Our Founders

Esther Wojcicki, Founder/Board Member

Esther, arguably one of the world’s most well-known journalism teachers, taught journalism/English at Palo Alto High School in California for 27 years, retiring in 2020. She is a highly sought speaker on education reform and the power of project-based learning based on her TRICK (Trust, Respect, Independence, Collaboration, Kindness) method of teaching.

Esther began her journalism teaching career at Palo Alto in 1985 with 20 students and one newspaper. Since that time, she has grown the Paly program to more than 500 students, four additional journalism teachers, and five award-winning journalism electives: a newspaper (The Campanile), magazine (Verde), online (www.voice.paly.net), television (InFocus), and Viking, a sports magazine.

Esther was selected by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing as 2002 California Teacher of the Year. Over the past 20 years, Palo’s publications have won Gold and Silver Crowns from Columbia Scholastic Press Association, the PaceMaker Award and Hall of Fame Award from National Scholastic Press, and best in nation from Time Magazine in 2003. The website was honored with two Webby Awards in 2005.

She is board chair of Creative Commons, a nonprofit focused on education and learning; president of the Friends of the Lurdes Mutola Foundation, supporting girls’ education in Mozambique; a consultant for Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Hewlett Foundation; and on the Advisory Board for University of the People. She has authored two books, How to Raise Successful People: Simple Lessons for Radical Results (2019), and Moonshots in Education: Launching Blended Learning in the Classroom (w/Lance Izumi, 2014).

Tara Lynda Guber, Founder

A philanthropist, educator, and practitioner of yoga for nearly 40 years, Tara founded Yoga Ed, the nationally recognized yoga-in-schools program. Tara was a founding member of the board of directors of the Accelerated School, an internationally acclaimed K-12 charter public school in South Los Angeles. The Accelerated School housed the pilot program of Yoga Ed’s nationally recognized yoga curriculum for schools, creating a model to export to other public schools. The response to this program from children, teachers, and parents has been exceptional; all have seen marked and measurable improvement in mental focus, academic achievement, and social temperament. Yoga Ed is now the nationally recognized leader of yoga in school curricular programs.

In addition, she served as co-founder and President of the Hollywood-based 501c3, EDUCATION FIRST! Tara continues to support progressive and effective programs that are transforming classroom learning in communities of need.

Tara has authored several curricula and books, including Contact Yoga. In 2012, Peter and Tara Guber became part owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers; in 2011 they became part owners of the Golden State Warriors. Tara and her husband Peter Guber, CEO of Mandalay Entertainment Group, reside in Los Angeles, California.

Ed Madison, Co-Founder

Ed is a seasoned media professional with 30 years of distinguished work in journalism and entrepreneurship. His notable entree into journalism began as a high school intern at the Washington Post-owned CBS television affiliate in Washington, DC during the height of the Watergate scandal. After graduating from Emerson College at age 22, he was recruited as a founding producer by CNN. His own subsequent companies have provided services for most of the major networks and studios, including CBS, ABC, A&E, Paramount, Disney, and Discovery. Ed contributed to the success of many top-rated series that helped to define the lifestyle/travel television genre, including Lifestyles of the Rich & FamousA&E Top 10, and Entertainment Tonight.

He is the author of Newsworthy: Cultivating Critical Thinkers, Readers, and Writers in Language Arts Classrooms (2015), published by Teachers College Press – Columbia University. Ed holds a Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication (2012). As a tenure-track assistant professor at UO, Madison teaches multimedia journalism, media innovation, and digital publishing.

In 2011, Madison, Esther Wojcicki, and education consultant Michelle Swanson formed Media Arts Institute, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to deploy journalism projects at the elementary, middle, and high school level in Oregon. In 2015, they changed the name to the Journalistic Learning Initiative to better reflect the organization’s primary focus.

Scroll to Top