Our Team

Our Program Development Team is responsible for the creation of Journeys in Film curriculum guides, educator professional development workshops, partnerships with schools, universities and other community organizations, promotion of international education reform on local and national levels, and general organizational growth of Journeys in Film.

Joanne Ashe
Jennifer Fischer
Executive Director
Hershawna Frison
Director of Education and Strategic Initiatives
Eileen Mattingly
Curriculum Development
Jamor Gaffney
Diversity and Curriculum Specialist
Jonathan Freeman-Coppadge
Martine Joelle McDonald
Program Consultant

Our Board

Junko Nagao
Junko is a systems thinker, light code catalyst, and organizational strategist with high-level political experience in East Africa, US and Asia. She applies her political, fundraising, and social justice experience to support the development of regenerative land use projects, and is building a dynamic NFT immersive art collaboration ( to expand human consciousness. She leads the New Mexico chapter of Alumnae-i Network for Harvard Women (ANHW) and is a founding board member of the Harvard Alumni in IMPACT.  She holds a B.A. degree in politics from Barnard College, Columbia University and Ed.M. in leadership and organizational development from Harvard University.
Julie Lee

Julie Lee is a respected leader recognized for empowering people, cultivating mutually beneficial relationships, persuasive reasoning, collaboration and innovation.  Julie excels in finding opportunities in difficult problems by balancing cross-cultural perspective gained through decades of experience working across diverse divisions and cultures; her people-first service mind-set developed as a consultant and her contextual thinking was refined during graduate studies in Quantitative Theory. She has successfully lead transformative global business development with the world’s most recognized companies including SONY Pictures, Universal Music, VEVO, and Asia Tatler by mobilizing interdisciplinary and multi-ethnic teams through future-thinking mind shift and inspiring all levels of the organization to engage in change management process to embrace new organizational structure, operational procedures, technology innovation and business expansion. 

A passionate believer in the power of education to improve lives, Julie has joined the Journeys in Film board to apply her expertise to enable the organization to empower more students to become global citizens through its innovative and instructional cross-cultural lessons.

Elizabeth Gifford

Elizabeth Gifford has over 15 years of social impact business and non-profit management experience.  She received a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from the Friends World Program of Long Island University focusing on global experiential learning for social change.   She has devoted her professional endeavors in sustainable development, cultural preservation, and community economics in the U.S. and abroad.  Her passion surrounds working with communities to maximize their potentials through connection, collaboration, network building, and events.

Our Advisors

We are very proud of the prominent members of our National Advisory Council, who volunteer their efforts on our behalf in multiple ways. By supporting Journeys in Film, each individual listed below understands and supports the critical need for preparing today’s American youth for participation in our increasingly interdependent world.

Liam Neeson | Founding Spokesperson | A Letter From Liam

Kristin Wiig| Actor | Spokesperson

Brooke Adams | Actor

Sharon Bialy | Casting Director, CSA

Ted Danson | Actor

Sara Jo Fischer | Independent Art Consultant

Gary Foster | Horseshoe Bay Productions

Scott Frank  | Screenwriter, Director

Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. | Chair of African and African American Studies, Harvard University

Daniel Goleman | Co-Founder of Casel and author of Emotional Intelligence 

Tara Bennett-Goleman | Author of Emotional Alchemy

Jill Iscol | Ed President IF Hummingbird Foundation In Memorium

Rosabeth Moss Kanter | Harvard Business School

Alexi Ashe Meyers| Lawyer

William Nix| Chairman, Creative Projects Group

Harold Ramis | Director, Writer, Actor In Memoriam

Emily Shagley | Marketing Specialist

Tony Shalhoub | Actor | An Interview with Tony

Professor Richard A. Shweder | University of Chicago

Mary Steenburgen | Actor

Walter Teller | Entertainment Lawyer

Randy Michael TestaXMedia Lab, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Loung Ung| Spokesperson for The Cambodia Fund

Elizabeth Clark Zoia | Public Relations Specialist

Piper Hendricks | p.h. balanced films

*We would like to give special recognition to the late Sonia Weitz, a Holocaust survivor, for her valuable service on our National Advisory Council.  She was a remarkable woman who dedicated her life to educating youth about the dangers of ignorance and bigotry, through her firsthand testimonies. View our Sonia Weitz Legacy page to learn more.*

Our Writers

Head Writers

Amy Bowers

Amy is a native Floridian living in New Haven, Connecticut. Her academic background is in Art History and American Studies. She completed her MFA in creative nonfiction at Bennington and has work placed in [PANK], Washington Square Review, West Trade Review, Assay, and LA Review of Books. Her essay Manual is anthologized in A Harp in the Stars: An Anthology of Lyric Essays. She has extensive teaching experience in both traditional and unconventional settings.

Hershawna Rochelle Frison

Hershawna Frison is the Senior Program Associate for the Aspen Institute’s Weave: The Social Fabric Project. Her background in advocacy for community-based efforts remains at her core as she oversees the program’s content and resource design. She also served as Co-Chair for the Aspen Institute’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council helping to create vital learning spaces for the Institute in support of its commitment to equitably value the contributions and perspectives of all people. In addition, Hershawna has supported organizations in reimagining student learning experiences by designing systems that weave together student developmental skills, storytelling, identity negotiation, innovative learning strategies in diverse environments, and the infusion of racial, social, and cultural considerations into internal practices.

Jamor Gaffney

Jamor Gaffney is an experienced consultant and organizational strategist with deep expertise advancing equity in K-12 education and the nonprofit industry. For over 10 years, she has turned her passion for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into programs, curricula, and events that seed transformation.

Jamor is a founding partner at For The Culture, an equity and culture shift firm providing comprehensive DEI services to organizations of all sizes. She previously lent her passion for DEI to the National Association of Independent Schools and Indian Creek School. She has also helped transform organizational culture and strategic partnerships at leading reproductive health, rights and justice organizations such as In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda and Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland.

Jamor lives in Annapolis, Maryland with her wife Brittni, surrounded by and grounded by a family full of tenacious Black women. Her favorite things to do when she’s not out advancing equity in schools and organizations include reading works of fiction and creating digital art.

Danika Sudik

Danika Sudik is a lecturer in the Department of Theatre & Dance at UC Davis where she teaches courses in Acting, Acting for Screen, Directing, and Theatre and Dance History.   She is an Ovation nominated director/actor, arts educator, and theatre maker whose practices center social, economic, and environmental sustainability.  Her education programs and curricula have been used by Center Theatre Group’s Mark Taper Forum and Kirk Douglas Theatre, The Eli and Edythe Broad Stage at the Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center, Bonnie Franklin’s Classic & Contemporary American Plays, and Journeys in Film, amongst others.  Ms. Sudik is a Survivor Fellow and Survivors Connect Lead with Everytown Survivor Network, a Climate Reality Leader, and belongs to the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.

Lara Tukarski

Lara Tukarski is the Southern Puget Sound Region Program Manager for the Pacific Education Institute in Olympia, Washington. She also serves as the Washington Project Learning Tree State Coordinator for the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. Lara brings Journeys in Film her experience as a middle and high school science teacher, backcountry youth guide, and founding director of K-12 Green Schools and STEM programs in the Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound regions. Lara has worked in environmental and sustainability education for over 20 years and has a graduate degree in Molecular Ecology.

Anthony Whitten

Anthony Whitten earned a Masters in Teaching from the University of Virginia and spent twelve years as a public high school teacher in Virginia. Over the course of his teaching experience, Anthony taught World History, US and Virginia History, Journalism, and Economics and Personal Finance. He continues his career in public education as the Director of Diversity Admissions for the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.

Additional Writers

Lorraine Martinez Hanley

Lorraine Martinez Hanley works at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Virginia as a Spanish teacher and diversity facilitator.  She is certified in All Kinds of Minds (AKOM) and is a member the school’s Brain Awareness Committee.  She has also been a veteran faculty member of the National Association of Independent Schools’ Student Diversity Leadership and is a founding faculty member of the National Diversity Directors Institute. Currently she is a consultant to the Glasgow Group. 

Glenn Klakring

Glenn Klakring teaches physics and mathematics at Indian Creek Upper School in Crownsville, Maryland. He has a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from Cornell and another in mathematics from the University of Maryland College Park. At ICS, he has been happily frustrating students since 2008 by answering their questions with more questions. He is a strong proponent of Modeling Instruction for teaching science.

Mary Anne Kovacs

Mary Anne Kovacs earned an M.A. from the Bread Loaf School of English, Middlebury College (VT). She has extensive experience teaching all levels of high school English, as well as writing curriculum for publication. Her other interests include world cultures, ethical issues, wildlife, and frequent walks in the woods near her home in Ohio.

Patricia Lawson

Patricia Lawson attended the University of New Hampshire and earned a BS in animal science and occupational education and then an M.Ed. with a concentration in teaching science for the gifted and talented. She taught at Londonderry High School in New Hampshire where she began the microbiology and biomedical programs.  As an adjunct instructor for Manchester Community College and Southern New Hampshire University, she enabled her students to receive college credits while in high school. 

Matt McCormick

Matt McCormick has been a middle and high school English teacher for twenty years. He has a master’s degree in liberal arts from the Johns Hopkins University and is currently the Head of Indian Creek Upper School.  Matt has a love of interdisciplinary teaching and learning and often uses film in the classroom. He has pioneered an extensive blended learning program that combines face-to-face instruction with online learning for greater flexibility in the curriculum.

Tonya Montgomery

Tonya Montgomery has been an educator in independent schools for 22 years. She earned her B.A. in history and arts management from Sweet Briar College and her M.A. in American History from the Pace University’s Gilder-Lehrman Institute partnership program. She teaches history and journalism and has served in a variety of administrative capacities in the field of student life and student activities. She is particularly passionate about providing opportunities for hands-on learning in the classroom.

Dr. Barrett (“Barry”) Rock

Dr. Barrett (“Barry”) Rock is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of New Hampshire. He is trained as a botanist and geologist and has developed several K-12 STEM outreach programs.

Laura Zlatos

Laura Zlatos has a B.S. in K-12 Art Education, with a minor in art history from Southern Connecticut State University.  As an artist, she works in stained glass and watercolors; she has also been an art teacher for the past 29+ years and advisor to her school’s yearbook.  She feels that students learn best through expressive, explorative work that crosses all learning areas and designs her art projects using the art history of the period they are studying in history.  She appreciates the project-based learning that Journeys in Film encourages.

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