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.