TEACHPressNotesFINALx - Participant Media

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Dec 11, 2013 (3 years and 10 months ago)

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TEACH


Synopsis


Great teachers shape us, inspire us, entertain us, push us and even at times scare us. For many
of us, it was a great teacher who saw a spark in us and somehow helped make us who we are today.


It is estimated that within the next
10

years,
50 percent
of America

s teachers
will be eligible
for
retire
ment
.
With this staggering fact in mind, Academy Award
®
-
winning documentarian Davis
Guggenheim has decided to ask a timely question: What does it take to be a teacher? The answer is
TEACH,
a rare glimpse inside four
public
-
school classrooms
filmed over an entire school year
through
the eyes, hearts and minds of four inspirational teachers
.


TEACH is a two
-
hour special television event
presented
by Participant Media in conjunction
with Pivot,

the co
mpany

s new television network.
TEACH is set to debut on the CBS T
elevision
Network on September 6
at 8:00 p
.
m
.

ET/PT and on the Pivot television network on September 14 at
8:00 p
.
m
.

ET/PT.



As intense as it is emotional, this year in the life of four
public
-
school teachers illustrates how
tenacity, passion and a belief in innovation drive these educators as they navigate the daily ups and
downs of the 2012
-
2013 school year.

Viewers are taken
on a journey inside the
classrooms of Matt
Johnson, a fourth
-
grade teacher at McGlone Elementary

School in

Denver, Colorado;

Shelby Harris,
a
seventh
-
grade
math teach
er at Kuna Middle School in Kuna, Idaho
; Lindsay Chinn, a
ninth
-
grade
a
lgebra teacher at
M
artin Luther King Jr.
Early College,
also in Denver
;
and Joel Laguna, a 10th
-
grade
AP World His
tory teacher from Garfield High in

Los Angel
es, California. These educators

use
conventional and unconventional methods and do whatever it takes to overcome obst
acles and strive
for success.




Guggenheim

s

subjects are diverse in every way, but they all share a deep commitment to
their classroom and the perseverance to hang in and put their kids first. While they all aspire to be
the best, they also struggle with

the frustrations of a profession that so often in America does not
have the cultural appreciation it rightfully deserves. For the viewer, TEACH is a chance to
rethink and explore exactly what it means to be a teacher, to look at the tough and complicated
job of teaching as a profession, examining in real time what it takes to reach their kids. In
celebrating teachers and teaching everywhere, it is a call to action for viewers to recruit and
inspire the next generation of educators.
The airing of TEACH on b
oth CBS and Pivot will
inaugurate a yearlong social action campaign on the part of Participant, its dig
ital arm TakePart,
and its newly
launched television channel Pivot
,

in conjunction with a coalition of alliances

most notably the nonprofit organization
Teach (
www.teach.org
)

to elevate the profession of
teaching and inform and engage students and recent graduates as they consider career choices.


Davis Guggenheim is known for groundbreaking documentaries such as
THE
FIRST YEAR
,
his first
film

about public school teachers
;

WAITING FOR

SUPERMAN

;

and
the Academy Award
-
winner
AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH

as
well as compelling, commercially successful television
series such as
Deadwood
,

Numb3rs

and

NYPD Blue
.

TEACH is Guggenheim

s third foray into the
subject of education in America.


Participant Media is an award
-
winning independent entertainment company known for
high
-
quality films that inspire social change
,

such as
THE HELP, GOOD NIGHT
,

AND GOOD LUCK,


FOOD

INC., THE COVE, THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL

and most recently

LINCOLN
and
A PLACE AT THE TABLE.



TEACH


About the Production



What is a teacher? What do they do? They are a part of our lives from childhood on in deep and
meaningful ways. They gave a
damn and helped make us who we are.




Queen Latifah,

Narrator,
TEACH


Academy Award
-
winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim

bookends his third film about public
education with a deceptively simple question:
What is a teacher?

Deceptively simple,
Guggenheim

says,

because he wants audiences to look beyond the impressions we formed about teachers in our
youth to see the profession with fresh eyes.



Sure, we all know what

a
teacher

is.

W
e spent years sitting in classrooms being molded by
them. But those impressions
can distract us from truly understanding the role. What makes the job so
important? What qualities make teachers effective? Ask 50 different people and you

ll likely get 50
different answers,


Guggenheim

says. TEACH aims to shine a light on the subject, gi
ving this most
heroic of professions the attention it sorely deserves and celebrating the men and women on the front
lines in what is one of the most misunderstood and yet most

important roles in our society.



Some teachers are inspirational, some practic
al,
some
focus on details
,
others give us a broader
perspective
,


Guggenheim says, recalling that he was

a terrible student


who was saved
from
mediocrity by a few teachers who saw the best in him and changed the course of his life.

I know first

hand how transformative a teacher's influence can be on a student's life.

It

s a tough job.

Some say it

s
an art,
some say
it

s a science
, and in TEACH we come to see that it is

both.



The
simultaneous

promise

and tragedy of

our

American schools has long

been a focus for
Guggenheim
, who kicked off his
documentary

career in 1999 with

THE FIRST YEAR
. The film
chronicled the stories

of five fi
rst
-
year

teachers in some of America

s toughest schools and went on to
garner international accolades and a Peabody A
ward.
In 2010
,
Guggenheim
revisited the topic

in the
award
-
winning WAITING FO
R

SUPERMAN
,


a look at the
public education system
and how it
effected the lives
and dreams of

5 kids and their familie
s.

With its dual revelations of shocking flaws in
the system and real signs of hope, the film won the
Sundance Film Festival

s Audience Award
.



But where
WAITING FOR

SUPERMAN


centered on the crisis in public education, TEACH
turns t
he focus to its brightes
t promise
.



This is more about what

s working in education
,


Guggenheim says
.

M
oms and dads believe
every kid in America
deserves
great public schools
, but the issue

is so complex and sometimes feels
impossible
. With TEACH,
I wanted to
s
how that t
here
are great teachers in every school

fightin
g the
good fight and doing whatever it takes for their kids
. They are

at the heart
of
what

s working. Maybe, if

we could find
and
support
more
teachers like thi
s,
all of our schools would be great
.




Guggenheim to
ok his
idea

for TEACH to
Jim
Berk, CEO of

Los Angeles
-
based entertainment
company

Participant Media
,
with whom he had made

WAITING FOR

SUPERMAN


and AN
INCONVENIENT TRUTH.

Guggenheim and Berk
, with the encouragement of Partic
i
pant

s
founder


and Chairman J
eff Skoll,
brought the project to philanthropist
s

Bill
and Melinda
Gates.


They’re

so
passionate about the subject
, and

also very smart and perc
eptive about it
.




Berk
, himself a former teacher in the Los Angeles area and the youngest high
-
school principal
in the history of the vast Los Angeles Unified School District, says one goal of TEACH
is

to keep
public education a part of the national conversation.



I
f you don

t keep providing inspiring stories and
ways to
remind people
of
how important
education is
and
how
critical it is to the
future
health and welfare of the country

and the next generation
,
then we are at risk of
it
no longer being something
that
people care
about
,


says Berk, who taught music
at Carson High School for seven years, served as the principal o
f the Alexander Hamilton High School
Complex

and founded the Hamilton Academy of Music
, creating the largest comprehensive
performing

arts

magnet in the wes
tern United States
.

We
also
saw an opportunity
, as the economy rebounds and as
so

many teachers reach retirement age, to help inspire the next generation of teachers

and to show

college
-
age students
considering career choices
that
teaching can be
a
challenging, entrepreneurial and
prestigious profession.



Getting
The
Gates
es

on board to
help underwrite
TEACH required no heavy lifting, according
to Berk. Berk says he called
them
as soon as he got wind of Guggenheim

s idea for TEACH, and
they
all
met
with Participant founder Jeff Skoll, agreeing to partner up on the project

right there in the
room.





In our conversations with Bill
and Melinda
Gates,
t
he
y

made it
clear that the idea of
putting
edu
c
ation and the importance
and power
of teachers

in
to

t
he spotlight
is
a high priority,


says Berk
.



TEACH
focuses

on the power of teac
hers, the greatness of teachers and the potential for
tea
c
hers to
change children

s lives.
It

takes no position on ed
ucational

reform or state and federal
policies
. It really
focuses

on
the
work of
the
teacher and
his or her
potential to influence children
in a
way that no other person, other than a parent or family member
, can
.



As in Guggenheim

s previous films, TEACH puts a human face on its subject

specifically,
four teach
ers in four very different public schools spread across the country. The film plants us in their
classrooms as they navigate
the 2012
-
2013 school year
. With its arduous challenges, intermittent
successes and sometimes gut
-
wrenching setbacks, the ride is an

emotional rollercoaster. Students move
toward proficiency in the classroom, only to stumble

sometimes badly and incomprehensibly

when
it comes time to demonstrat
ing

their skills
.


Fortunately, t
he teachers are not alone in
this battle.

The only way I was

ever able to get better
and really start mastering my craft was through my teammates

Kelsey Kempter, a
fourth
-
grade
teacher, and Caroline Ellis, also an amazing
fourth
-
grade teacher,


says Matt Johnson
, one of the film

s
subjects, a new fourth
-
grade
teacher at Denver

s McGlone Elementary School.


My mother was a
teacher so I would always reach out to her for resources,

to

veteran teachers at my school, I mean the
list goes on and on.



In addition to
the support of their fellow t
eachers, each receives

vital guidance and
encouragement from a mentor

be it a highly motivated assistant school principal or a Ph.D. advisor

who has walked in their shoes. And, like the students, the teachers are working to expand their skills

whether learning the flexibility n
eeded to customize their lessons to individual students, or embracing
the dynamics of student
-
centered teaching techniques.






G
reat teachers are always learning,
always asking questions of themselves

trying to figure
out how they can be better,
what they

can do differently
,


Guggenheim says
.



As the film demonstrates, at the heart of academic success are teachers, whose deep devotion to
their jobs makes the difference. We see them digging deep to help students like Yeira, a bright
-
eyed
fourth
-
grade
r stru
ggling to make up a
two
-
year shortfall in her reading skills; or Samy, a ninth
-
grader
who wants to be a pilot but has all but given up on grasping the math that is a prerequisite to realizing
that dream
.



When tea
ch
ers go the extra mile, they often find
their
students

will
too,


says the film

s
host
and
narrator,
Academy Award® nominee and Grammy winner
Queen Latifah
.

Other

celebrities who
lend their voices and faces to the production include actors Jon Cryer, Anna Faris, Joseph Gordon
-
Levitt, Allison
Janney, Rashida Jones and Jerry O’Connell, as well as NBA All
-
Star Paul George.


So w
hat is a teacher?

TEACH offers numerous insights, showing in its final scenes that the
bond between teacher and student

is
,

at its best, incandescently beautiful.


Guggenheim
hopes
the film
will

help advance the national discourse on public education

and,
beyond that, move people to respect teaching as a top profession and vital career choice
.


The idea is to
recruit the next generation of passionate teachers
,


he sa
ys
.

I hope the film inspires people to realize
this is a tough, demanding, deeply meaningful job where the stakes are extremely high and the rewards
are infinitely rich
.



THE TEACHERS

AND THEIR MENTORS



A teacher is someone who knows that ... you might not reach all your students,

but you always try, try, try and you never give up on a single student.




Joel Laguna, 10th
-
grade teacher, Garfield High, Los Angeles


Choosing four schools to chronicle in TE
ACH was a lengthy and painstaking process
,
according to Guggenheim
.

I wanted to focus on traditional public schools

in a wide variety of
settings
,


he
says
.

I wanted it to
offer a sampling of the
many dimensions of our country

s
public
-
education system.



The filmmakers eventually settled on two schools in the
suburbs of Denver
, one in rural Idaho
and one in East Los Angeles.


Identifying the specific teachers to film within those schools was an even greater challenge

perhaps the most difficult part of t
he production, says
the director
.

F
inding people who
could
tell their
own stories and share their lives with us

and whose stories are emblematic of the teaching
experience

was a difficult process. We had to find
four compelling characters
with
compelling
stories
and then weav
e

their stories together in a way that makes for good television
.
And
we had to make

sure
we got it right, that we accurately portraye
d what that experience is like.



The filmmakers interviewed numerous schools in different states and

filmed more than 50
teachers, Guggenheim says, before narrowing the field to their chosen four:




Matt Johnson
, a fourth
-
grade teacher at McGlon
e Elementary School, Denver,
Colorado.



Shelby Harris
, seventh
-
grade math teacher at Kuna
Middle School
, Kuna, Id
aho
.





Lindsay Chinn
, a ninth
-
grade
a
lgebra teacher at MLK Early College, Denver
,
Colorado.



Joel Laguna
, a 10th
-
grade AP World History teacher from Garfield High

School,

Los
Angeles
, California
.


According to
Harris
, the presence of the film crew in the cla
ssroom was
a
distracti
on

initially
,
but
the
students soon forgot the cameras were there.

For the first few days it was,

Whoa, this is
cool!
’”

she recalls.

The students wanted more than anything to talk to the people behind the cameras
and ask them

What

is your job like?



How does that sound box work?


They were so into those
people

s jobs
I think
because they

re in those formative years of, what do I want to do? And then it just
didn

t
even faze them. The camera would be right here in their faces, and
every now and then I

d notice
them
making
a little eye contact and

this is kinda strange,


but they were so cool. They just are the
neatest kids.



The other three teachers report
similar experiences.

It was weird, it became part of the daily
routine,


s
ays Johnson.
Still,
he admits,
participating in the movie added extra pressure to an already
-
high
-
stakes challenge
:


It was a little stressful because we were expecting to make all this growth
.
I
really wanted to make sure everything went well.



As it fol
lows the students


growth, the film also tracks the
teachers


own development
. In a
number of compelling scenes, we witness as each instructor benefits from the wisdom
and experience
of one or more dedicated
mentor
s
.




As a second
-
year teacher at McGlone

trying to accelerate his fourth
-
grade students


reading
abilities, Johnson gets
advice and encouragement
from his principal, Suzanne Morey.




In an effort to improve her students


test scores, Chinn pioneers

360º Math


a new,
student
-
centered approach to

the subject
created by then
MLK assistant principal Sean
Kavanaugh.




Harris, a 13
-
year veteran of the classroom, goes from direct instruction to a

blended
learning


approach that integrates the
Khan Academy

website
into her students


math
curriculum wit
h the support of
both
her
principal Deb McGrath
and
Maureen Suhendra,

who works

for

the not
-
for
-
profit
Khan Academy
.





Laguna seeks help from his grad
-
school advisor, Eduardo Lopez,
who
visits his class
room

as
Laguna
struggles to get his under
-
performing
history students to write well
-
crafted
essays.



Asked about the most important thing he learned during the months the filmmakers observed
his class, Laguna says it
was
the ability to adapt his lesson plans to the needs of his students.

At the
beginning
of the year I had everything laid out,


he recalls.

Every test, every lesson was perfect. And I
learned that you have to really be comfortable with the unknown. That if you have everything planned
out, that

s great, but you don

t know what students
you

re

going to have. You
don

t
know what events
are going to happen throughout the year.



The film also highlights the
role
strong, innovative school
leaders
can play
in a
teacher

s

quest
for

excellence.


You need to have an administration that is willing to
trust you and support you,


Laguna says.

There are so many things telling administrators they need to put their teachers on short


leashes, but it seems the ones who trust and support their teachers are the ones who have the best
results.



Harris agrees:

Your administrator can definitely make or break your experience as an educator.
Without their
guidance
and backing you

ll just flounder and fail.



In one of the film

s most riveting scenes, we watch and wait with
Kavanaugh

and Chinn

in
real time

as a com
puter calculates the all
-
important test data
upon which
teachers, their mentors and
their schools are ultimately judged. Going into the year, between 70 percent

and 87 percent of the
students
were not proficient in math. Can
Kavanaugh

s 360º Math, as taugh
t by Chinn, turn that
ar
ound? While waiting for the results of the first district test, when the color
-
coded data
finally pops
onto the com
puter screen, it shows an

improvement that overwhelmingly dominates the rest of the
district.

That

s amazing
,


says
a palpably excited
Kavanaugh
.


Morey is equally hands
-
on in her support of Johnson. In one scene, she asks

him
about

his goals
and strategies for specific students, urging him to be more flexible.

I know that you are following the
curriculum, but you wan
t to be always in the moment and adjusting your level of support,


she tells
him.

Because you

re always balancing it but always moving them forward. And believe it or not, when
I

m coaching you, I

m doing the same thing.


And later, she reminds him of the

stakes:

You

re not
changing their life if you

re not teaching them how to read.



In exploring what elements make a great instructor, TEACH also looks at the path each of the
subjects took to get where they are today. In many cases, it was not an easy one. Johnson grew up in the
Chicago projects
, where he was raised by his mother
, a sin
gle parent,
who later became an educator and
inspired him
to follow in her footsteps
.
He
says his life
took a dramatic change

for the better at age 14
,
when he
was awarded a scholarship to attend a pr
ivate school outside of Chicago.

After earning his
maste
r

s in education
, he became a teacher. He says
his favorite part of the jo
b is

seeing the lights
come on

when a child who
is

struggling with an idea finally gets it and becomes more confident in their
ability
.



Harris
also came from a broken home.

Divor
ced parents, drug and alcohol issues; it was tough
a lot,


she says.

So my husband likes to say that I always cling to the
hard
-
knocks kids. I just love
them. And I love to have them in my classroom and be a part of their world and try to show them that
t
his does not define them, that you can choose differently.



Laguna paid his own way through school with no one to cheer him on.
Clearly a natural in the
classroom, he says his favorite part of the job is seeing his students grow.

A lot of times you can

t

even
imagine where it

s going to go at the beginning of the year,


he says.

At the end, you

ve grown and
your students have grown.


Although he loves his job, he cautions that it

s not for everyone.

Not
everybody can teach,


he says.

There

s a false id
ea that everyone can. You need to be cognizant of
whether you

re that person.



Hearing

the teachers


stories, one cannot help thinking their hard
-
won gains have contributed to
their sense of dedication to their students. They know firsthand how high the s
takes are and are driven
to end what for many students is a cycle of hopelessness.

Or as Johnson puts it:

You know some of
the kids

really don

t have people in their corner
.

S
o I always want them to know that I

m here for
them.




THE STUDENTS





She

ll
keep on helping you out. She won

t ever let you quit.



Samy, ninth
-
grader at Denver

s MLK Early College
, of teacher Linds
ay Chinn


Of course, it

s the students


academic advancement that is the true measure of each teacher

s
success. To represent the cl
asses


progress over the course of the school year, Guggenheim identified a
handful

of

students from each school

to follow throughout the school year
. The filmmaker says he
selected children

who aspired to something and whose stories I connected with

and
where the stakes
were the highest.




They include

E

vanna, Cris, Brooke, Mixtli
,
Jennifer

Gilbert, Yeira and Emmely
.

Some, like
Em
m
ely, a fourth
-
grader who wants to be a lawyer in the FBI, have a remarkably clear
-
eyed sense of
their dilemma.

If I don

t
come to school, then I

m going to have to get a job in McDonald

s or
something like that,


says Em
m
ely, who is one
-
and
-
a
-
half grade levels behind in her reading class at
McGlone Elementary

in

Denver.


As the school year unfolds, we watch

sometimes with bai
ted breath

as the students
experience the highs and lows of success and failure. At times, the lows are crushing, as when it appears
the students


problems run far deeper than their teachers realized. At one point, for example, out of 43
students in Joel L
aguna

s
10th
-
grade AP World History
class, only one passes an essay
-
writing test
with a C. All the other students fail.


But those lows only make the students


successes all the sweeter, and by the end of the school
year there are plenty to go round. With

the help of the revolutionary

360º Math


approach
Lindsay
Chinn

pilots with her ninth
-
graders
at MLK E
arly College in

Denver
,
many
students surpassed the
district average in areas taught.


In one of the film

s most moving scenes, teacher Joel Laguna blas
ts the song

Eye of the Tiger


on a boom
-
box

as he marches his class toward their AP World History exam. When the group reaches
the schoolyard, he convenes a group hug, tells the students he loves them, and sends them off with high
fives. Watching them go like an anxious parent, he observes:

All I

can do is hope that everything
I
taught them
,

and that they learned for each other
, has all paid off.



And we watch and wait with him

racked with anticipation until the film

s final scenes when
Laguna presents the students with their results. The film sho
ws it

s that absolute investment of self that
his students respond to.



Everyone wants to be in Joel

s class
,


says Garfield Principal Jose Huerta.


They all learn
, and
he will not turn a kid away.



Despite the challenges

or perhaps because of them

Laguna says
he
can

t imagine himself in
any other profession.

There

s
nothing I would rather be doing than teaching.



THE POWER OF TEACHERS




It

s the human being in the room that gets the student to get

excited about learning.




Sal Khan, Khan Academy


Educators have always looked for ways to enlist the latest technologies

from slide shows to
movies to the Internet

in their efforts to teach students. But those who have tried to substitute
technology for

teachers have tended to find the same thing:
that the human element is irreplaceable.




The Internet Age

perhaps more than any other before it

is rich with
opportunities for
educational innovation.
It

s a s
mall wonder

then

that a growing army of Internet
-
e
nabled devices is
finding its way into classrooms. In TEACH, students in Shelby Harris

s class at
Kuna
Middle School in

Idaho

are seen gushing over shiny new laptops, issued to them by the school, courtesy of
a

grant from
the
J.
A
. and Kathryn Alber
t
s
on

Fou
ndation
.


The plan is to use the
computers as
part of a

blended learning


approach

that integrates

using
the

free

Khan Academy
website

into
Harris

s students


math curriculum
. Harris expresses a fear that the
new technology will render her obsolete.
But later in the film,
we see that this is not
the case.


“I was excited to try something new,” she explains. “Because clearly what I was doing was not
really working for a lot of kids. When you’re teaching to the middle, and when you’re just trying to get

through your instruction, you lose kids. And so I knew that they were lost a lot of the time, and I knew
that we needed to change it up.


“Having said that, the whole idea of bringing a bunch of computers into a classroom is not
comfortable for teachers,”

Harris adds. “It feels very much like, ‘So what do I do?’ The kids are
working on the computers, what’s my role now?

It’s been powerful. I thought that it would distance me
from the kids, but it’s been completely the opposite. They get more teaching time
from me now than
they ever did before.”



T
echnology has
often

been seen as a silver bullet
,


Guggenheim says
.

We used to think you
could broadcast information into children

s mind
s
, that TV screens could replace teachers. Machines
don

t teach children, p
eople do. It

s a very exciting time for technology
. It

s
a powerful tool for a
teacher to use
. But
we
have to understand how it works.




TEACH suggests the same is true for less high
-
tech but still innovative teaching tools. Lindsay
Chinn,
the Denver math

teacher
, is seen piloting a radically
new approach to teaching math

in an effort
to boost her students


disappointing tests scores.

Dubbed

360º Math,


the concept
takes

student
-
centered learning to a new level by covering classroom walls in whiteboards a
nd having all the
students

not the teacher

solve problems
on the boards
, making the students’ work transparent.
As
the idea

s inventor, A
ssistant
P
rincipal Sean Kavanaugh
,

says in the film,

t
o have the kids be the show
and the teacher

be

the audience. It

s a totally different paradigm. It changes everything.




But despite amazing initial results,
many of
Chinn

s
math
students at MLK Early College in
Denver
find themselves struggl
ing

as the school year wears on
.
Working closely

with
her mentor,
Kavanaugh,
Chinn sets about fine
-
tuning the approach. Although she continues to use
360º Math
,
she combines it with good old
-
fashioned elbow greas
e, staying after school to tutor her most
challenged students and eventually pushing them to improvement on the all
-
impor
tant district
tests.

Here again, it seems, it

s a caring human that makes the difference. Even the best tools are still
only tools.
It

s how teachers use them that counts.

We haven

t yet cracked the code of how technology
works in education,


Guggenheim s
ays.


Lindsay Chinn says she and the other teachers spotlighted in
TEACH

were nervous to see
how the finished film portrayed them and their students. After seeing it though, Chinn says she
hopes other teachers are as touched by it as she was.



It sheds l
ight on the struggle that I think every teacher goes through. But they go
through it silently, and often alone. Like what do you do when you

ve taught your students


everything you thought you could teach them and they still don

t get it. It

s heartbreaking

to ask
yourself was it enough? Was I enough? And so I hope that people see that this is something
everybody goes through. It

s what makes teaching so valuable and so worth doing.



SOCIAL ACTION AND
TEACH



The
network
premier
of TEACH on CBS and
its subsequent airings on
Pivot will
kick off

a
yearlong
social
-
action campaign on the part of Participant
Media
,

in
conjunction
with
the non
-
profit
organization
TEACH
,

to inform and engage students and recent graduates as they consider career
choices.

The

objectives of the campaign are twofold:


1.

Reframe
:
Elevate the perception of teaching as a profession among
students
/prospective teachers
, parents, and teachers themselves.


2.

Recruit:
Spark interest in becoming a teacher, particularly among African
American and Latino men
.



The campaign is primarily aimed at
high
-
achieving
college
-
age
student
s, who may
have
discounted
teaching

as a career option
.



The Classroom
as

Startup


The
campaign

focuses on
the idea of the classroom as a startup

an approach designed to
leverage
a
growing interest in entrepreneurship among young people, and particularly among high
-
performing students. Many of the
characteristics

of entrepreneurship
that are attractive to Millennials
are

also part of the mindset ne
eded to effectively run a classroom
,
such as a spirit of innovation, a desire
to make a meaningful contribution to society by solving a problem and an interest in being a

change
agent.



The multiplatform campaign will run

on air,
online

and

at the grass
-
roots

level. For the o
nline
component, Participant will drive
people to
its digital portal,
www.takepart.com
/teach
, which will offer
resources
to help

students, parents and teachers learn more about innovations in th
e classroom, find
ways they can get involved
and
s
hare content they
see about
the
revolution
underway

in
the
teaching

world
.
Participant

s
primary
collaborator in the campaign is the non
-
profit organization
Teach
, which is
guided by a coalition of diverse
public, private

and government
advisors. These include

the U.S.
Dep
artmen
t of Education, Teach for
America, the National Education Association and most recently the
American Federation of Teachers. Corporate
coalition members
include
Microsoft Partners in
Learning
and

State Farm.



O
n
-
the
-
ground activities
will primarily consist of
recruitment and information
al

events about
teaching

on
college campuses

nationwide.


ABOUT THE TEACHERS


MATT JOHNSON

is a fourth
-
grade teacher at McGlone

Elementary

a turnaround and
innovation school in the Denver Public School system. Born in Chicago, Johnson grew up in the
projects, later earning two degrees at the University of Denver

an undergraduate degree in
business administration and a master

s in education. Inspired by his mother, who became a


teacher, and by a host of teachers and mentors throughout his education, he was awarded a
scholarship at age 14 to attend a private school outside of Chicago

a move
that
he says
dramatically changed his
life for the better. As a second
-
year teacher, he is relatively new to the
profession and still mastering his craft. Johnson, who has a daughter, says his proudest
achievement has been helping his students greatly improve their math scores; from just 20 pe
rcent
proficient at the start of this past year, to 75 percent proficient or advanced by year

s end. With
mentoring from his principal, Suzanne Morey, he strives to accelerate his students


growth. His
advice to would
-
be teachers:

Make sure your heart is
in it. Make sure you

re doing it because
you have a passion for helping people and helping kids.

It

s got its ups and its down and it

s not
great all the time, but
it

s
definitely rewarding.



SHELBY HARRIS

is a seventh
-
grade math teacher at Kuna
Middle Sc
hool
in
Kuna, Idaho.
Born in Boise, she

married in 1997 and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Idaho
the following year. She has two children, Abbie, 13, and Carson, 9. Harris, who has wanted to be
a teacher
for as long as she can remember
,
s
ingles out
her
high
-
school math teacher, Mike Jossis,
and her 12
th
-
grade
English teacher
,

Vicki Isquena, as
among her most
inspired and inspiring
instructors
. In 2012 Idaho ranked 49th in the nation for their spending on

education, and within
the state, Kuna is one of the lowest
-
funded districts.
A 13
-
year veteran of the Kuna Public School
District, Harris is trying to adapt to a new style of teaching: going from direct instruction to a

blended learning


approach
.
Throug
h

a
grant from the A
lbertson

Foundation, Shelby

received
laptops

for her math students

and in
tegrated Khan Academy into her

math curriculum
.

W
hat
mak
es Khan an interesting
cla
ssroom tool is that it gives Shelby

spontaneous real
-
time dat
a
,
shows her how

her

students are doing and where they are struggling
.

It can be tough to be
passionate about math, but I am passionate about kids,


she says.

Their well
-
being and knowing
that they are valued and honored, and that I

m there for them no matter what.


Her
advice to
would
-
be teachers:


Do it for the right reasons. A lot of people go into education thinking they

ll
have summers off, that it

s an easy job where you work with kids all day, you babysit, then you
go home. That is not the case. If your heart is no
t in education, and more importantly, if your
heart is not in the children, you

ll be miserable. Be sure you

re going into it for the right reasons,
and buckle up because it

s quite a ride.



LINDSAY CHINN
is a ninth
-
grade algebra teacher at Martin Luther
King Jr. Early College, in
Denver. Born in Odessa, Texas, she earned two degrees in social work

an undergraduate degree
at Texas Christian University and a master

s at the University of Denver, with a specialty in at
-
risk youth. After a stint as a social w
orker, Chinn was drawn to teaching by the desire to affect
children

s lives proactively, rather than reactively. After completing a two
-
year program at Teach
for America, she has spent the past four years teaching math at MLK, a school previously
featured
on ABC

s
Primetime

as one of the most troubled schools in the nation. Citing her high
-
school science teacher and sixth
-
grade teacher as her role models, Chinn says her favorite part of
teaching is the students themselves

interacting with them every day as they figure out wh
o they
are as learners and as people. She considers her proudest achievement to be teaching the same
group of kids for the past three years

watching them grow and sharing that journey with them
and their families. Her advice to would
-
be teachers:

Remember

that students are children and be
patient with them. Figure out who they are as people and let them know who you are as a person.
Continue to find new ways to become a better educator, to push them as learners, so they can go
into anyone

s classroom and b
e viewed as successful students.

And laugh at yourself, and your
students, when you

re ridiculous, and don

t be afraid to ask for help, and to struggle, because
that

s when it

s real. That

s when you

re doing something. When you struggle.




JOEL LAGUNA
is

a 10th
-
grade Advanced Placement World History teacher at Garfield High
School in Los Angeles

the same school where the famous Jaime Escalante

taught AP Calculus


(
a

feat later dramatized in the 1988 film
Stand And Deliver
)
. A
native of San Diego,

Laguna
dreamed of being a teacher from childhood. He earned a B.A. in political science at UCLA in
2009, got his teaching credential there in 2011 and earn
ed his

master

s in education there this
year. Counting many of his past teachers as strong mentors,
he especially enjoys seeing students
grow in their abilities and prides himself on cultivating a

team family unit


in his classroom
where students feel safe and accepted. He began teaching 10
th
-
grade AP World History at
Garfield two years ago. Expectation
s were low, but his career got a boost when half of his class
passed the exam. His advice for would
-
be teachers:

Just go for it. Don

t be afraid to fail. We tell
our students that, and we should not be afraid to fail either. Take risks and know there are
going
to be good and bad days. If you give it your all and your students see that you care, it will
definitely come back to you.





ABOUT THE
MENTORS


TEACH also features
a group

of
dedicated mentors
who
work hard to help the teachers succeed
,
including




SEAN KAVANAUGH

is the former assistant principal

at Martin Luther King Jr. Early
College in Denver, Colorado.
He grew up in West Palm Beach, Florida, and earned a
bachelor

s degree in Elementary Education from Palm Beach Atlantic University and a
master

s
in Educational Leadership from Lynn University. A former urban student, he began
his career teaching
middle
-
school
s
cience
in public, independent and private schools in
Florida. In Denver he was part of a team that
pioneered a

Model for Collaboration that
won
national attention.
R
ecently at MLK he developed

360º Math


a new, student
-
centered
approach to the subject that teacher Lindsay Chinn is seen piloting in TEACH. The approach
involves students solving math problems on whiteboards affixed to all four c
lassroom walls
while the teacher stands in the middle of the room watching the students.

That

s a totally
different paradigm,


Kavanaugh says.

It changes everything.


At the conclusion of the first
year of implementation, the standardized state test data

revealed that the median growth
percentile for students in grades 6


9 increased on average 10.6 percentage points.

Kavanaugh
has
won multiple teaching awards and
currently serves as Principal Resident at Hill Campus
for Arts and Sciences in Denver
.




EDUARDO LOPEZ

is
a faculty advisor for the
Master

s in Urban Teaching P
rogram
at
UCLA

s Graduate School of Education & Information Studies
. In his current position, he
conducts classes on developing critical pers
pectives on the nature, purpose

and design o
f
curriculum, the interrelationship between theory and p
ractice
,

and teacher inquiry. His
research interests include cri
tical pedagogy, teacher inquiry
,

and issues of equity, diversity

and
social justice.

The Masters in Urban Teaching Program focuses on su
staining and supporting
the growth of experienced urban public
-
school teachers
such as

Joel Laguna,
a 10th
-
grade AP
World History teacher at Garfield High School in Los Angeles.
Lopez earned a B
.
A
.

in
Psychology and Religion and an M
.
A
.

in International and Multicultural Education from the
University of San Francisco
, and
a Ph
.
D
.

in Education from Claremont University.
He
began
his career in education as a
social
-
studies teacher at

Verbum Dei High School, an all
-
boys
Catholic High School

in Watts
,
South Los Angeles
.
In TEACH, Lopez

tries to help Laguna in
a year where his confidence initially is shaken due to his students under
-
performing in their
efforts to write well
-
crafted essays.




JOSÉ HUERTA
is the
p
rincipal at
Garfield High School
in Los Angeles.






SUZANNE MOREY

is an experienced elementary and K
-
8 principal who started her
teaching career in New York City
.
After
earning her m
aster

s from Columbia Teachers
College, she moved to Colorado where she has been a principal and district
leader for over 18
years
, including serving
as principal
at McGlone Elementary in Denver
.
She has been the
principal of two

turnaround


schools with high numbers of second language learners and
academic challenge. She was also the principal of the first K
-
8 in Aurora Public Schools,
responsible for the prototype physical and instructional design for the
school
building. One of
her schools received the Governor

s Award for School Improvement under her leadership
.
While principal at McGlone, h
er students sco
red in the top 1 percent

of Colorado elementary
schools in math growth on the State TCAP assessment.

In TEACH
, she works with fourth
-
grade teacher Matt Johnson to accelerate his students


growth and urge
s

him to tailor his
approach to individual students w
here necessary.


It

s about a person,


she says.

So if you
really want to talk about what it means to be successful, you really have to look at the
individual child and did you spark the light and enthusiasm to learn?


Morey

was
recently
selected as the p
rincipal at Denver Center of International Studies at Montbel
lo for the 2013
-
14 school year.





MAUREEN
SUHENDRA

works at

Khan Academy (khanacademy.org)
and helped

teacher
Shelby Harris implement Khan Academy into her students’ math curricul
um
. Harris also

ha
d

the
support
of her administrator, principal

Deb McGrath.




SAL KHAN
is the founder of the Khan Academy (
www.khanacademy.org
), a nonprofit with
the mission of providing free, high
-
quality education for

anyone,

anywhere


in the world.
Born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, he graduated from MIT in 1998 with degrees in
mathematics
,

electrical engineering

and
computer science and
later earned an
MBA at

Harvard
Business School.
While working in the technology f
ield,
Khan began tutoring his
cousins via
phone
and
an interactive notepad.
He eventually started
posting videos of his hand
-
scribbled
tutorials on YouTube. Demand took off, and in 2009, when the
website
reached

tens of
thousands of students per month, he quit his day job
.

Khan Academy is a not
-
for
-
profit
organization with the goal of changing education for the better
.
Khan Academy
’s website

provide
s teachers and students

unlimited access
to lessons
covering ever
ything from basic
arithmetic to
college
-
level science and economics.








ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS



DAVIS GUGGENHEIM (
D
irector
,
Writer
)

is an

Academy Award
-
winning director
and producer

whose
impressive body of
work includes
the documentaries
WAITING FOR

SUPERMAN


(2010), a critically acclaimed examination of the education system;

IT MIGHT
GET LOUD

(2008), a celebration of the electric guitar featuring

Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack
White
;

and AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH

(2007)
,
the climate
-
change classic
featuri
ng former
Vice President Al Gore
,

and a winner of

the Oscar
®

for Best Documentary
.


Most recently,

Guggenheim collaborated with Laurene Powell Jobs to create THE
DREAM IS NOW, a 30
-
minute documentary focusing on the Dream Act and immigration
reform.

He is

currently working on a documentary about Pakistani school
girl Malala Yousafzai,
who survived an assassination attempt by the
Taliban

and went on to address the United Nations.


Previously,
Guggenheim produced and directed President Barack Obama

s
2008
biographical film A MOTHER

S PROMISE

and a short film for Obama

s 2012 campaign,
THE
ROAD WE

VE TRAVELLED
.

He

has also directed
episodes of a number of acclaimed
television series including
Deadwood
,

NYPD Blue
and
24
.



LISA ZIMBLE (Producer)

has more than

20 years of production experience in the film
industry.

Working
as a producer, production manager and first assistant director
,

she

s compiled

extensive experience on feature films, episodic television, television movies, commercials and
music videos
.

In

the feature

film
world, Zimble was the line producer on Craig Lucas


THE DYING
GAUL, starring
Patricia Clarkson, Peter Sarsgaard

and

Campbell Scott
, an entry in the 2005
Sundance Film Festival; producer on Andrew Chapman

s STANDOFF, starring Robert Sean
Leonard, Natasha Henstridge and Dennis Haysbert; and producer on Evan Dunsky

s THE
ALARMIST, starring
David Arquette, Stanley Tucci

and

Kate Capshaw,
a selection of the
Toronto
, Sundance and Berlin film festivals.

Zimble

is a graduate of New York University

s School of the Arts

and a member of the
Directors

Guild of America

(DGA)
.


Her two children were born and rais
ed in Los Angeles, and
are proud products of the Los Angeles Unified School district where they attend Hami
lton High

School
.



SHANNON DILL (Producer)
is an artist and documentary film producer
.
She recently
worked
on President Obama

s 2012 Democratic National Convention
film
and consulted
on the
immigration reform documentary
THE DREAM IS NO
W, both directed by

Davis Guggenheim
.



Prior to working with Guggenheim, Dill worked closely with director James Moll on
such documentaries as RUNNING THE SAHARA, narrated by Matt Damon; the Emmy Award
®
-
winning INHERITANCE
;

and the Grammy Award
®
-
winning FOO FIGHTERS: BACK A
ND
FORTH. Her early experience working on
Moll

s
PRICE FOR PEACE, executive produced by
Steven Spielberg and Stephen Ambrose, helped shape her approach to filmmaking
.


Raised by
public
-
school teachers in Huntington Beach, California, Dill attended public
schools and went on to graduate from UCLA

s School of the Arts and Architecture. She lives in
Los Angeles with her husband, dog, and six cats. She paints in her free time
.





JIM BERK

(Executive Producer)

is
c
hief
e
xecutive
o
fficer of Participant Media, a Los
Angeles
-
based entertainment company that focuses on socially relevant, commercially viable
feature films, documentaries and television, as well as publishing and digital media.
Berk

is
responsible for leading the company

s day
-
to
-
day operations, content

and

ove
rall strategy as well
as expanding its

reach beyond motion pictures into other forms of entertainment
. His other duties
include

extending the

company

s

brand identity, enhancing

its

social action and advocacy
capabil
ities and overseeing all media investments and acquisitions.


Before joining

Participant,
Berk

was
c
hairman and CEO of Gryphon Colleges
Corporation, where he was responsible for the formation, platform acquisition and establishment
of a private company ope
rating for
-
profit post
-
education schools.
Previously, Berk
served as
president,

CEO and
b
oard
d
irector for Fairfield Communities, Inc., America

s largest

network of

independent vacation ownership and resort companies. Prior to Fairfield,
Berk

served as p
re
sident
and CEO of Hard Rock Cafe International
and was
the founding executive of the National
Academy of Recording Arts & Scie
nces Foundation.


A
ppointed
p
rincipal of the Alexander Hamilton High Schools Complex in 1990
,

Berk

was

the youngest principal in
the history of the 725
-
school Los Angeles Unified School District
.

Previously
,
Berk

founded the Hamilton Academy of Music in Los Angeles, creating the largest
comprehensive performing arts magnet in the western
U.S
.
His first job was

as a music teacher at
a public high school
,

Carson High
, where
he reopened the music department and built the
program
in
to one of the largest music programs in California.


Berk

currently serves on the
b
oards of Me to We, Cineflix

Media, The Documentary
Channel, the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television and the USC Rossier School of
Education.



ERICH ROLAND (Director of Photography)
is a veteran camera operator who has
evolved into a first
-
rate cinematographer.
He has worked

for top directors such as Bruce
Beresford (on five occasions), R
o
bert Townsend, Hugh W
i
lson and
of course, Davis Guggenheim
(seven times, and counting).


Most recently, Roland earned an Emmy nomination for his work on MANHUNT, a
documentary chronicling t
he chess game between the CIA and Osama Bin Laden long before
9/11. He also shared in a Satellite Award nomination for Guggenheim

s IT MIGHT GET LOUD
(Best Cinematography).

Previously, he

served as DP on the Oscar
-
winning shorts
THE
JOHNSTOWN FLOOD and ONE

SURVIVOR REMEMBERS (Best Documentary Short
Subject).


Roland

has l
ensed TV documentaries such as
Berga:

Soldiers of Another War
,

The Open
Road: America Looks at Aging
,

Out of Control: AIDS in Black America
and most recently,

Alaska, the World and Wally
Hickel
. Other television credits include multiple episodes of
Frontline, Nova
,

The American Experience, Nature, American Masters, African American Lives 2

and

Inside.


Roland

s

credits as a Steadicam and

A camera


operator include such notable
narrative
features
as DRIVING MISS DAISY, GUARDING TESS,
DIABOLIQUE,
THE NEWTON
BOYS, HER ALIBI and
METEOR MAN. He shared in an Emmy win for the
National
Geographic Explorer
episode

The Secret Life of Cats
(Outstanding Achievement in a Craft).





LUCIANO BL
OTTA

(
D
irector of
P
hotography)

is a top D.P. who may be best known
for lensing the acclaimed film RISE UP, which won
the 2009 AFI/Discovery SilverDocs Music
Documentary Award
.


Blotta
left his native Argentina and came to the
U.S.

with a scholarship to study
filmmaking at the University of Miami. Soon after graduating and moving to Los Angeles, he
was working on film projects that pushed him to
a high

professional level and
was in
the enviable
position of learning invaluable techni
cal and aesthetic skills from masters John Woo, Steven
Spielberg, Steven Soderbergh and Ron Howard, with whom he worked closely as a video
-
systems operator.


Since then,
Blotta

has collaborated with directors
such as

Alejandro G. Iñarritu

to shoot

numerous

chart
-
topping music videos as well as
independent feature films and award
-
winning
shorts. He has been invited to speak about cinematograp
hy at prestigious universities such as
USC and

Rice, as well as
participating in
various filmmaking panels at film fes
tivals around the
world.


Blotta

lives and works in Los Angeles.



JONATHAN SCHELL (
D
irector of
P
hotography)

is a highly decorated
cinematographer who worked on
Davis Guggenheim

s
WAITING FOR

SUPERMAN.


In 2010
he

co
-
direct
ed

the feature documentary

SEX M
AGIC
,
MANIFESTING MAYA, which concerned
a Tantric sex guru in Sedona. The film won festival honors and was acquired by IFC Films. Other
recent cin
ematography credits include
Antoine Fuqua

s
upcoming
Showtime documentary

about

Suge Knight

and

multiple commercials for clients
such as

Taco B
ell, Fisher Nuts, Land O

Lakes

and Applebee

s.


A
fter winning the Student Academy Award as well as 26 festival honors for his NYU
g
rad
uate
-
school film

PICASSO WOULD HAVE MADE A GLORIOUS WAITER,
Schell

shot
an
d directed commercials for a few years, including a
Nike
spot

that aired during the Super Bowl
pre
-
game

show
. Continuing to pursue documentaries,
Schell
worked on a

slew of environmental
projects including Al Gore

s feature documentary

AN INCONVENIENT TRUT
H, TV series
The
Sierra Club Chronicles
, The National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) short film
THE
FOLLIES OF LIQUID COAL

and the Robert Redford
-
hosted
Sundance Summit
, featuring

town
m
ayors acting on global warming.


GREG FINTON (Editor)
has worked for 25 years in documentary, television and film
editing rooms. Most recently, he edited THE WORLD ACCORDING TO DICK CHENEY,
which he also co
-
directed with R.J. Cutler.


Finton’s

collaborations with Davis Guggenheim begin in 2000 with the documentary
short TEACH. He also edited Guggenheim’s WAITING FOR “
SUPERMAN,”

IT MIGHT GET
LOUD and A MOTHER’S PROMISE. Other credits include the TV series
American High, 30
Days
(with Morgan Spur
lock),

Black/White
and
The Residents.




BRIAN JOHNSON (Editor)

is an ACE
-
nominated editor who
has enjoyed success
working
in

the worlds of

documentary, narrative films and television.
He edited the

Academy


Award
-
nominated
documentary
BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CL
UB

and
,

more recently,
the

2013
Sundance Film Festival

entry
ANITA.


Since attending New York University

s School of Film and Television,
Johnson has
edited

a number of projects spanning all media. His diverse credits include
the Sundance Special
Jury

Prize
-
winner AFTER INNOCENCE
, Michael

Apted

s
M
arried in America

series of
telefilms,

the documentary feature
COUNTDOWN TO ZERO

and

the TV series
Scenic Route

and

On Freddie Roach
.



JOHN HOULIHAN
(
Music Supervisor
)

is a highly respected industry veteran
who has
worked as a m
usic
s
upervisor
, m
usic
p
roducer
, c
omposer
, m
usic
e
ditor

and m
usic
c
onsultant
.

He

has helped
to
shape more than 65 feature films and dozens of popular soundtrack albums.
His
r
ecent film projec
ts include
the action
-
comedy
RED 2,

starring

John Malkovich, Bruce Willis,
Helen Mirren, Anthony Hopkins, Mary
-
Louise Parker and Catherine Zeta
-
Jones
; and the sci
-
fi
thriller LOOPER, starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon
-
Levitt.


H
oulihan was film producer and co
-
music supervisor for the entertai
nment industry
documentary SUPER MENSCH: THE LEGEND OF SHEP GORDON
,

Mike Myers


directorial

debut
.

The film
premiere
d

at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival
and is being released

by A&E Films.

Up next is DON JON, Joseph Gordon
-
Levitt

s

directorial

debut
,

in whi
ch
he

stars alongside
Scarlett Johansson. Houlihan
is currently working on the 2014 animated feature
THE BOOK OF
LIFE, in production at
Fox Animation Studios.


Since getting the opportunity to work on the
critically acclaimed feature MR.
HOLLAND

S OPUS,
Ho
ulihan has
been steadily employed. His music

s
upervision highlights
include
TRAINING DAY,

which earned a Best Actor Academy Award for Denzel Washington,
all three
AUSTIN POWERS movies and

both
CHARLIE

S ANGELS

films.


Other recent documentary projects
include Oscar
-
winning director Davis Guggenheim

s

immigration
-
reform film THE DREAM IS NOW,

Guggenheim

s exploration of public education
,

WAITING FOR

SUPERMAN
,


and
From the Sky Down
,

the Showtime/BB
C documentary
about the legendary band U2.


In
the
telev
ision
world, H
oulihan

was
a m
usic
s
upervisor and
m
usic
p
roducer

on CBS


1961 period drama
Vegas
,

starring Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis.
H
oulihan also worked on
several films that were part
of
the 2008 and 2012 presidential campa
igns for President Barac
k
Obama.



JEFF CARDONI (Composer)
continues to grow

in renown

as a film and television
composer. With
more than

30
feature
-
film scores and several major network series to his credit,
his music can be heard worldwide every day.
D
rawing on new and unique
sounds and textures
,
Cardoni

s

scores range from traditional orchestral to intimate and unique
.

He has received several
A
SCAP

film and television awards for his work on
Jerry Bruckheimer

s

worldwide hit
CSI:

Miami

and was nominated for an Ariel
A
ward for h
is score to the 2005 feature
7 DIAS.


Cardoni

s latest

television scores include
the new DirecTV drama series

Full Circle
,

written by Neil Labute, and the upcoming
NBC series
The Michael J. Fox Show.

He also scored
several f
ilms

that are

slated for
a fall
release: A PERFECT MAN,

starring Liev Schreiber
and
Jean
ne

Tripplehorn; THE SECRET LIVES OF DORKS,
produced by Steven J. Wolfe (500


DAYS OF SUMMER
)
;

and
AUTHORS ANONYMOUS,

starring Kaley Cuoco, Teri Polo, Tr
icia
Helfer

and the late Dennis Farina.


Cardoni

s

body of work ranges from studio feature films such as
JUST FRIENDS, OPEN
SEASON 3, FIREHOUSE DOG, MISS MARCH
and the latest

installment

in the
AMERICAN
PIE

franchise
. He has composed

television scores
for series such as the CBS drama
The
Defenders
,

with
James Belushi
;

Wilfred
,

starring Elijah Wood
; and

The League
, with Mark
Duplass and Katie Aselton.
He produced several songs with Jon Lajoie for the upcoming
soundtrack album to
The League

as well as

recent albums by indie pop artist Jules Larson
. The
latt
er collaborations

appeared on the soundtrack to
the feature drama THE LUCKY ONE, starring
Zac Efron.


Cardoni

ori
ginally studied classical piano

while playing percussion in school orchestra.
But rock

n


roll
is what brought him

to Los Angeles in 1997. Aft
er a brief stint as lead guitarist
for the band Alien Crime Syndicate
,

Cardoni

left to pursue film scoring full time. He worked
under several Hollywood composers including John Murphy (SNATCH, 28 DAYS LATER) and
Christopher Tyng (
Futurama
,

The O.C.
) while
studying conducting and orchestration at UCLA.



Cardoni

has also worked extensively in independent film,
amassing credits such as

the
Sundance hit
THE VICIOUS KIND,
directed by Lee Toland Krieger and produced by Neil
Labute
,

a
s well as

Roland
Joff
é

s
YOU

AND I. His o
ther
career
highlights includ
e

creating a new
live score for the 2011 Super Bowl
, broadcast

on Fox
.

Cardoni
recorded
the score
with an 80
-
piece orchestra in the world
-
famous Dvorak Concert Hall in Prague.


A
lso an active songwriter,
Cardoni ha
s penned the theme songs to MTV

s hit
Pimp My
Ride
,

the Fox hit
MadTV
and FX

s
The League.

His s
ongs
have
appear
ed in countless films

including
AUSTIN POWERS: GOLDMEMBER, A VERY HAROLD & KUMAR 3D
CHRISTMAS, EUROTRIP, THE SWEETEST THING, A WALK TO REMEMBER,

NEW
YORK MINUTE and NATIONAL LAMPOON

S SENIOR TRIP, among other features.



DAVID WILD (Writer)
is an Emmy
-
nominated television writer and producer, a
New
York Times

best
selling author and a longtime
contributing e
ditor
at

Rolling Stone
.

In 2013, Wild
served as
the e
xecutive
p
roducer of a 2013 feature documentary, $
ELEBRITY.


A graduate of Cornell University, Wild first worked for

Esquire

before moving on to
Rolling Stone
. In the mid


90s, he

started working extensively in television as we
ll as in print.
Among his
numerous credits, Wild was Emmy
nominated as the head writer for
America: A
Tribute
t
o Heroes
, the all
-
network telethon held in the immediate wake of 9/11.


Wild

s
television
-
writing wor
k includes all of the Grammy Awards telecas
ts

since 1999,
all of
the
Country Music Association Awards shows

since 2002
and

broadcasts of t
he Academy
Awards

and the Emmys. Additional TV credits include
Live8
,
LiveEarth
,
Genius: A Night For
Ray Charles

and
I Walk
t
he Line: A Night for Johnny Cash

(wh
ich he also produced).



Wild has also written liner notes essays for artists
such as

the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan,
F
rank Sinatra and Van Morrison. He
was the host of Bravo

s acclaimed music interview series
Musicians
.


Wild

s best
selling books include 1
994

s
Friends
, 2000

s
The Showrunners

and 2004

s
Friends:

Til
t
he End
. His latest are the
New York Times

bestseller
Diary of
a

Player
,

which he


wrote with Brad Paisley, and
Everybody

s Brother
,

which he co
-
wrote with CeeLo Green
and
will

be published in September 2013.



QUEEN LATIFAH (Narrator)

is a musician, actress, label president, author and
entrepreneur. Blessed with both style and substance, she has blossomed into a one
-
woman
entertainment conglomerate. Latifah has quite simply don
e it all and shows no sign of slowing
down.


In recent years,
Latifah has
enjoyed

amazing success in Hollywood.

In addition to being
the

first hip
-
hop artist to be awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, she
earned an
Oscar
nomination for Best
Supporting Actress, a Golden Globe

Award
®

nomination and a SAG Award
nomination for her portrayal

of

Mama Morton in
CHICAGO. She also

starred
alongside Steve
Martin

in
the box
-
office topping comedy

BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE,

on which she also
served as execu
tive producer.


Most recently,

Latifah

starred in
and produced
JOYFUL NOISE, alongside Dolly Parton,
and HOUSE OF BODIES, with
Terrence Howard and Peter Fonda. No stranger to the small
screen, Latifah
was

an executive producer and star of
Steel Magnolias
,

a

new adaptation of the
classic

that co
-
starred

Alfre Woodward, Phylicia Rashad and Jill Scott. The
telefilm

premiered
in
October 2012 as Lifetime

s

third
-
most
-
watched
broadcast

ever, averaging 6.5 million total
viewers.
Latifah

s
next big adventure will
begin in September 2013 when she host
s

her new talk
show,
The Queen Latifah Show
, which she is producing with partner Shakim Compere

and
Overbrook Entertainment.


Previously, Latifah starred in and executive produced
the
HBO movie
Life Support,

portraying a mother who overcomes an addiction to crack and becomes a positive role model and
AIDS activist in the black community. Latifah received rave reviews for this true
-
life drama
along with an Emmy nomination and wins at

both

the Golden Globe and
SAG awards
.


In THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES (2009), Latifah starred alongside Jennifer Hud
son,
Alicia Keys and Dakota Fan
ning. Directed by Gina Prince
-
Bythewood, the drama won the
Hollywood Film Award at the Hollywood Film Festival and a People

s Choice Award

for
Favorite Independent Movie. She also starred alongside Vince Vaughn and Kevin James in THE
DILEMMA, directed by Ron Howard. Other film credits include Neil Meron and Craig Zadan

s
big
-
screen musical
HAIRSPRAY
,

romantic comedy JUST WRIGHT,
the comic cr
ime caper
MAD MONEY,
Marc Forster

s
STRANGER THAN FICTION, Wayne Wang

s THE LAST
HOLIDAY,

LIVING OUT LOUD,
THE BONE COLLECTOR

and
BEAUTY SHOP
,

a spin
-
off
of the hit
BARBER SHOP

that she also produced with Shakim Compere. Latifah was the voice of
Ellie the
Wooly Mammoth in
both ICE AGE 2

and ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT.


As an actress,
Latifah

s

big break came with the successful television series
Living
Single
,

which
is currently in syndication. From there,
she

made the leap to film acting
.
After her
big
-
screen debut in Spike Lee

s 1991 film
JUNGLE FEVER
, Latifah star
red

in
SET IT OFF
,
which earned her a nomination for a
n Independent

Spirit Award in the Best Actress category
.



In association with
Shakim Compere
, Latifah owns and operates
Flavor Unit
Ente
r
tainment, a production company originally

based
in New Jersey and
now headquartered in

Miami
.

Flavor Unit is quickly establishing itself as one of the most important production
companies in the film industry. Company credits include BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE
,


BEAUTY SHOP,
THE PERFECT HOLIDAY
,

THE COOKOUT
,

JUST WRIGHT, JOYFUL
NOISE

and
the
telefilms
Life Support
and

Steel Magnolias
.


Flavor Unit Entertainment made a multi
-
year deal with BET to create new original
programming including the
telefilm

The Cookout 2
and romantic comedy

Let

s Stay Together
,
which premiered with 4.4 million viewers. In 2011 Flavor Unit

s

Single Ladies

was expanded
into VH1

s

first hour
-
long scripted series

and attracted

approximately
three

million viewers
throughout its tw
o
-
season run. Currently,
the company

is producing the CW
show

The Next:
Fame
I
s at Your Doorstep.
A

new take on the music competition genre
, the show

includes
superstar mentors Gloria Estefan, John Rich, Nelly and Joe Jonas.


As demonstrated in
LIVING OUT

LOUD

and her Oscar
-
nominated performance in
CHICAGO
,
Latifah

s

vocal talent is as impressive as her acting.
She
has earned six Grammy
nominations as well as a Grammy Award for Best Solo Rap Performance
(1
994
)
. Latifah
continues to redefine a woman

s role
in the music industry. In 2009 her latest album, titled

Persona,


was released. Executive produced by Cool and Dre,
this release

brought

together the
worlds of hip hop and pop

to

creat
e

a new sound for the Queen.



In 2007 Latifah released the album

Trav

lin Light
.


Co
-
produced by three
-
time Grammy
winner Tommy LiPuma,
it
was the long
-
awaited follow
-
up to Latifah

s Grammy
-
nominated

The
Dana Owens Album,


a
platinum
-
selling co
llection of timeless classics and a

bold foray into
R&B
. H
er groundbreaking 1989

debut

All Hail the Queen


set the visual and contextual
standard for female rappers
.



In addition to her work in music, film and television, Latifah has written a book on self
-
esteem
,

Ladies First: Revelations of a Strong Woman
.


Latifah generously dona
tes her time and money to worthwhile charitable organizations.
Each year, she serves as co
-
chair for the Lancelot H. Owens Scholarship Foundation. Established
by
Latifah

s

mother Rita Owens to perpetuate the memory of a loving son and brother, the
foundati
on provides scholarships to students who excel scholastically but are limited in financial
resources.