WHO WE ARE
Meet the Team
Our team is made of education professionals, creatives, and advocates expanding access to media arts education for Black youth.
Founder & President
Kyra is a multimedia artist, social entrepreneur, and instructional designer of creative, compelling, and culturally relevant learning experiences. Her storytelling background spans across various creative mediums including videography, photography, journalism, podcasting, and recorded music. She has the ability to create narrative-driven educational content that's visually and sonically engaging and supported by learning theories, research, and cognitive science.
As a Gates Millennium Scholar with a BFA in Recorded Music and a minor in Africana Studies, she has also received her MA in Digital Media Design for Learning, all from New York University. The opportunities and financial support that she's experienced along her journey have allowed her to understand firsthand the impact of investing in media arts education for Black youth; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UNCF did that for her. Now, with this nonprofit, Kyra is fulfilling her personal mission to pay her fortune forward to the Black community, starting in her hometown of Philadelphia.
Shelley connects individuals and businesses with media opportunities to tell their stories. She is the executive director for PSTV, the education channel for the Philadelphia school district—the 8th largest district in the country. From the ground up, with her multimedia and audio production experience, Shelley has built PSTV into a leading industry-standard multimedia environment for Philadelphia students. Her passion for teaching and mentoring youth is very prevalent in her work as she shares her skill sets with young people who may have never thought about an interest in media or never had the means to access such resources.
She comes to Philadelphia as a highly recognized collaborative change agent from Silicon Valley with an extensive global background in the nonprofit sector and the entertainment industry. Shelley has spent 20+ years working in community television through management, program development, teaching, and building out production studios in schools and individual production spaces. Working predominantly with students of color, in just under five years, she has had the chance to directly train over 800 underrepresented students in studio production through PSTV. She has provided classes and other resources at PSTV to nearly 7,000 students alongside a team of two others. She has also spent the last two decades working in the music industry on global campaigns featuring international talent. Through partnerships, technology, and media, she’s worked to bridge these industries.
Over the years, Shelley has received numerous awards for her work. Currently, Shelley sits on the Board of the Jamar Jones Institute and is also the CEO of her own company, Toolbox Entertainment & Strategic Consulting.
Melita Johnson is a Special Education Director in Alternative Education for Camelot Schools of PA. Although she has many years of experience working in education, 16 years, she is quick to let it be known that it is not a job, but a passion that she just so happens to get paid to do. Being able to give Black children the tools needed to make an impact in this world is a lifelong dream of hers.
Throughout the years, Melita has been a part of supporting the growth of many young talents through the arts. With a love for dance, music, photography, poetry and creative writing, she has had the opportunity to share experiences with her students and the many youth in which she has mentored over the years. Being a former athlete, running track since the age of 15, she started coaching as her children ran. Her oldest daughter is an Olympic Gold Medalist and World Champion. Her youngest is a former college athlete and a computer technology educator for middle school students. Melita believes that, “the arts and sports create a common language that’s understood in the Black community.”
Some of her former students, many of which she considers her “children,” range from professional cameramen to mainstream signed artists. Melita taught dance herself and also currently provides creative outlets for recovering addicts and those suffering from mental health issues. “To be able to see the fruit of the seeds planted has been an amazing experience!”
Meet the Instructors.
Our educational programming is led by Black professionals in the media arts who are passionate about sharing their knowledge with the next generation of storytellers.