About Fable Learning
Fable Learning (previously StarWalk Kids Media) is a business unit of Isabella Products, a leading wireless consumer device and services company. Isabella is the creator of Fable®, the award-winning browser-free tablet for children ages 3-10. The combined companies offer a burgeoning multilingual content collection and a turnkey capability for content development, licensing, and distribution, with a current reach of over 3-million students in the U.S. and abroad. Learn more at Isabella Products/Our Team.
Liz Nealon: VP, Chief Content Officer
Liz Nealon is an award-winning executive producer and industry leader who played an integral role in shaping indelible youth brands like Sesame Street and MTV.
Liz has a long record of start up and creative leadership experience and was co-founder (along with author Seymour Simon) of StarWalk Kids Media, a leading publisher and distributor of children’s educational eBooks to Schools and Libraries. She also led a brand rejuvenation of a leading children’s brand as the General Manager of the children’s music brand Kidz Bop (2008-2009), transforming the product from a straightforward CD brand to a multiple media entertainment property delivering safe social networking, video games, publishing and lifestyle products targeted to children ages 5-12.
Liz was Executive Vice President/Worldwide Creative Director for Sesame Street (2004-2008), charged with revitalizing the brand and creating a “road map” for the future. She pioneered the Sesame Beginnings videos for infants and their parents, was the driving force behind the creation of muppet “Abby Cadabby,” conceived the primetime Emmy-nominated PBS special When Parents are Deployed, and developed the creative approach for the Emmy and Peabody Award-winningSesameStreet.org.
Liz Nealon has also served as Executive Producer of numerous successful television series, including Knock First, the popular teen reality series for ABC Family, and Out There, the award-winning tween drama designed to teach Mutual Respect and Understanding in the aftermath of 9/11 (for The-N, ABC Australia and the BBC). She was commissioned by the Disney Channel to develop their first original series, The Famous Jett Jackson, which became their top-rated program and is included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Television and Radio. Nealon was co-creator and Executive Producer of the landmark literacy series Ghostwriter (PBS Kids/BBC).
Prior to her work in children’s media, Nealon spent a decade as a writer/producer at the start-up of MTV. She traveled the world as Senior Vice President of International Programming, launching the MTV brand in Europe, Brazil, Japan and Australia. Nealon’s colleagues dubbed her the “keeper of the trademark” due to her ability to adapt and articulate the MTV vision and attitude as it was expressed in diverse cultures and musical environments.
Miranda Barry: Senior Director
Miranda Barry’s career as a writer, producer, editor, teacher and executive represents a unique blend of popular entertainment and educational engagement across children’s media. During the past six years at Sesame Workshop, Miranda served as a creator and producer of original Sesame Street adaptations in India and Northern Ireland; head of International Production; Senior Director in charge of the Professional Development aspect of Sesame Learning, a tablet-based, blended learning curriculum for preschool; and Executive Vice President, Creative, in charge of all Sesame productions, domestic and International. During the 40th season of Sesame Street, Miranda and the production team re-formatted the classic series, resulting in a 60% ratings increase. The Electric Company, which launched the same year, targeted to older children, won 5 Emmy’s in its first season, including the inaugural “New Directions” award for interactive media.
In 2002, foreseeing the coming relevance of media and technology to classroom education, Miranda joined the New York City Teaching Fellows and enrolled at Bank Street College of Education to complete her Masters of Science in Education. She taught in 5th – 7th grade classrooms and developed successful curricula in reading comprehension and media literacy, while also serving as Coordinator for the Center for Urban Teaching and Educational Technology and teaching a graduate-level course on integrating media and technology in the classroom.
Previous experience includes SVP, Creative at JP Kids, a pro-social children’s media company, where she developed the hit Disney Channel series, The Famous Jett Jackson; and Supervising Producer on Ghostwriter, a ground-breaking multi-media literacy series for 7-10 year-olds for PBS, which included interactive software and a book series for Bantam. She has written books for young readers published by Harcourt and Bantam and TV episodes for NBC, ABC and PBS. She taught screenwriting at Columbia University and was a screenwriting mentor at Sundance while Director of Program Development at American Playhouse, where she worked as a script editor on over 100 films. Of all her adventures, working with writers to build great stories across multiple media is Miranda’s favorite craft.
Ron Maas: Director of Sales
Ron Maas is a seasoned publishing professional who combines deep experience in educational and professional publishing with a lifelong passion for the business of connecting authors to readers in all media.
He has served in VP and General Manager roles at McGraw-Hill, Addison-Wesley, Libraries Unlimited, and Greenwood Publishing/ABC-CLIO.
While serving as VP and General Manager at Addison-Wesley, he directed strategic partnerships with the National Science Foundation to publish three research-based curriculum programs; Investigations in Number, Data, and Space, (TERC) Connected Mathematics, (Michigan State University) and Human Biology (Stanford University).
He later joined the Greenwood Publishing Group, where he served in VP roles in Marketing, Sales, and Strategic Planning for the corporation, and as General Manager of Libraries Unlimited, the library-focused publishing division of Greenwood. While at Greenwood, he led development of their proprietary ebook platform and first four of several databases built on existing print assets. He also negotiated and expanded all third-party ebook and online licensing partnerships for the group.
Ron’s primary mission over the last fifteen years has been to drive improvements in the quality and availability of digital materials for libraries and the children they serve.
Gabrielle Howard: Manager
At age 10, Gabrielle auditioned for an ABC After School Special. She didn’t get the part, but that didn’t crush her love for television. Perhaps, it was the gods saying that she was meant to work behind the scenes because 15 years later she landed her first job as talent coordinator for the Emmy Award-winning “Sesame Street.” There she supervised children’s casting and co-managed celebrity bookings, landing the likes of Jodie Foster, Laurence Fishburne, and Julia Roberts.
After ten years of talking to kids about what they liked and didn’t like, Gabrielle took that knowledge and accepted a development position at JP Kids, Inc., producer of Disney Channel’s “The Famous Jett Jackson.” It was there that she moved from preschool to embracing everything tween and developed edutainment properties across multiple platforms. Four years later, she tapped into her 14-year-old self as director of development at the N Network, a nighttime network for teens, and programming arm of MTV Networks. There she developed live action and animated properties with production giants such as Endemol and Klasky Csupo.
Gabrielle earned her B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina.
Seymour Simon: SWK Founder & Senior Advisor
Visionary author Seymour Simon (@SeymourSimon), who was the founder of StarWalk Kids Media, now serves as Senior Advisor to the Fable Learning group. Simon, who the New York Times called "the dean of the [children's science] field," is the author of nearly 300 highly acclaimed science books, more than seventy-five of which have been named Outstanding Science Trade Books for Children by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). He has introduced tens of millions of children to a staggering array of subjects; one prominent science education specialist described Simon's books as "extraordinary examples of expository prose."
Seymour Simon has long been a leader with respect to educational technology for children. He wrote five early books on computer science, including Meet The Computer and How To Talk to Your Computer (an early book on coding, explaining LOGO and Basic to children), which were published by Harper & Row in 1985. In 2012, Simon founded StarWalk Kids Media, a streaming eBook platform designed to provide high quality digital literature from top quality authors to Schools and Libraries. Now, with the integration of StarWalk Kids Media into Fable Learning, his vision for utilizing the power of technology to drive engaged learning for today’s children --- digital natives --- takes a big step forward.
Seymour Simon's website, SeymourSimon.com, is a Webby Honoree online destination designed to engage children in science, reading and writing, as well as to provide families and educators with a rich array of free, downloadable resources designed to enhance their children’s reading experience. The website has been recognized with awards from the Parents Choice® Foundation in 2011 and 2013, was declared an Official Honoree in the Personal Blog/Website category in The 15th Annual Webby Awards, was named one of twelve “2012 Great Websites for Kids” by the American Library Association, and in 2013 won the QED (Quality-Excellence-Design) Seal of Approval from Digital Book World’s Publishing Innovation Awards.
Seymour Simon has been honored with many awards for his work, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science/Subaru Lifetime Achievement Award for his lasting contribution to children's science literature; the New York State Knickerbocker Award for Juvenile Literature; the Hope S. Dean Memorial Award from the Boston Public Library for his contribution to children's science literature; The Washington Post/Children's Book Guild Award for Nonfiction; the Jeremiah Ludington Award for his outstanding contribution to children's nonfiction; the Empire State Award for excellence in literature for young people; and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Forum on Children's Science Books.
Leah Starkovich: Literacy Specialist
Leah Starkovich, under the guidance of our Educational Advisory Board member Linda Hoyt, is responsible for evaluating all Fable Learning eBooks, assigning Alphabetic Reading Level, recommended grade, determining the most relevant CCSS links, and writing the Teaching Links™ documents with suggestions for how to utilize our eBooks in support of the Common Core State Standards.
Leah has been an educator for ten years and currently teaches in the David Douglas School District located in Portland, OR. She started off her career as a Title I teacher and has since taught both 3rd and 4th grades. She has a Masters in Curriculum & Instruction, as well as a reading endorsement from Portland State University.
Leah is a leader in her district and has served on many literacy-based committees and task forces. She has also done work piloting and reviewing lessons for several of Linda Hoyt’s instructional books focusing on both reading and writing strategies.
Leah lives in Sandy, Oregon with her husband and 2 daughters and spends much of her time outside enjoying the fresh mountain air.
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