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Meet the MY HERO Team

MY HERO Staff Bios

MY HERO STAFF
Credit: MY HERO

Jeanne Meyers

Jeanne
Credit: MY HERO

Jeanne Meyers is the Co-Founder & Director of MY HERO

Jeanne is a filmmaker, a mother, a grandmother, a mentor and an activist passionate about creating and sharing media that can create educate, inspire and empower young people to see their own potential to create positive change in the world.

Jeanne went to college with a Sony Port-Pak and worked while a student at Brown University. After graduation, she convinced the university to invest in media production equipment and was given the opportunity to mentor students and faculty interested in creating videos as the first director of Brown University’s Media Services. Later, Jeanne travelled around the world producing short videos for NBC News. She later attended the American Film Institute and then launched Big View Pictures, Inc to create family-focused entertainment. As a mother of young children and a producer of media Jeanne was interested in creating a space where people of all ages could share and discover films about real-life heroes working for positive change around the world.

In 1994 working with Emmy award-winning filmmakers Tom Weinberg, Skip Blumberg, Rita Stern and Joel Cohen, she produced a TV Pilot for a MY HERO TV Series with author Michael Crichton, teacher Laurel Greenber and The Mayor and Fireman of NYC and Laguna Beach Life Guards. The producers were told the pilot was "great" by TV executives but that it was not commercially viable. So, in 1995, with the support of Karen Pritzker and Rita Stern, MY HERO was launched as a not-for-profit website. Since then, Jeanne has been directing this online experiment - growing a rich media library of inspiring stories, art and films and providing teachers and students with digital story tools and a safe platform to share their hero stories.

Today, Jeanne directs a small but devoted team of educators, artists, writers, programmers and student interns. Together they work to honor heroes around the world campaigning for peace, for human rights, and for the environment. For over 25 years, Jeanne has watched over the development of MY HERO's Interactive Story Telling programs, the online library and mentored students, teachers and artists who have joined this global learning community. 

To contact Jeanne please email: [email protected]

 

Nathan Smith

Nathan
Credit: ns

Nathan Smith is the Art Director and Webmaster for MY HERO

Nathan began designing flash and graphics for the project when he was 15 years old. He has grown up along computers, winning several awards for his ingenuity and unique style of creativity. When he was 12, he began publishing his own newsletters to his friends and family. Soon after he appeared on NBC's "News for Kids" as inventor of the year for his 'Interactive Resume' application. When his mentor Gary Birch, a dean at the Laguna College of Art and Design, saw his talent, he asked him to help teach advanced multimedia classes. After both attending and teaching at the prestigious art school, he began his own company, Flash Venom - specializing in bleeding-edge media production.

After starting a family, Nathan became determined to find a job as a programmer and was immediately hired at a software company called NextAce. He quickly became affluent in Coldfusion, PHP, and ASP/.NET and moved on to focus, once again, on his company and clients. Soon after, Nathan was recognized again for his outstanding work as Art Director for the MY HERO website with a prestigious Webby award.

Nathan is also a music lover. His passion began when he was 8, listening to his grandfather's Johnny Cash collection on vinyl. He began spinning techno and house music as a DJ, but by the time he was 21, he turned his focus to the local hip-hop scene. Since then, he has produced and performed 4 different albums for local musical acts out of his home studio using pro audio applications like Pro Tools and Logic Pro.

The design and database tools that MY HERO provides teachers, students and creative activists online have been built with Nathan's direction and leadership. He has contributed to the success of all of our programs with his creative vision guiding and improving our interactive resources continuously for the last 20 years.

Wendy Milette

Wendy
Credit: MY HERO

Wendy Milette is Director of Media Arts Education & Film Festivals for MY HERO

Wendy first used MY HERO as an educator at the Community Learning Center in Laguna Beach. She worked with students in this model elementary school program as an art, musician and environmental educator.  Later, after completing her MFA in Film Production from the University of Southern California, Wendy was recruited to help direct the MY HERO International Film Festival and has been training teachers and students in hero-based storytelling and new media production ever since. Her experience includes designing and teaching workshops across the globe from the Royal Film Commission in Amman, Jordan to Colleges and High School Media programs in Southern California. She has traveled to Senegal, the Netherlands, Jordan and across the USA bringing MY HERO Media Arts Resources to teachers and students, encouraging them to create their own MY HERO short films. 

Through her leadership as Director of Media Arts Education, Wendy has assisted numerous media arts educators in empowering their students to produce winning short films. As Director of the MY HERO International Film Festival, Wendy has built an online library of thousands of hero-themed films from over 194 countries around the world. She has mentored young filmmakers and connected MY HERO to award-winning professional filmmakers, including those using VR and Immersive Technology. She has guided the direction of the MY HERO International Film Festival since 2005. As a filmmaker, Wendy focuses on producing media that inspires activism. Wendy hopes to encourage a new generation of creative, connected and globally-minded individuals in the 21st Century.

To contact Wendy please email: [email protected]

 

Laura Nietzer

Laura
Credit: MY HERO

Laura Nietzer is the Education Outreach Director and Teacher at MY HERO

After 29 years of teaching, Laura joined the MY HERO Project as the Education Outreach Director. During her tenure as a teacher, she integrated The MY HERO Project into her classes' curriculum. As the Education Outreach Director, Laura has shared lesson plans and resources she developed using MY HERO resources in the Teachers Room and mentors educators. 

Laura has presented at numerous global education conferences on the topic of global project-based learning using The MY HERO Project including the iEARN conferences in Taiwan, Morocco, Brazil, and Virginia, as well as numerous ISTE and online conferences.

Laura facilitates the MY HERO Learning Circles and Heroes are Everywhere Project, a partnership with iEARN bringing teachers and students throughout the world together to celebrate the efforts of those making a positive change in their community and the world. 

To contact Laura please email: [email protected]

Stuart Pearlman

Stu
Credit: MY HERO

Stu Pearlman is the Audio Manager for MY HERO

Stu has been creating and managing new audio submissions, proofreading incoming submissions of spoken word and poetry, and providing quality control for submissions for publishing for MY HERO for the past 10 years. 

Stu's contributions to MY HERO have included coordinating performances with students in the classroom and on live events, playing music together along with faculty members and professional musicians, mentoring interns, facilitating their musical skills and furthering their abilities, setting up sessions where students can learn and participate and record their music and helped them create personal accounts on the My Hero website, for sharing their music and stories and providing outreach for partnerships and participation for other like-minded non-profit organizations.  

Stuart is a professional Jazz Musician and has played the Hollywood Bowl and at Jazz Clubs and parties throughout Southern California, the East Coast and Taiwan. 

To contact Stu please email: [email protected]

Deborah Neff

Deborah
Credit: MY HERO

DEBORAH NEFF is a Staff Writer and Editor for MY HERO

Deborah is a Fulbright scholar (India) and former professor, trained as a cultural anthropologist and ethnographer. She did her research in the American Southwest and South India, publishing Desert Indian Woman: Stories and Dreams with UA Press in 2001 with Native American storyteller, Frances Manuel. Her book on former “untouchables,” Pulluva Ritual Specialists: Ritual, Art, Devotion, and Resilience, 1983-2021 is in press.

As an applied anthropologist working in Education, she published her research with the Funds of Knowledge for the Classroom Project in a book and article with Luis Moll, et.al. at the University of Arizona. She also served as Project Specialist in Indian Education in a large Tucson school district and Education Coordinator for Refugee Youth with Lutheran Social Services and Arizona DES. She was Executive Director of two nonprofits: Common Cause in Wisconsin (Madison) and United Way of San Juan County (WA). As an activist, her passions include the environment, empowerment of women and girls, social justice, and the eradication of poverty.

Deborah is currently a writer and educator specializing in storytelling and educational technology.

 

To contact Deborah please email: [email protected]

Abigail Richardson

Abi
Credit: MY HERO

Abi Richardson is a Staff Wrtier and Editor for MY HERO

Over the last 30 years, Abigail’s passion for teaching and the arts has led to her taking roles in both the UK and US.

Her initial graduate and post-graduate training in teaching and drama were at the University of Surrey and Leicester University in the UK. Following this, she completed her MA in composition at the University of Boston, MA.

Abigail has combined the skills of teaching and dramatic arts to inspire children and adults across the UK and US, teaching and leading departments from New Hampshire and Massachusetts to Kent and Rutland in the UK. To expand her horizons to more commercially minded activities, Abigail also developed a wide experience in journalism and marketing by writing for and editing print and online magazines for over 17 years: Rutland Living Magazine, Gravitas Magazine, Hopkinton Independent Newspaper as well as holding PR and Marketing roles with several Marketing Agencies.

Abigail joined the MY HERO team in July 2021 and is now looking forward to combining her experiences and passions for teaching and the arts with her marketing acumen to help drive the MY HERO mission across the globe.

To contact Abi please email: [email protected]

Stephanie Cole

Stephanie Cole
Credit: Courtesy of Stephanie Cole

Stephanie Cole has managed MY HERO administrative operations since 2001. 

Stephanie handles monthly accounting, annual audits, payroll, billing and  payments. She reviews grant budget proposals and contracts as well as handling day-to-day administrative operations. Prior to joining MY HERO, Stephanie had a 20-year career at an international real estate development firm based in Southern California. Her expertise and guidance has been an integral part of The MY HERO Project's growth and development.  


Organizer created on 1/26/2022 10:41:34 AM by Abigail Richardson

Last edited 6/15/2022 8:11:43 PM by MY HERO Project

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