The TeachTown Management Team consists of:
Terry Thoren has been recognized by the Los Angeles Times as "one of the most important figures in the marketing and promotion of independent animated films in the United States." For twelve years Thoren served as CEO/President of Klasky Csupo. Klasky Csupo, Inc. was the first animation studio to produce the TV series “The Simpsons.” Under Thoren’s leadership the “Rugrats” skyrocketed to success and the characters enjoyed popularity in movies, television and all media worldwide. Thoren's televison divisions produced a slate of top-rated series for Nickelodeon including "The Wild Thornberry's";, the Emmy nominated "As Told By Ginger", "Rocket Power"; "Aaahh!!! Real Monsters"; two Rugrats spinoffs called "The Rugrats All Grown Up" and "Pre School Daze."
With his 35 years of experience Thoren is uniquely situated to understand and navigate the much-heralded convergence of traditional entertainment with new media in education. Today, Terry Thoren is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of TeachTown. He is leading his team on this impassioned journey to create a world of engaging products for children with special needs and autism.
>> Read more about Co-Founder and CEO Terry Thoren
Ryan’s experience as a producer, graphic designer, and editor has allowed him to produce content for the past 12 years. After receiving his M.F.A. from the prestigious American Film Institute Producing Program, he developed TV/Film projects under Wolfgang Petersen (Troy, A Perfect Storm). Ryan’s own films have premiered at the Cannes Festival in France and South by Southwest Film Festival. His first feature film, titled The Ceremony, reached 50 million homes through Time Warner Digital and Netflix. Ryan joined Rocket Fish Studios in 2008, where his animation work included projects for Word Girl (PBS), NFL Rush Zone (ESPN), Girls and Sports (FOX SPORTS), B. Boppin’ (The CW), and Rob Dyrdek’s Wild Grinders. He currently directs development and production of animation content for TeachTown.
Jeanne brings decades of entertainment experience to TeachTown, spending the last 9 years as a creative executive immersed in children’s media. Jeanne led the negotiations and secured a multi-million dollar partnership with Nelvana, the largest distributor of children’s content in the world, based on an original series that she created. Recruiting and managing all creative talent, including award winning writers, directors and animators for children’s multi-media, in addition to leading the development of multiple TV show bibles, scripts, treatments and brand style guides for series pitches with all the major kid broadcasters was another list of Jeanne’s accomplishments. Additionally she has created, developed and implemented multiple digital platforms including CGI animation, book publishing, music production, social media exploitation and APP development. All too familiar with working in the start-up world, Jeanne has worn many hats beyond her core expertise: built unique visibility strategies for Marketing and PR, managed production schedules and budgets, built strategic partnerships with various licensing, distribution, broadcast and production partners, shot/edited/produced video content, has written a library of music for children, and developed a live action series with World Cup Soccer Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist, Brandi Chastain. Jeanne is also an accomplished singer (Broadway), as well as a former professor of music at Fordham University.
Christy Burnette is the Director of Client Services for TeachTown. She comes to TeachTown with extensive experience in education, including 12 years of client services in educational software. In addition to client services, she has held responsibilities in sales operations, professional development, sales, CRM administration and technology support in K-12 education. These experiences in various departments play a significant role in the development of both new products and services. Her interest in technology is a constant driving factor to create efficiency for both the company and the client. She challenges her team to always listen to the client to understand how TeachTown can continually improve to meet the needs of educators. She enjoys building relationships with the clients to create long term partnerships on behalf of the company. As a parent, she has been involved locally in PTA and other extra-curricular activities for her children, including athletics and band.
Idet is responsible for performing and overseeing all accounting and finance functions of the company. Prior to joining TeachTown Idet was at Nestle USA, Inc. as the Controller of Taster’s Choice and Coffeemate brands, The Walt Disney Company (Buena Vista Home Entertainment) as a Senior Financial Analyst, and most recently held the position of CFO at several small companies. Idet has a broad range of experience in both small and large companies such as preparation, reporting and analysis of financial statements, developing budgets, implementation of new accounting software and systems, cost and profit analysis, and reporting to outside agencies. Idet graduated from the University of Southern California with a major in Accounting. She is a Certified Public Accountant and a Notary Public in California.
Mike Bruza brings a wealth of creativity and success to TeachTown as the company’s Chief Creative Officer. Inspired as a child by the characters and immersive world that Walt Disney created, Mike had the good fortune to spend 8 years of his career working for Disney Online; he created and shaped the early content for their first internet ‘play’ experience; created, designed and managed content for the #1 web destination in the world – Disney’s Mouse House Jr.; Mike also designed the first, fully Flash, interactive entertainment website homepage for Disney online that received the prestigious web awards. As an independent creator, Mike has worked directly with founder/owner of Leap Frog, Michael Wood, to help expand their educational product line. By improving upon their already popular toys (enhancing the playability) and creating new toys that compliment their already vast toy line. Additionally Mike has written and illustrated multiple children’s books, created numerous children’s animated properties and has written a diverse songbook of music for “toddlers to rockers.” Mike has created everything visually and conceptually for TeachTown, and continues to grow the TeachTown world with playful storytelling and engaging characters.
Melinda Docter, Ed.D. is the VP of Curriculum at TeachTown.
Melinda holds a doctorate in Education and both a Regular Education Credential and Special Education Credential in Moderate to Severe Disabilities as well as an Administrative Credential. She was previously the principal at Junior Blind of America’s Special Education School, providing services to children with multiple severe disabilities and autism. She was also the principal at The Help Group’s Village Glen School, specializing in education and behavior intervention for children with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome as well as a Staff Research Associate at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Human Behavior and Neuropsychiatric Hospital. Melinda has a child with Asperger’s Syndrome and has recently authored Asperger's Syndrome: A Guide to Helping Your Child Thrive at Home and at School.
Colby is responsible for developing and implementing TeachTown’s corporate strategy and managing the company’s financial platform. Prior to TeachTown, Colby was an Associate at Littlejohn & Co., a private equity group where he evaluated and executed investment opportunities, targeting companies undergoing strategic change. Colby has also worked at Alatus Capital, a global equities long/short hedge fund, and at Wachovia Securities in the Leveraged Finance Group. Colby received an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.A. from Duke University.
Michael Hernandez spent the last 10 years with the Walt Disney Company and has over 20 years of experience in both online and print media as a manager, producer and designer of content, games and sales collateral for domestic and worldwide markets. He has managed internal teams, external developers and vendors in all areas of production to develop properties such as Disney/Pixar Cars Online, Pirates of the Caribbean, Disney’s Magic English and a wide variety of feature films from the Disney library and distribute them on a global scale. He served as liaison to the Disney International teams in Japan, Europe, China and South America where he managed production, budgets and content distribution.
Sandra Bosdachin, MS, has dedicated her life to helping and educating children. While studying at multiple universities, Sandra earned her Bachelors in Child Development and a Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis from California State University, Los Angeles in 2009. During her time at Cal State L.A., she was able to apply her accumulating knowledge of children, education, and psychology to the field. Sandra has broadened her professional expertise and sharpened her techniques through experiences in diverse educational environments. She’s served as a Behavior Therapist for the developmentally disabled, a general education preschool teacher and also a substitute teacher for a variety of educational levels. Recently, however, Sandra has focused her efforts in Applied Behavior Analysis, working as a therapist and consultant for students with autism. She has personally overseen and implemented intervention methods in one-to-one and group settings.
Liz Ralston has spent 21 years in the public sector working with both K12 education and higher education. Her career in education started in 1990 when she helped create and establish the vertical market for education with MCI Telecommunications, consulting with education marketplace as data networking started to flourish and the World Wide Web evolved. In 1996, while courting publishers, Liz met with a Simon and Schuster K12 Education Technology company, and made her next career move to the K12 Education Technology marketplace.
Since working in the K12 market place, she has worked for Lightspan, Inc. intervention curriculum software (now part of Plato Learning); The Princeton Review, when they started building their K12 on line formative assessment software; Class.com, online high school courseware for at risk students; and GoKnow, Inc, mobile learning environment software, before coming to TeachTown in 2008.
During her K12 Education Technology career, Liz has served on multiple committees and advisory boards to include Education Commission of the States, National Conference of State Legislators, and the Kentucky Department of Education School Improvement team. Liz participated as a “technology presenter” at the 2001 National Education Summit. Lastly, Liz has helped create strategic partnerships with Education Development Research Group (ERDI) and American Assn of School Administrators (AASA) Century 100 Club. Liz graduated with a BA in Psychology from Kenyon College, she is married to Dan Ralston of 35 years, has two daughters, and two grandsons. Liz served on the Kenyon College Alumni Council from 2005 to 2008.
Mr. Schwartz has 25 years of experience managing commercial software products and businesses and brought highly innovative products to market leadership. Prior to joining TeachTown, he was COO of Blaxxun Interactive, the largest 3D virtual reality software and community site company. Mr. Schwartz headed a graphics business unit of Corel/Micrografx (1991-6), produced the first Windows presentation software product (Xerox, 1987), and developed the first word chart presentation software (1983). He holds both a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and an MBA from Cornell University.
Kevin is originally from Toronto, Ontario where he holds a Professional Engineer's designation. He has been developing software for the past 14 years, predominantly in the web services sphere, and has also developed enterprise knowledge management software and sophisticated engineering applications for computer-aided design and manufacturing. Since 2005 the majority of his time has been focused on developing educational software for TeachTown. He most recently assembled and led a team of software professionals to deliver the latest version of the company's flagship product TeachTown: Basics. Prior to this he designed and developed the scalable back end architecture upon which all of TeachTown's users depend for account management, student data synchronization and reporting.
Ryan Ring, Senior Interactive Producer, brings over 11 years of interactive development and producing to TeachTown. In his career, he as produced over 70 online games and 20 websites for brands that include Disney, Dr. Seuss / Random House, PBS Kids, Scholastic Inc, Sesame Workshop, Curious George, Major League Baseball and Thomas the Train. His expertise at TeachTown is in reward game development, as well as producing and programming TeachTown websites and online marketing initiatives. Additionally, his expertise includes user experience and design, information architecture, technical modeling, project management tools and processes, social media technology, iPhone/iPad development and product quality assurance testing and protocols.