Noel Gunther, executive director of Reading Rockets, has overseen the project since its inception. Noel has broad experience in radio, television, print, and the Web. He has co-written and co-produced award-winning documentaries for NPR and Public Radio International, including: Good Morning Vietnam with Adrian Cronauer (Gold Award, Best Culture/Arts Program, International Radio Festival of New York; Ohio State Award); American Voices: Norman Corwin with Charles Kuralt (Grand Award, Best Documentary Program, International Radio Festival of New York); Gray Matters: Depression with Mike Wallace (Gold Award, International Radio Festival of New York); and Drugs, Alcohol and the Brain (Gold Cindy Award, best documentary).
For television, Noel's work includes the PBS documentary A Tale of Two Schools, narrated by Morgan Freeman, and the five-part public TV series Exploring Your Brain. He now overseessix national websites: BrainLine.org, ReadingRockets.org, StartWithABook.org, ColorinColorado.org, AdLit.org, and LD OnLine.org, which since 1996 has been the world's leading website in the field of learning disabilities. Noel is co-author of Beyond Boardwalk and Park Place (Bantam Books), which was named by the New York Public Library as one of the best young adult books of the year. He has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Village Voice, Washingtonian, American Journalism Review, and many other publications. He is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School.
Christian Lindstrom is a producer for WETA Learning Media where her work includes developing television programs, websites, and print materials about reading, learning disabilities, mental health, and brain science. Her work on A Tale of Two Schools included directing, writing, and offline editing. She is currently producing additional episodes of the Launching Young Readers series.
Previously, Christian worked as coordinating producer for Exploring Your Brain with Garrick Utley: The Brain-Body Connection, winner of the Gold International CINDY Award; and for Exploring Your Brain: Stress, Trauma, and the Brain, winner of a Time Inc. International Health and Medical Film Festival Award, a Silver CINDY Award, and the James and Sarah Brady Award for Public Service from the Brain Injury Association; and as associate producer for the three-part series Exploring Your Brain with Garrick Utley, winner of the 1998 National Alliance for the Mentally Ill's Outstanding Broadcast Media Award for Science.
Previously, she served as production coordinator for the television program Look What You've Done! with Dr. Robert Brooks, about learning disabilities and self-esteem, and for When the Chips Are Down… with Richard Lavoie, about learning disabilities and discipline. Christian also played a significant role in developing LD OnLine, WETA's award-winning learning disabilities website.
Tina Chovanec, director of Reading Rockets, has more than 20 years of experience in non-profit project management and communications, including work as a writer, editor, print and web designer, and creative director. Since 2007, Tina has guided the development of new research-based resources on ReadingRockets.org, and spearheaded significant growth in audience through partnerships and outreach, syndication, and social media. In 2012, Tina launched a companion literacy initiative, Start with a Book, an online and on-the-ground project designed to keep children reading, talking, and exploring during the summer. Reading Rockets has received numerous national awards for its television programs and websites, including recognition by the Library of Congress Literacy Awards program, Parents' Choice, and the American Library Association.
Prior to working at WETA, Tina was the director of print and web publications at Oregon State University, where she led the development of award-winning communications for the university, academic colleges and departments, research centers, and the K-12 outreach program. Tina has an undergraduate degree from Brown University and an MFA in communication design from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has been a volunteer in public elementary schools and afterschool literacy programs in Virginia and Oregon.
Carrie Simkin is the director of AdLit.org. Prior to joining WETA, Carrie served as a faculty member and director of the University of Virginia’s School of Education and Human Development, Master of Education in Reading program in Northern Virginia. Her research interests focused on preventing and remediating reading difficulties and disabilities, striving adolescent readers and language minority learners.
Carrie has a strong background in curriculum development and instructional design with a passion for teaching and problem solving. Prior to her academic career, Carrie was a research associate at RMC Research where she provided technical assistance to states and large urban districts, conducted program evaluations, and designed professional learning series at the local, state and federal levels. Her previous years as a teacher and Reading Specialist continue to ground her work to support schools where academic success is possible for all students through a culture of excellence.
Lydia Breiseth is Director of Colorín Colorado, which is a part of the Learning Media Department of PBS station WETA in Washington, DC. In this capacity, Lydia manages editorial content, multimedia production, partnerships, and outreach for the website. Lydia has presented Colorín Colorado’s resources at a number of national conferences, including TESOL, NABE, CABE, NAEYC, OELA, the AFT’s TEACH Conference, and the Latino Children’s Book Conference. Lydia has published articles on a variety of educational and literacy blogs on behalf of Colorín Colorado.
Lydia has taught both English and Spanish as foreign languages and spent a year in Ecuador teaching English to graduate students with the educational exchange program WorldTeach. She received her Bachelor's Degree in English with a Minor in Latin American Studies from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.
Maria Salvadore is Reading Rockets' consultant for children's literature and literacy. She is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Maryland, reviewer for School Library Journal and Capitol Choices, and former member of the American Library Association's Notable Children's Book Committee. She was previously coordinator of children's services for the District of Columbia Public Library system and Cambridge (MA) Public Library. She currently works with PBS's Ready to Learn project, the Kennedy Center's education department, Reading Is Fundamental, and the Catholic Charities Parenting Program.
Maria has chaired or served on various book award committees including the Washington Post/Children's Book Guild Nonfiction Award, the Boston Globe/Horn Book Awards, Golden Kite, and the Caldecott Committee. She is the co-author with Susan Hepler of Books Kids Will Talk About.
Rachael Walker is passionate about helping kids develop a love of reading and has more than twenty years of experience in bringing organizations together to promote children’s literacy. Her focus on literacy and outreach began at Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) where she served as External Relations Officer. In her consulting work, she has conceptualized innovative programs, launched national campaigns, coordinated special events and developed original content for projects involving film, television, web, and print for the National Education Association, the Afterschool Alliance, HarperCollins Children’s Books, Random House Children’s Books, the World Wildlife Fund, and WETA’s Learning Media initiatives: Reading Rockets, Start with a Book, Colorín Colorado, and AdLit.org.
Rachael also has hands-on experience with meeting the challenges local nonprofits face having served three years as the Executive Director of Reach Out and Read of Metro DC, a coalition of early literacy programs based in DC area health clinics make literacy promotion a standard part of pediatric primary care. In addition to her work for WETA, Random House and the National Education Association, she’s currently a Literacy Advisor for the PBS Ready To Learn Project; advisor to Tales2Go, an award-winning audio story service for families; and serves on The Reading Connection Advisory Council.
Rachael blogs at Belle of the Book, devoted to "enchanting young readers with great books and fun activities."