Our team has the various levels of expertise to carry out our mission. The key people include: global/urban educators, documentary film makers, social media marketers, small business owners and child development experts. Below is a description of each of our team member’s background and proficiencies.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
MAYA SOETORO-NG, MA PhD, Co-Founder and Board President, has a rich background in global and urban education. Maya was born in Jakarta, Indonesia and later moved with her family to Hawai‘i. From 2007 to 2008, Maya was an avid campaigner for her brother, President Barack Obama, where she worked on outreach to teachers, women and Latino and Asian Pacific Americans. Part of her campaign work involved visiting schools and discussing Obama’s education platform.
Maya has an MA in Secondary Education from New York University and a PhD in International Comparative Education from the University of Hawai‘i. Her doctoral research explored the politics of multicultural education and critical pedagogy through creative writing.
From 1996 to 2000, she taught and developed curriculum at a progressive public middle school in New York City. From 2000 to 2007, Maya was a lecturer at the University of Hawai‘i College of Education, where she taught multicultural education and educational theory. She also taught at La Pietra, a school for girls, where she facilitated classes on world cultures, U.S. history and the constitution, and peacemakers, a course she designed to teach the power of nonviolence. More recently, she worked as an education specialist at the East West Center, facilitating exchange between teachers in Asia and the United States. Currently, Maya works as an assistant professor and University Coordinator, at the University of Hawai’i's Institute for Teacher Education, where she teaches multicultural education, peace education, and social studies methods as well as supervising social studies student teachers in Hawai’i's DOE schools. She has also authored a children’s book, ‘Ladder to the Moon’, that was inspired by her mother and her daughters.
JASON BURGE, Board Member and Treasurer, is currently the Vice President of the Native Hawaiian Legal Defense and Education Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the civil rights and promoting the economic viability of Native Hawaiians. His work with NHLDEF began after completing law school at George Washington University. While in law school, he worked for Americans For A Fair Chance, an umbrella organization of leading civil rights organizations including the NAACP and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund. AFC’s sole purpose was to protect and promote the positive aspects of affirmative action throughout the country.
Jason grew up in Northern Virginia, just outside of Washington, where he benefitted from a strong public school education. This foundation allowed him to realize his dreams. Now, as a father of two, he is hoping that his children will be able to benefit from their public school education in Oregon. Jason volunteers weekly in his son’s Kindergarten class and his daughter’s second grade class and is a proponent of OPS’s Vision to build bridges and partnerships between public schools, families, and communities.
WENDY COHEN, Board Member, is a partner and principal at Picture Motion playing a leading role in business development, strategic planning, managing campaigns and digital strategy. Prior to joining the Picture Motion family, Wendy was the Senior Director of Film Campaigns at Participant Media where she developed innovative online and mobile initiatives for Charlie Wilson’s War, The Visitor, Food, Inc, The Cove, Waiting for “Superman”, Lincoln, Middle of Nowhere and A Place at the Table.
Wendy was born and raised in Montreal and began her career in film in 2003 as the Programmer and Outreach Coordinator for the Media That Matters Film Festival and Media That Matters: Good Food project. In 2006, she became the first Community Manager for The Huffington Post in New York City. Wendy produced Every Third Bite in 2009, an award-winning short documentary about bees hailed as a “better bee movie” by New York Magazine, she produced the 2011 Sundance Institute trailer titled Light is Love and recently completed production on her first short narrative film titled The Goldfish. Wendy continues to be a guest lecturer and panelist at festivals and schools around the country and has been profiled in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Hollywood Reporter and Mashable. She is a recipient of the 2010 New Leaders Council’s 40 Under 40 Leadership Award.
MATT LORIN, Board Member, is currently a senior member of The Learning Coalition (TLC) where he focuses on community and family engagement in public education in Hawaii. From 2007-2011, he was Education Program Officer for the Harold K. L. Castle Foundation. Before he joined the Foundation, he was a member of the Senior Management Team at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) where he was Director for Planning, Research, Evaluation and Grants. Previously, he served as Global Head of Strategic Communications for Caspian Securities, an emerging markets investment bank. From 1995 to 1997, Matt was a Director on President Clinton’s National Security Council Staff in the Office of Multi-lateral and Humanitarian Affairs. Before accepting his appointment in the White House, Matt was Founder and Executive Director of SHARE, the Student Human Rights Exchange — a pioneering non-profit organization that put information and communication technologies to work to promote civil society in countries undergoing political transition.
Matt serves on the Board of Education for Public Inquiry and International Citizenship at Tufts University. He is a Leadership Fellow at the Institute for Global Leadership and participates in working groups on civil-military affairs and the delivery of humanitarian assistance in complex emergencies. He is a member of the National Policy Roundtable, and serves as Amnesty International’s Government Affairs Director for Hawaii. Matt is a graduate of Tufts University and the Kennedy School of Government.
SHARON WASHINGTON, MA PhD, Co-Founder, Board Member Emeritus, earned her BA from Columbia University and her MA and PhD in anthropology from The New School for Social Research, both in New York City.
Sharon Washington has more than 15 years of experience in education. She has worked in anthropological education research, policy analysis, program design, and teacher preparation in various parts of the world. That work includes co-founder of a progressive public middle school on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City; and school turnaround efforts that include: school design, teacher preparation, and leadership development. She has taught and mentored new teachers in New York and Texas; lectured undergraduates at The New School and the University of Houston; and taught students in grades 6-12. Dr. Washington has also done educational policy work in South Africa; conducted research on the role of autonomous schools in Chiapas, Mexico; and studied the politics of education in Cuba and the definition of school and its role in economic development in Malawi. As an anthropologist, Sharon has led local staff in adapting national models to their environment.
MEDIA ADVISORY BOARD
LINDSAY GUETSCHOW, is Participant Media’s Senior Director, Marketing & Strategic Alliances, where she is responsible for outreach efforts to extend the reach and impact of cause marketing, social action and digital campaigns. Prior to joining Participant full-time, Lindsay worked as the Campaign Outreach Director for Waiting for “Superman,” where she engaged over 300 nonprofit, corporate and foundation partners in the social action campaign which collectively allowed the film and campaign to reach over 30 Million people.
Previously, Lindsay opened Cool Globes: Hot Ideas for a Cooler Planet, Los Angeles. Cool Globes is a public art project with a purpose, consisting of 50 huge 5-foot globes designed by world renowned and local artists to inspire individuals and organizations to take action against global warming. Lindsay worked with famed street artist Shepard Fairey to create Cool Globes’ brand campaign and marketing materials in the LA market, and went on to help launch the first international Cool Globes exhibit in Copenhagen during the COP 15 conference.
In 2009, Lindsay was chosen by Self Magazine as one of three Women Doing Good Honorees. She has been featured on the Today show, contributed to pieces for the NY Times, Glamour, Elle and TIME magazines and has guest lectured on Social Entrepreneurship at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management. She continues to speak at conferences and festivals across the country.
SHARAN SKLAR, Chair, founded Sklar Media in 2000 to provide business strategy, marketing and organizational management services to media-related businesses and nonprofit organizations. Sharan works with leaders to identify, organize and prioritize goals and to develop the strategies to realize them. Her clients include New York State Council on the Arts, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Arts Engine, and TED Conferences.
Prior to forming Sklar Media, Sharan launched and headed Blow Up Pictures, a leading digital film production company. She oversaw the selection and production of three features, and supervised all aspects of company operations, including financial reporting, development and distribution of production funds. Sharan also served as the director of the Independent Feature Film Market, the largest independent film market in the USA. She managed all Market operations, including the review and screening of over 300 films, and production of five publications. She administered an operating budget of $1 million. Sharan began her career in film programming and education, working at the American Museum of the Moving Image, the African Film Festival, Inc. and the International Museum of Photography at the George Eastman House, among others. She has delivered lectures, and served as a juror, panelist, and moderator at festivals and conferences all over the world. She currently sits on several nonprofit boards.
ALICIA SAMS has extensive production experience in both documentary and feature films. She is currently series producer/director of ARAB AMERICAN STORIES, a 13-episode PBS series to be broadcast in 2012. She is also developing the feature film PEACE LIKE A RIVER, based on Leif Enger’s best-selling novel, with Plan B Productions and the Manhattan Project. Her most recent film as producer/director (with Amy Rice) is the Emmy-Award winning film BY THE PEOPLE: THE ELECTION OF BARACK OBAMA, a behind-the-scenes look at the journey of Barack Obama and his campaign staff from the months prior to the announcement of his Presidential campaign all the way to the White House in 2009. BY THE PEOPLE premiered on HBO in 2009. Also in 2009, Sams was executive producer of Cherien Dabis’ award-winning debut feature AMREEKA, which premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and went on to win the Critics Prize at the Director’s Fortnight of the Cannes Film Festival. It was released in September 2009 by National Geographic Films, and Sams traveled with the film to Tunisia in December 2010 as part of the Sundance Institute’s Film Forward program, a cultural diplomacy initiative sponsored by the President’s Committee on the Arts, the NEA and the NEH. Sams also produced TOOTS, about the legendary saloonkeeper at the heart of New York’s political, sports, and journalism scene in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was released theatrically in September 2007.
In 2006, she produced WANDERLUST, a feature-length documentary for IFC about road movies and the road in American culture directed by Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman, and was also consulting producer of BUDDY, about Buddy Cianci, the notorious (and felonious) mayor of Providence. Prior to that, she produced the Sony Pictures Classics’ release GRATEFUL DAWG, the Sundance Channel series KEEPING TIME: NEW MUSIC FROM AMERICA’S ROOTS, PRESS ON, about musician Robert Randolph and the sacred steel tradition, the independent documentary OFF THE MENU: THE LAST DAYS OF CHASEN’S, and the AMC television special HELLO HE LIED, AND OTHER TRUTHS FROM THE HOLLYWOOD TRENCHES. Other productions include: The Fred Friendly Socratic Seminar WHO SHALL BE HEALED? for PBS, the not-for-profit CHANGE FOR KIDS COLLABORATIVE DOCUMENTARIES, TENNESSEE WILLIAMS: ORPHEUS OF THE AMERICAN STAGE for AMERICAN MASTERS.
She was post-production supervisor for CHOCOLAT, THE SHIPPING NEWS, and THE ORIGINAL KINGS OF COMEDY and co-produced Nelson Hume’s debut feature SUNBURN. She began her career working on documentaries for Bill Moyers’ Public Affairs Television, TBS, and the PBS series AMERICAN MASTERS, GREAT PERFORMANCES, and WORKS AND PROCESS. She is a graduate of Harvard University, magna cum laude in English and American Literature. She often guest lectures and has spoken at University of Pennsylvania, New York University, Dickinson College, DePaul University, and others.
JUDY HALL, MA, Co-Founder, Executive Director, has over 25 years of professional experience as a psychotherapist and educator, including her work with children, adolescents and adults in individual, group and diagnostic settings.
From 1984 through 1996, Judy shared her clinical training and program design skills with a wide variety of non-profit and military organizations. In addition to clinical work and psychological testing, she developed a counseling center at a parish school which included programs for both gifted and learning disabled children, co-authored curriculum for parenting classes and behavioral programs, provided in-service training as a consultant to Head Start, participated in grant writing, served as an expert witness, and traveled throughout the Texas Hill Country as part of the Preparation for Adult Living program directed to adolescents living in long term foster care.
From 1988 to 2010, Judy Hall prepared others for a mental health career as a lecturer in the psychology departments at St. Philip’s College, Palo Alto College and the University of the Incarnate Word. She received a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from St. Mary’s University, in 1986 and graduated with a BA in Psychology from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 1980.
Through this combination of clinical work, academic experience and community activism, Judy recognized both the need and the potential of an organization designed to uncover inspirational education programs and share them widely as a catalyst for community engagement in education. As a co-founder of Our Public School, Judy Hall remains dedicated to turning this idea into a reality for children across America.
MARK WOLF, Executive Producer, Board Member, has a passion for creating media that serve a good cause. His film background includes working at PBS, on the TV show Lost, and on over 100 independent films, including special award winners at film festivals. He is a founder of 1001 Stories, an HD Production Company that won the University of Hawai‘i Business Plan Undergraduate Competition in 2007. He has written, directed, or produced content for the Barack Obama campaign, the US Navy, the Emperor and Empress of Japan, the Red Cross, the University of Hawai‘i, Governor Neil Abercrombie, the Institute for Human Services, and Kanu Hawai‘i. He served at the White House New Media Department, where he helped create numerous films for the official White House website and YouTube channel. He now serves as New Media Lead for Organizing For America – Hawai‘i.
Mark also teaches media production classes at the University of Hawai‘i Outreach College and Hawaii Technology Academy, where he empowers youth to produce public service media to help create solutions to issues in their communities. He is now teaching classes where students collaborate globally and use media and technology to create solutions to common global challenges.
ROSIANA (Nani) AZMAN, PhD, Director of Programs, currently holds a tenured psychology faculty position at the University of Hawai‘i Maui College. From 2003-2011, she taught psychology at Kapi‘olani Community College, where she originally earned her tenure and was appreciated and respected by her students.
Nani received both her Masters and Doctorate at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa in Psychology in the field of Teaching, Learning, and Cognition. Her research interests lie in Educational Psychology, specifically focusing on academic motivation and student centered learning. For her dissertation, she developed the Scale of Educational Attitudes, which can help instructors to understand their students’ reasons for being in school, and then use those academic strengths and weaknesses to create lesson plans designed for most effective student learning.
Nani has two major passions in life: her family, centered around her young daughter Zoe, who attends public school, and her desire to teach students how to be active participants in their education. With OPS, Nani will have the opportunity to combine these two passions.
BOB SCOTT, Technical Support/Photographer, holds a BBA in Computer Science from West Texas State University. He is retired from service as a Computer Specialist in the Federal Court System, where he provided database support, as well as creating and teaching court-application software classes.
Bob’s passion for photography has led him to study at the Southwest School of Art, the McNay Art Institute, and most recently with the Rocky Mountain School of Photography. Workshop instructors have included former National Geographic photographers Dewitt Jones and Rik Cooke, nature photographers John Shaw and Gary Braasch, and contemplative photographer Michael Wood. His freelance clients have included San Antonio’s Sister City program and the Japan-America Society. Bob has been published in “Nature Meditations” from Omega Press, and his photographs for the Barack Obama campaign were published in the African-American Reflections Newspaper and their Barack Obama commemorative calendar.