Back row, from left: John Tulenko, John Merrow, David Wald, Ted Bauer.
Front row, from left: Adele Pham, Amanda Morales, Jane Renaud, Cat McGrath, Carmen Rojas, Jesse Weiss.
Not pictured (at a shoot): Producer Mike Joseloff
John Merrow, President and Executive Producer/Host
I’ve been at this business of reporting about youth and education since 1974, when National Public Radio broadcast my first effort (one hour about school finance). We stayed at it for eight years with a series called “Options in Education.” In 1982, I ventured into television with a seven-part series about America’s youth, “Your Children, Our Children.”
I spent five wonderful years as Education Correspondent for The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour on PBS and two years at The Learning Channel. Then, in 1995 we established Learning Matters, the not-for-profit corporation that produces our television and radio/web programs focused on telling quality, long-form stories about the state of education in America. More About John
David Wald, Supervising Producer
In the nearly thirty years I’ve been working in broadcasting, I have produced news magazine stories, documentaries and series television for CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, tru-TV, HBO, National Geographic and A&E, among others. I am proud to have been senior producer on Michael Moore’s ground-breaking — and Emmy award winning — magazine show “TV Nation.” I also co-created an award-winning series at CBS entitled “Everybody Has a Story.”
The stories and documentaries we make at Learning Matters are on another level. This is a critical time to be reporting on American education: the country’s future rests on solving the problems in our troubled schools. Teachers, principals, superintendents, secretaries, and many others I have met in the course of this work give me reason to hope. They share a passion, enthusiasm and commitment to the difficult task of education that leaves me humbled, and motivated to share their stories.
My wife, Betsy, is a librarian, social worker, and parent coach based in New Jersey. Our daughter attends college in California.
John D. Tulenko, Senior Producer/Correspondent
When I joined the staff of The Merrow Report in 1993, we worked out of a tiny office with a staff of three. We’ve come a long way since then — branching out into public radio, the Internet, and of course building our reputation through collaboration with PBS NewsHour. As a television producer, I am responsible for researching the stories, finding people to interview and location scouting. It is a fascinating, sometimes overwhelming job that I’m thankful I don’t have to do alone. Together with John Merrow and our other producers, we frame the issues, looking for ways to make our stories accessible to the widest possible audience. Outside of work, my time belongs to my wife, our children, and our friends and family. Learn more about JT’s work
Cat McGrath, Producer
I began producing for Learning Matters in the fall of 2007 after six years in non-fiction programming, working as a Segment and Field Producer in New York City and San Francisco. Here in NY, I worked on shows for The History Channel and A&E and back in San Francisco, I was an Associate Producer for Bay Area Backroads, a local travel show that explored the road less traveled. One of my favorite projects was a documentary for The American Experience about an amazing group of women aviators from WWII called the W.A.S.P.S.
Prior to my life in television, I honed my production skills in San Francisco on independent films and music videos and before that, worked in the theater, after completing my degree in theater from Skidmore College. I am also a welder — and for a few years in SF, I worked in metal fabrication. When not at work, my husband and I are lovin’ life with our young daughter.
Amanda Morales, Communications and Administrative Director
In 2006 I made a short film about a pair of women who worked for over thirty years to provide free legal assistance to New Yorkers in greatest need. It sparked my interest in the power of documentary work and since I’ve joined Learning Matters, I’ve been constantly inspired by the artistry of my colleagues as well their genuine commitment to youth, families, and education.
I’m fascinated by people, the exchange of ideas, and exploring the ways that new technologies will transform the way we communicate with one another. I’m responsible for connecting the public to our work and to that end I’ve facilitated hundreds of screenings of our documentaries across the country, spearheaded our social media effort, and run our online shop.
Prior to joining Learning Matters, I worked at some of the top art institutions in the world and I continue to be actively involved in the arts community. I write about art, craft, and sustainable design and I’m also a watercolor painter.
Carmen Rojas, Communications Assistant
Originally from California, I studied English in sunny Santa Barbara. Since graduating in 2008, I’ve traveled worldwide, moved cross-country, and developed an unhealthy love for the subway.
Before joining Learning Matters, I tutored university students, worked in book publicity, and made countless cups of coffee as a barista. I’m excited about being part of such a passionate team, and love having the opportunity to spread the word about our work!
Jessica Windt, Associate Producer
Jessica Windt got her start in documentaries with long-time filmmaker Roger Weisberg on his films “Aging Out” and “Waging a Living”. Since then, she has researched and produced local programming for PBS flagship station WNET and assisted producers on a number of documentary programs including “Wide Angle”, “Religion & Ethics Newsweekly” and “In the Life”. She is the co-producer of the award-winning feature documentary “Resilience” that follows a Korean birth mother and her American son. Most recently, Jessica associate produced and edited the documentary feature “The Prep School Negro” which is currently circulating film festivals.
Rachael Wettenstein, Associate Producer
While getting my undergraduate degree I worked part-time for an K-5 after-school program in Amherst, MA. My original motivation for working there largely involved watching Disney movies, but I came away from that experience with more than just snack preparation expertise, I developed a passion for quality education and childcare advocacy.
Before moving to New York I worked as a Program Assistant at the Embassy of Australia in D.C, where I immersed myself in the field of international education and ate lots of Tim Tams. These days I’m especially interested in initiatives aimed at getting books in the hands of kids and the role of technology in today’s classroom. I currently attend Pratt Institute part-time, where I’m studying for my MLIS. I enjoy traveling, tea drinking, Internet memes, and cooking vegetarian feasts.
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