As Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, Children's Media & Education, at PBS, Lesli Rotenberg is responsible for the strategic direction of a dynamic media service that supports the entire ecosystem in which children learn, including parents, teachers and the community, helping to prepare the next generation for success in school and in life.
With a focus on kindergarten readiness, Ms. Rotenberg leads a cross-disciplinary team charged with content production, digital development, multi-platform asset distribution, licensing, educational product creation and marketing and communications for PBS KIDS, the #1 children's educational media brand. Ms. Rotenberg has led the development and distribution of top-rated PBS KIDS media properties that help children ages 2-8 build science, literacy, math, critical thinking and social-emotional skills, among others.
Under Ms. Rotenberg’s leadership, PBS KIDS has extended its reach through mobile apps, over-the-top platforms and the launch of a PBS KIDS 24/7 channel and live stream, provided by local stations and available to more than 95% of US TV households. PBS KIDS also offers multiplatform parent resources to support children’s learning anytime and anywhere.
Ms. Rotenberg oversees PBS’ efforts to support and empower PreK-12th grade educators, helping improve learning outcomes for students across America. Ms. Rotenberg has positioned PBS and local member stations as key partners for teachers through content, community and professional learning resources tailored to their needs.
An educational media expert and frequent speaker on the topic, Ms. Rotenberg was named one of the nation’s top 15 “Women to Watch” by Advertising Age, and invited to participate in the prestigious FORTUNE Most Powerful Women in Business Forum. Ms. Rotenberg has received numerous honors, including six Emmy awards.
Linda Simensky, VP, Children’s Programming, PBS
As the Head of PBS KIDS Content, Linda Simensky collaborates with producers, co-production partners, PBS station programmers, and distributors throughout the development, production, post-production, broadcast and digital phases for PBS KIDS content. She leads the development of a multi-platform video content strategy, designed to respond to the quickly evolving media environment and meet the needs of current and future viewers. She spearheads new, experimental approaches for emerging platforms to engage kids and support their learning, developing a slate of content that represents the next generation of children.
Linda’s efforts in transforming PBS KIDS’ lineup for children over the past several years have brought PBS to the forefront of the children’s media space. The American public rates PBS KIDS as the most trusted educational media brand for children, and PBS KIDS programs consistently rank highly with moms and preschoolers. PBS KIDS has been named Channel of the Year in Kidscreen’s broadcasting awards for five out of the past seven years.
Since joining PBS in 2003, Linda has worked with renowned producers to develop hit shows that now reach 72% of all kids ages 2-8 in the U.S. – from DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD and DINOSAUR TRAIN, to WILD KRATTS and ODD SQUAD.
Before joining PBS, Linda was Senior Vice President of Original Animation for Cartoon Network, where she oversaw development and series production of "The Powerpuff Girls," among others. She began her career working for nine years at Nickelodeon, where she helped build the animation department and launch the popular series "Rugrats," "Doug" and "The Ren & Stimpy Show." Linda is a frequent speaker and writer on the topic of children’s programming; she has presented at numerous animation and television conferences and her work has appeared in several books on animation and children’s media. She also teaches a course on “Contemporary Issues in Animation” at the University of Pennsylvania.
Sara DeWitt, Vice President, PBS KIDS Digital
Over the last 18 years, Sara DeWitt has worked at the forefront of new digital platforms, in an effort to be everywhere kids are: from websites and mobiles apps to streaming video, augmented reality, 3D-rendered experiences, and wearable technologies. As VP of PBS KIDS Digital, she oversees the Kidscreen- and Webby-award winning pbskids.org website, PBS KIDS streaming video services, the PBS KIDS portfolio of educational apps for children, and the PBS KIDS for Parents digital experiences. Most recently, Sara led her team through the development of the PBS KIDS 24/7 digital live stream, an integral part of the new PBS KIDS 24/7 services launched in January of 2017. In 2014, she was named one of the top 42 Women Leading in Education by the USC Rossier School of Education, and was selected as one of the Top Women in Digital by Cynopsis Media in 2016 and 2017. Most recently, Sara gave a TED Talk about the potential media has to positively affect learning.
Before her career in public media, DeWitt worked as a preschool teacher, a management researcher, and studied media habits of children in rural areas of the United States. She holds a BA and an MA in English from Stanford University, and holds a certificate from the University’s Children, Society, and Public Policy curriculum. She is also a military spouse who has moved with her husband and two young sons four times in the last five years. They currently live in Alexandria, Virginia.