PBS hires education leader, Arkansas network gets new director and more comings and goings

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Sara Schapiro is the new education vice president at PBS.

Her background includes positions at the New York City Department of Education, Chicago Public Schools and the New Jersey Department of Education.

Recently she helped found Digital Promise, an independent bipartisan nonprofit that seeks to spark educational innovation. She launched and led its flagship project, the League of Innovative Schools, fostering collaboration among public school districts, entrepreneurs and researchers.

At PBS, Schapiro will lead efforts to deepen partnerships across the education sector. She will help expand the online teaching resource PBS LearningMedia and bolster PBS Digital Innovators, a community of educators and thought leaders.


Hutchinson, left, with Pledger at the announcement. (Photo: Michael Hibblen/KUAR)

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson appointed Courtney Pledger as executive director of the Arkansas Educational Television Network. She succeeds Allen Weatherly, who died in November. Pledger’s background includes serving as executive producer for DreamWorks Animation and producer on the Golden Globe–winning film A Killing in a Small Town. She was also executive director of the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival. Her work to establish that festival as an Oscar-qualifying event “demonstrates her outstanding leadership skills,” Hutchinson said at the announcement.


American Public Media Group has named sustainability expert Amy Skoczlas Cole as managing editor of its new national water initiative, designed to raise awareness of critical water issues. APMG has secured more than $1 million in philanthropic funding for the project. Cole started her career at Conservation International. She has worked more than 20 years in a variety of roles at Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits and foundations on conservation and water projects. She also is the founding chair of the Minnesota Sustainable Growth Coalition.

Ben Calhoun, VP of content and programming at Chicago’s WBEZ, is departing that post and returning to This American Life, according to Chicago media writer Bob Feder.

Pam Colloff, former editor of Texas Monthly, accepted a new dual role writing for nonprofit newsroom ProPublica and the New York Times Magazine. She begins work May 1.

Government affairs


CPB promoted Anne Brachman to SVP of government affairs. She joined CPB in 2012 as director of government affairs, rising to VP in 2014. Previously she served as manager for international and government affairs at the Telecommunications Industry Association, a trade association representing telecommunications equipment manufacturers.

Philanthropy and sales

KRCL-FM in Salt Lake City hired two staffers. Robbi Richter is directing philanthropy. She has worked in the fundraising field for 20 years, including as director of the University of Utah Alumni Association. And Cindy Kaiser is an underwriting specialist. Most recently in her 30-year career, Kaiser was director of development, marketing and events at KPCW in Park City, Utah.



WBAA in West Lafayette, Ind., hired Rachael Lattimore as membership director. Lattimore previously worked in membership and corporate underwriting at public radio WUIS in Springfield, Ill.


PBS selected 25 digital public media staffers for its new CPB-backed Digital Immersion Project. The professional development effort aims to support digital efforts at stations through skill training and connecting professionals across the system. Participating are Jennifer Amend, WyomingPBS; Ellie Banks, Mississippi Public Broadcasting; Jordan Basham, WKU PBS; Kristin Benjamin, WUCF TV; Alexa Corcoran, Rocky Mountain PBS; Charlotte Cushing, South Florida PBS–WPBT; Makenzie Demmert, KUAC; Dale Fisher, Nine Network; Mary Gribulis, WMHT; Kimberly Harbrecht, WPBA; Carl Heidle, KSPS Public Television; Nick Houser, WOSU; Matt Kawamura, KWSU/KTNW; Barbara Linstrom, WGCU Public Media; Abby Malik, KET; Angela Massino, Community Idea Stations – WCVE; Karen Mell, KCPT; Liberty Peralta, PBS Hawaii; Joan Rebecchi, New Mexico PBS; Bill Richards, WKAR; Tabitha Safdi, SCETV; Nicholas Scalera, WETA; Jeff Tucker, Idaho Public Television; Matt Wilson, WITF; and Chris Zellers, WVIA Public Media.

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