A dedicated team of educators, educational product developers, and parents of, or aunts and uncles to, young learners.
Jamie West began her career as a classroom teacher in Austin, Texas. Since then, she has spent more than 20 years contributing to the development of core and supplemental reading and literature programs with a focus on accelerating content knowledge acquisition and academic language proficiency among striving readers and English learners.
Various professional and personal experiences culminated in the founding of the Johnnie Max bilingual literacy program, including collaborating with leading bilingual and English learner experts as Editorial Manager of Bilingual Programs at Pearson Education, serving as Editorial Director of PreK–12 Reading, Literature, and Language Arts at McGraw-Hill Education, supporting literacy development for early learners as Editorial Director at Brookes Publishing, and working as Senior Vice President of Product Development at MPS North America.
Last, but not least, the personal philosophy of Jamie’s dad, the program’s photographer, had a profound and lasting impression on her. He instilled the value of respect for the environment and its inhabitants as he raised her, and later, through his photography. She wanted to share his vision, and combined with her experience as an educator and publisher, Johnnie Max was founded.
Michael Morley, MEd., is a former primary school teacher in a school that served inner-city children in Boston, and a highly experienced educational publisher. As an executive at top publishers, he has helped create dozens of print and digital programs for millions of students. He brings over thirty years of experience in creating learning experiences for children to the Johnnie Max program.
His career has taken him to places as diverse as China, where he led the curriculum development for a joint-venture between McGraw-Hill and New Oriental, and Saudi Arabia, where he presented on literacy instruction to the Ministry of Education. Whether answering questions about teaching phonics in Riyadh or discussing early childhood development with the CEO of a major pre-school company in Beijing, his experience has given him a deep understanding of the challenges we all face when trying to create meaningful learning experiences for children.
Among the executive positions Michael has held over the years are Publisher, Triumph Learning; Vice President of Curriculum, Educational Services, McGraw-Hill International & School Education Group; Vice President Alternative Reading & Language Arts, McGraw-Hill School Education Group; Senior Vice President and Publisher, Sundance/Newbridge Publishing; and Executive Editor, Reading & Language Arts, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Cherie Bon is an independent illustrator-slash-graphic-designer who lives her life spread across Jakarta-Ubud-Auckland. For about 10 years now, she has been involved in various design and illustration projects for both startup and established brands while being on the move among the two cities and one village.
Although she has been raised in Indonesia, been educated in Australia and has moved to New Zealand afterwards, most of her clients are based in the US—creating an interesting professional network across the southern and northern hemispheres. She is happily creating the visuals for Johnnie Max’s adventures in these series.
When not caught in the middle of an illustration project, she spends most of her time fiddling with a leather craft project and getting her fingers accidentally stitched, being buried in books or working on her latest language project with a cat purring on her lap.
She is now based mainly in New Zealand where extravagant nature is available in abundance at her doorstep.
Andrea Tompkins holds an MSEd and Certification in ECE and began her career as a preschool teacher. She has devoted many years to developing innovative and engaging educational programs and publications for young children that fill critical voids in early childhood education and child development.
Andrea’s work has involved cultivating strategic national and international educational partnerships and creating compelling community and transmedia outreach. Her work supports the holistic development of children, including social, emotional, physical, and cognitive growth, and she is committed to providing opportunities from dynamic multi-media content, impactful delivery platforms, and interactive extensions for teachers and parents.
Among the positions Andrea has held are Director of Educational Outreach an Strategic Relations, Zula International; Lead Education Coach/Head of Education Department—Children, Youth, and Family Collaborative; Lead Education Outreach Investigator and Consultant, Nelvana; National Education Consultant, Frog Street Press; and Educational Media Consultant and Producer, PBS.
Throughout her career, Linda Koons has achieved prominence as an educator, writer, and publisher. Linda has extensive experience working with teachers and parents to bring high-quality literacy instruction to schools and the home and has been a longtime advocate and spokesperson for early childhood education.
As a leader in the education publishing industry, Linda has spearheaded the development of many influential research-based literacy programs that have touched millions of students by improving reading achievement. Linda has also collaborated with major universities, government agencies, and national education organizations to promote efficacy in literacy instruction through professional development.
Among the executive positions Linda has held over the years are Senior Vice President of Publishing, Scholastic Education; Senior Vice President and Chief Product Officer, Carson-Dellosa Education; Executive Vice President and Publisher, Haights Cross Communications; Vice President and Publisher, Scholastic Early Childhood; and Director of School Product Development, Disney Media and Education.
Linda lives in Chapel Hill, NC with her husband and two fun-loving Labradoodles.
Dr. Lorea Martínez
Dr. Lorea Martínez is the founder of HEART in Mind Consulting & Adjunct at Columbia University Teachers College; author of the EQ Educator. Lorea supports schools and organizations as they integrate SEL in their programs, products and learning communities, and works with Learning Policy Institute, Six Seconds, Hispanic IT Network, and public, private, and charter schools.
Randy Locklair is a software architecture and software development consultant with over 23 years of experience developing web, mobile, and server applications. Randy lives in Brooklyn, NY, with his wife and preschool-aged daughter. He is a certificated pilot, musician, and cyclist, and proudly serves on the board of multiple NYC area non-profits (including his daughter’s elementary school PTA!).
Lana Cruce is an elementary school teacher at a small independent school in Bloomington, Indiana, where she lives with her husband, two kids, dog, and chickens. This school year marks her 11th year teaching since receiving her Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from Indiana University, and her experience ranges from preschool through 5th grade. In her free time she loves to travel, spend time in nature, and make things.
Rosario Canul is a primary teacher at a small school in Isla Mujeres, Mexico, where she was born and lives with her family and pets. This year marks her 7th year as a teacher since receiving her teaching certification. During her tenure, she has taught 1st through 6th grades in primary and elementary schools. In her free time, she loves to go to the beach, spend time with her family, explore wonderful places in her state, and practice the Mayan language.
Thank You to These Program Reviewers
The following educational experts provided feedback that informed the development process.
Sarah Sprinkel, MAT
Blended Learning Early Childhood Education Consultant
MAT, Early Childhood, Administration and Supervision
Tamar Jacobson, PhD
Early childhood development and education consultant for early childhood programs, organizations, and families
PhD, Elementary and Early Childhood Education
Donna Knoell, PhD
International Educational and Technology Consultant, Instructional Specialist, Nonfiction Literacy Expert, Early Childhood Specialist
PhD, Elementary Education and Teaching
Shawnee Mission, KS
Karen Davis Platt, MEd
Early Childhood Trainer, Coach, and Program Leader
MA, Early Childhood Education from Concordia
Washington, DC; Raleigh-Durham, NC
Karen Parrino, MEd
Kindergarten teacher, NBCT
MEd Curriculum & Instruction and Reading Specialist
Baton Rouge, LA
Deborah Jones, MLIS
Librarian & Library Media Specialist
MLIS. Master of Library and Information Science
Cypress Fair ISD, Houston, TX
And a Special Thank You to . . .
our multi-talented graphic designer/web designer.
Print & Digital Media Designer
Nick Morley Art & Design, LLC
Ann Arbor, MI