Meet Our Team
Our Imagining Equity development team based on the fundamental belief that all students should be seen and heard. The team came together to form a rigorous, enriching curriculum that blends social justice teachings with technical filmmaking expertise. Though we hail from a wide swath of professional backgrounds, we are all committed to the belief that young visions bring truths we all must know.
Joseph Olchefske has been a leader in the K-12 educational community for over twenty-five years, holding significant executive positions in for-profit, non-profit and public sector educational institutions. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at both Johns Hopkins University’s School of Education and Tulane University’s School of Professional Advancement and as an Academic Visitor at the Harvard Kennedy School. Mr. Olchefske served as Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools from 1998 to 2003; as SPS Superintendent, he served as the leader of a public school system with 47,000 students, 100 schools, 4,500 teachers and
an annual operating budget of $435 million. He has served as CEO/President of four companies in the K-12 learning marketplace and as Managing Director of the School District Consulting Practice at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). Mr. Olchefske began his career at the investment firm Piper Jaffray, where he spent 12 years as an investment banker in the firm's public finance department. He holds a BA degree from the University of Chicago and a Masters degree from the Harvard Kennedy School. More information can be found at www.josepholchefske.com
David Andrusia is Executive Director of the March on Washington Film Festival in Washington, DC, whose fall festival and year-round programs advance racial equity and social justice through education and the media arts. In Los Angeles, he was head of marketing at Warner Bros. Discovery’s New Line Cinema, then held leadership roles at the Beverly Hills, Silver Lake, and DTLA Film Festivals. Earlier, he was a marketing executive at Revlon, Sanrio, and 20th Century Fox. David is the author of ten books, including the business titles Brand Yourself and The Perfect Pitch.
Dr. Pablo Correa is the Program Director and Assistant Professor of the Digital Media and Communication program at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, Connecticut. Correa specializes in digital media and documentary film with a special focus on the interests of minorities, especially Blacks and Hispanics in America. He served as cinematographer on the PBS film, Fannie Lou Hamer’s America, which received the 2022 International Documentary Association Award for Best TV Feature Documentary. Additionally, Correa works with the Emmett Till Interpretive Center hosting a youth Filmmaker’s Workshop which instructs and empowers Mississippi delta high schoolers to tell their own stories through media.
Veronica Herrera Lynch
Veronica Herrera Lynch is a proud “Angelino” who attended LAUSD schools from grades K-12. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Education from the University of Southern California, and received a Master’s Degree in English Language Arts from Cal State LA. She has worked in the Los Angeles Unified School District for over 35 years and has served as Elementary school Principal, School Administrator, Mentor, National Board Certified Teacher for grades K through 6 and has supported urban schools with multicultural and multilingual student populations. She is committed to providing equity for all students and amplifying student voices. She is currently the Transformation Director for Region East, and leads the Student Voice and Empowerment Unit.
Dr. Shen, Ed.D., directs the UCLA Community School Initiatives and UCLA’s university, state, and regional PK-16 partnerships. Her expertise in system-level instructional and organizational leadership with local, county, and state Departments of Education has resulted in large-scale school transformation in Los Angeles, including opening the first charter middle school and serving as a founding member of the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, the largest, in-district public school transformation organization in the United States that manages a network of LAUSD schools in Boyle Heights, South LA, and Watts.
Robert Raben is President and Founder of The Raben Group, a national public affairs and strategic communications firm based in Washington, D.C. His career spans more than three decades of professional experience as an attorney, senior Hill staffer, and Assistant Attorney General. Robert has formed eight nonprofit organizations, including the March on Washington Film Festival, under whose aegis the Equity Everywhere program is administered. Robert serves on several boards committed to justice and equity, including those of The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, the Unidos Action Fund, and former President Barack Obama’s My Brothers’ Keeper Alliance.
Kelly Cooney, M.S., is a learning engineer with the Center for Staff Life Design at Johns Hopkins University and an adjunct instructor with the Johns Hopkins University School of Education. Previously she served as an adjunct lecturer at the University of Maryland - College Park and the University of Kentucky - Lexington in biochemistry and nutrition. For several years she coached high school teachers and students as a science interventionist. Kelly uses a human-centered design thinking approach combined with Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as a social justice tool to develop active learning strategies that provide equitable learning opportunities for diverse learners.
DJ Johnson is an Associate Professor in the Division of Media Arts + Practice at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. He is a filmmaker and educator with over twenty years of experience in media education, specializing in media strategies for social change. DJ serves as Associate Director of Critical Media Project, a media education initiative at the intersection of critical pedagogy and critical media literacy. He has worked with universities and governmental institutions internationally to design media education curricula and implement media production training programs, particularly in the Middle East and West Africa.
Samah Sadig is a Sudanese-American PhD student at USC Annenberg's School for Communication and Journalism, focusing on representation and identity in Black and Muslim communities. With a Bachelor's degree in Media Studies from Emory University, she began her career with Teach for America (TFA), combating educational inequity. During the pandemic, Samah excelled as a 5th-grade teacher and received the Teacher of the Year award. After fulfilling her two-year TFA commitment, she embraced the chance to teach an 8th-grade Digital Media course. Samah's dedication to education and passion for inclusive representation drive her impactful journey.
Alison Trope, Ph.D., is a professor of communication at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, where she teaches a range of courses that explore the role of media in everyday life and culture. She is founder and director of Critical Media Project—a media literacy initiative focused on representation and identity across gender, race and ethnicity, socio-economic class, LGBTQIA+, disability, religion and age. Critical Media Project has been used in the Los Angeles Unified School District schools as well as other secondary and higher
education institutions across the United States.
LAUSD March on Washington Film Festival Pilot Teachers
Joseph Cohen is a Jewish CTE Video Production teacher at Eagle Rock Jr./Sr. High School where he promotes equity and social emotional learning through film by giving students a voice in the Directing for Change program, SkillsUSA, and various other film festivals. Joseph was born and raised in Los Angeles, attended public schools in LAUSD, earned bachelor’s degrees from Cal State Northridge, and earned his masters from UCLA. Joseph was also an actor prior to going into education appearing in film and television.
Born and raised in the small farming town of Guadalupe, California located on the Central Coast. Arturo attended UCLA where he earned a Bachelor's of Art in History and Chicano/a Studies in 2004. He also attended the Teacher Educational Program at UCLA earning his master's degree in education and a Bilingual Cross-cultural Language and Academic Development teaching credential (BCLAD) in 2008. Arturo has been teaching with LAUSD for 15 years, where he has taught social studies and most recently filmmaking courses at the high school level. Teaching film has awarded Mr. Ortiz the opportunity to teach and pass his passion for film to his students. As a culmination for the filmmaking course students celebrate their work with an annual film festival, which has been very successful in showcasing student work.
Rebecca Roe has worked in public schools from Oakland to LA since graduating from UC Berkeley in 1999. She has helped support the growth of the Franklin Dual Language Academy Magnet at the historic Franklin High School campus in Highland Park, Los Angeles for the last seven years. A passionate advocate for multilingual education, Rebecca believes that filmmaking is an invaluable additional language to build with her students so they can share their unique perspectives with the world.
Bob Walters is a bit of a Renaissance man; screenwriter, musician, director, actor, teacher, designer, and novelist. He holds an MFA from Savannah College of Art and Design and an BFA in communications from Western Illinois University. His play, Battle for the Standard, has been staged multiple times in LA, and he also published his first novel, Hadley, this year. He has been judging music competitions nationally for 20 years. Originally from the Midwest, he resides in Los Angeles where he teaches filmmaking, music, theater and speech/debate. He is currently working on his second feature film.
A produced screenwriter and teacher with over 20 years. experience, Matthew Waynee works in LAUSD at a Title-1 school, where he built its Film and Animation pathways from the ground up. He has written over $2.2M in grants and set up partnerships with DreamWorks, Nickelodeon, and USC. He has presented at dozens of conferences around the country and authored the first ever DOL & CA DAS approved Animation, Game Design & VFX Apprenticeship Program that launched in 2023. In 2016, he was honored to be selected as the National Magnet Teacher of the Year.