Who We Are
The Fred Rogers Productions staff has experience and expertise in a range of disciplines, including child development, education, family dynamics, public policy, business, production in a range of media, technology, outreach, and more. Because our senior staff members worked side by side with Fred Rogers for many years, they are uniquely able to carry on his mission-- and to ensure that newer members of the staff understand the philosophy that guides the work.
Our staff is deliberately kept small. We complement in-house resources with strategic partnerships that enhance our effectiveness, broaden our reach, and deepen our ties to the constituencies we serve.
While our backgrounds and daily work differ, each of us is dedicated to Fred Rogers Productions mission of supporting the emotional and intellectual development of children and families—and each of us is proud to be part of this organization.
As President and CEO, Paul Siefken ensures that Fred Rogers Productions presents the very best in educational children’s media on broadcast and digital platforms — and beyond. Siefken most recently served as VP, Broadcast and Digital Media, steering the broadcast content and managing the digital production pipelines for Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Peg + Cat, and Odd Squad, working with respective production partners for each. He also spearheaded initiatives that have taken all three into communities around the country, working with public television stations, museums, science centers, libraries, volunteer organizations, and early childhood groups to provide meaningful content that supports the aims and priorities of the respective institutions.
Before joining Fred Rogers Productions in 2013, Siefken spent nearly ten years at PBS, most recently as Director of Children’s Programming, where he managed the development of several PBS KIDS series, including The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That, Sid the Science Kid, WordGirl, Wild Kratts, Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman, and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Prior to that, he managed sponsored promotions and media relations as well as produced interactive content for Cartoon Network. Before entering children’s media, Paul worked as a high school English teacher in both Georgia and North Carolina. He holds a BA in English from Duke University.
Kevin Morrison, who joined Fred Rogers Productions in 2006, brought a lifetime of experience in television to the company. Since coming to the U.S. from England in 1986, he has run an animation company, a TV movie company, and a company specializing in family entertainment. He is a member of the film and television Academies, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and was a Churchill Fellow in public service broadcasting. The father of a teenager who grew up watching PBS KIDS, he has also been an active parent volunteer at school. Kevin is Executive Producer of our new PBS children’s series Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood which launched in the fall of 2012.
Ellen Doherty is the head of production for the company, overseeing creation of television and digital content, as well as developing new properties. She is an Emmy Award-winning producer and writer with more than twenty years’ experience in children's and family media. Previously, Ellen was Executive Producer and Story Editor of the popular math-themed PBS KIDS series Cyberchase, where she oversaw production of television and digital content, including the Webby-nominated tablet apps Cyberchase Shape Quest and Cyberchase 3D Builder. Before joining Thirteen/WNET, Ms. Doherty was a freelance producer and writer, with projects ranging from educational documentary series to concert specials. She began her career on the celebrated PBS KIDS series Reading Rainbow and has a B.A. in Communications from Boston College.
Before joining Fred Rogers Productions in 1999, Lynn was the Volunteer/Referral Counselor for United Way of Allegheny County. In 2009 she received her Associate Degree in Business Management. Her current responsibilities include dealing with orders from PBS stations and consumers, managing requests from nonprofit organizations and ordering all office supplies. She is responsible for product inventory and customer databases and also provides office assistance to the staff. Lynn is one person you can always count on to help you feel good.
Bill Casey is a professional business financial manager, holding a BS in Business Management from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master of Science Degree in Taxation from Robert Morris College. Prior to joining Fred Rogers Productions he was President and COO of a private oil and gas development and investment company in Pittsburgh and also the President and General Manager of a linked real estate development company. He is Judge of Elections in his voting district. His areas of responsibility include accounting, reporting and inventory tracking.
With a background in communications and television production, Cathy Droz joined Fred Rogers Productions to work on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, but soon became involved in the company’s non-broadcast initiatives. Since 1982, she has directed and coordinated a great variety of projects, including multiple books, brochures, and audio recordings; a planetarium program; a playspace installation at a mall; a hands-on children’s museum exhibit; and an interactive amusement park ride. Cathy is the mother of four children.
Alan Friedman manages Fred Rogers Productions’ relationships with foundations, corporate sponsors, and other contributors and partners. He previously directed the Institute for Social Innovation at Carnegie Mellon University and served as associate director of the university’s Department of Foundation Relations. He first worked with children as a pediatric nursing aide, then a preschool teaching aide. He is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon (Master of Public Management) and U.C. Berkeley (B.A. in English).
As Producer and Production Manager of award-winning programs Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Peg + Cat, and Odd Squad, Chris is responsible for coordinating production efforts among Fred Rogers Productions’ several production partners. Chris joined Fred Rogers Productions after gaining experience working in public television with WQED Multimedia. He also has experience working with children from positions with Beginning with Books Center for Early Literacy and The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Chris is a graduate of Kenyon College.
Lisa came to Fred Rogers Productions with many years of nonprofit accounting experience. Lisa holds a Masters of Business Administration and is a Certified Public Accountant. She has been active in her community. Lisa grew up in the Northern Virginia area and is happy to be a Pittsburgh area resident. Lisa and her husband Craig are the parents of Ashley and Jordan.
Jack Rowley is responsible for developing Fred Rogers Productions' website (www.fredrogers.org) and has written four episodes of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. The series has twice been nominated for an Emmy Award in the category of Best Writing. He has composed original music for a joint project with Family Resources that encourages young mothers to remember the special bond they share with their babies. Jack is a Playwriting graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, where he earned two consecutive Shubert Fellowships for writing. He is the father of four and enjoys writing children's stories, composing music and time with his wife, Alice.
Annette Santella holds degrees in health-related professions and child and family development. Before coming to Fred Rogers Productions in 1999, she had worked in both the public and private sectors as a trainer, teacher, and consultant. Her work today involves managing statewide training projects, writing training materials, and often being a presenter at “train the trainers” seminars. She represents Fred Rogers Productions on several local early childhood-related committees.
Dr. Mallary Swartz is an applied researcher and expert in early childhood development and education. She serves as Principal Investigator of two National Science Foundation-funded projects designed to enhance children's social-emotional skills and increase engagement and interest in math among early childhood teachers, families, and children in Head Start and other early care and education programs. Mallary has presented at conferences nationally and internationally and has authored a variety of publications for teachers and researchers. Her past research affiliations include Brazelton Touchpoints Center, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of Pittsburgh, and the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. Mallary has also worked as a toddler teacher, university instructor, and early childhood education consultant. She has a Ph.D. in Child Development from Tufts University, an M.S. in Applied Developmental Psychology from University of Pittsburgh, and a B.A. in Psychology from Duke University. She and her husband, Jon, are the proud parents of Annabel and Benjamin.
With a degree in Communications from Temple University, Brittany Smith began her television career just as Fred Rogers did: working as a page at NBC in New York City, in production and public relations. After returning to Pittsburgh, she worked in child care then joined Fred Rogers Productions. Brittany responds to the mail and e-mail from the company’s websites. She coordinates licensing requests for photos, footage and music, as well as requests that require research in the company’s extensive archives. She also assists with station relations and oversees arrangements for Daniel Tiger appearances. Brittany is an active member of several committees at her children's schools.
Margy Whitmer is an experienced media professional. She served as producer of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and is currently Project Director for two workshops. She is also Fred Rogers Productions' liaison with PBS’ Ready To Learn initiative. Previously, she spent seven years at WQED-TV in production of local and national programs. A Chatham College graduate and holder of a teaching certificate, Margy is also an active volunteer in community organizations.
Hedda Sharapan, who holds a B.S. in psychology from Carnegie Mellon University and an M.S. in child development from the University of Pittsburgh, came to Fred Rogers Productions in 1966. She is responsible for communicating Fred Rogers’ philosophy in multiple ways: developing workshops for early childhood educators; working on books, articles, and brochures for parents, families, and professionals; and speaking around the country to educators, parents, religious, business and community groups. Her two daughters, she says, “in a very real sense grew up in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”
Dr. Roberta Schomburg is Associate Dean and Professor in the School of Education at Carlow University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she oversees GraduateStudies in Early Childhood. She completed her doctoral work in Administrative and Policy Studies with specialization in child development (currently the Applied Developmental Psychology program) at the University of Pittsburgh.
Roberta has been a child development consultant with Fred Rogers Productions since 1982 and has worked on a variety of projects, including developing the activities for the Mister Rogers’ Plan and Play Book. She has presented at numerous national and international conferences and has authored a wide variety of publications and professional development materials for teachers. She serves on many state and local boards and committees and is currently Vice President of the NAEYC Governing Board.
Aisha White was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She earned her PhD in Library and Information Science, her Master’s in Library Science, and her Bachelor’s in Media Communication, all from the University of Pittsburgh. Her previous work experiences include coordinating programs for Beginning With Books, an early literacy agency, doing outreach for our landmark series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and directing outreach for the National Black Programming Consortium, a member of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting National Minority Consortia.
She has worked as a Research Associate in the University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences, and has taught film and media courses at Pitt, Carlow University, and a local Charter School. She is currently the School Librarian at Urban Pathways Charter School where she teaches media literacy and entrepreneurship. She is also the Executive Director of Rights & Responsibilities, a human rights organization that uses film and other media to raise awareness of human rights issues with a focus on people of African descent.
Board of Directors
Charles ‘Chip’ Burke, Jr.
Professor Jerlean Daniel
William H. Isler
Scott M. Lammie
Joanne B. Rogers, Chair Emerita
- Paul Siefken, President
- Kevin Morrison, Secretary
- Lisa Moss, Treasurer