The Fred Rogers Company staff has experience and expertise in a range of disciplines, including child development, education, family dynamics, public policy, business, production in a range of media, technology, outreach, and more. Because our senior staff members worked side by side with Fred Rogers for many years, they are uniquely able to carry on his mission-- and to ensure that newer members of the staff understand the philosophy that guides the work.
Our staff is deliberately kept small. We complement in-house resources with strategic partnerships that enhance our effectiveness, broaden our reach, and deepen our ties to the constituencies we serve.
While our backgrounds and daily work differ, each of us is dedicated to The Fred Rogers Company mission of supporting the emotional and intellectual development of children and families—and each of us is proud to be part of this organization.
William H. Isler
Chief Executive Officer
"Fred Rogers gave generations of children his honest self, and he showed all of us that the gift of our honest self to a child—or to an adult—is the greatest gift we can give."
Bill Isler is a longtime professional educator and advocate for children. He began his career as a teacher and administrator, then joined the Pennsylvania Department of Education, where he served as Commissioner of Basic Education and Senior Program Advisor for Early Childhood Education. In addition to his leadership role at The Fred Rogers Company, he is Board President of the Pittsburgh Public Schools, and Executive Director of The Fred M. Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media at Saint Vincent College. Bill is the father of an adult son and is active in the community, serving on the boards of several nonprofit organizations.
Chief Operating Officer
"Fred Rogers had a unique ability to talk to children and was uncompromising in the way he used it. To continue his work with the company he founded is both a privilege and an exciting challenge."
Kevin Morrison, who joined The Fred Rogers Company in 2006, brought a lifetime of experience in television to the company. Since coming to the U.S. from England in 1986, he has run an animation company, a TV movie company, and a company specializing in family entertainment. He is a member of the film and television Academies, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and was a Churchill Fellow in public service broadcasting. The father of a teenager who grew up watching PBS Kids, he has also been an active parent volunteer at school. Kevin is Executive Producer of our new PBS children’s series Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood which launched in the fall of 2012.
Director of Marketing and Fulfillment
"It’s amazing how many people reach out for Fred’s special messages. I miss him, and it’s hard sometimes—but he knew he was well loved by everyone who came into contact with him."
Before joining The Fred Rogers Company in 1999, Lynn was the Volunteer/Referral Counselor for United Way of Allegheny County. In 2009 she received her Associate Degree in Business Management. Her current responsibilities include dealing with orders from PBS stations and consumers, managing requests from nonprofit organizations and ordering all office supplies. She is responsible for product inventory and customer databases and also provides office assistance to the staff. Lynn is one person you can always count on to help you feel good.
"I am honored to help carry on the initiatives started by Fred Rogers."
Bill Casey is a professional business financial manager, holding a BS in Business Management from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master of Science Degree in Taxation from Robert Morris College. Prior to joining FCI he was President and COO of a private oil & gas development and investment company in Pittsburgh and also the President and General Manager of a linked real estate development company. He is Judge of Elections in his voting district. His areas of responsibility include accounting, reporting and inventory tracking.
Cathy Cohen Droz
Director of Special Projects
"One of the things I most appreciated about Fred was his thoughtful concern about how every word communicated in a mass medium might be understood by each individual child or adult."
With a background in communications and television production, Cathy Droz joined The Fred Rogers Company to work on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, but soon became involved in the company’s non-broadcast initiatives. Since 1982, she has directed and coordinated a great variety of projects, including multiple books, brochures, and audio recordings; a planetarium program; a playspace installation at a mall; a hands-on children’s museum exhibit; and an interactive amusement park ride. Cathy is the mother of four children.
Director of Development
“Having grown up on Mister Rogers’ Neighbohood, I'm happy to continue learning from Fred Rogers and the people who worked with him and I'm proud to be advancing his values today.”
Alan Friedman is responsible for building the partnerships and securing the funding to make new initiatives at The Fred Rogers Company a success. Prior to joining the company, he directed the Institute for Social Innovation at Carnegie Mellon University and served as associate director of the university's Department of Foundation Relations. He holds a master's degree in public management from Carnegie Mellon and a bachelor's in English from U.C. Berkeley. He tries to keep Fred Rogers in mind while raising two spirited daughters.
Director of Public Relations
"Working with Fred Rogers was like receiving a master’s degree in child development. Fred taught by example, and he was subtle—but suddenly you’d realize that, after working side by side with him, your knowledge base had expanded almost beyond description."
With a background in English and theater, David Newell began working with Fred Rogers in 1967 to create the role of Mr. McFeely, the “speedy delivery” man on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. As Mr. McFeely, David makes personal appearances across the country. From the beginning, he has been the company’s Director of Public Relations for project promotion, media relations, and communicating with PBS stations. The father of three grown children, he’s a member of the Boards of Directors of several nonprofit organizations.
New Media Developer
"I think about the uphill battle Fred Rogers must have faced when he began - bringing a message of quiet nurturing to a new medium filled with noise and distractions. Knowing how well he succeeded encourages us as we work to bring Fred’s message to a new electronic media.”
Jack Rowley is responsible for using the latest electronic tools to reach new audiences and further the mission of The Fred Rogers Company. For the last six years, he was the webmaster for the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and is on the adjunct faculty at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh and La Roche College. Jack is a graduate of Carnegie-Mellon University, where he earned a Master of Fine Arts in Playwriting. He is the father of four and enjoys writing children's stories and composing music.
Coordinator of Training
"This company recognizes individual strengths, allows space and provides support for unexpected personal life events, yet holds fast on accountability. It operates successfully with soul."
Annette Santella holds degrees in health-related professions and child and family development. Before coming to Family Communications in 1999, she had worked in both the public and private sectors as a trainer, teacher, and consultant. Her work today involves managing statewide training projects, writing training materials, and often being a presenter at “train the trainers” seminars. She represents FCI on several local early childhood-related committees.
Director of Early Childhood Initiatives & Assoc. Director of Public Relations
"I feel incredibly privileged to have worked closely with Fred Rogers, and to work with this amazing team. The work has nourished me professionally—and also personally, as a mother and as a human being."
Hedda Sharapan, who holds a B.S. in psychology from Carnegie Mellon University and an M.S. in child development from the University of Pittsburgh, came to The Fred Rogers Company in 1966. She is responsible for communicating Fred Rogers’ philosophy in multiple ways: developing workshops for early childhood educators; working on books, articles, and brochures for parents, families, and professionals; and speaking around the country to educators, parents, religious, business and community groups. Her two daughters, she says, “in a very real sense grew up in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”.
“I feel honored to be a part of the organization that continues Fred’s work, and I’m proud that all of us carefully and thoughtfully carry Fred’s philosophy in our hearts and use it to guide what we do every day."
With a degree in Communications from Temple University, Brittany Smith began her television career just as Fred Rogers did: working as a page at NBC in New York City, in production and public relations. Returning home to Pittsburgh, she worked in child care, then joined The Fred Rogers Company in 1994. Brittany responds to the mail and e-correspondence from the company’s websites. She coordinates requests for photos, footage and music and does research in FRC’s extensive archives. She also helps promote projects and programs and assists in arranging Mr. McFeely's appearances. Brittany is an active member of several committees at her children's schools.
Director of Video Production and Special Events
"When I heard Fred say 'The child is in me still…and sometimes not so still,' it had a huge impact on me. It still resonates to this day, and I think it’s why I came so naturally to embrace Fred’s philosophy of respect for children and nurturing their social and emotional growth."
Margy Whitmer is an experienced media professional. She served as producer of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood while it was in production, is currently Project Director for two workshops. She is also The Fred Rogers Company’s liaison with PBS’s Ready To Learn initiative. Previously, she spent seven years at WQED-TV in production of local and national programs. A Chatham College graduate and holder of a teaching certificate, Margy is also an active volunteer in community organizations.