Science and Instagram @MSA2Science were created for this year's incoming class and her involvement with KQED.