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WFSU's Education Manager Receives Florida Public Media Janyth Righter Innovation Award

red muppet, blue muppet, and woman hugging
Tasha Weinstein
Tasha Weinstein and her Sesame Street pals.

July 26 – TALLAHASSEE, Fla. Today at the Florida Public Media annual meeting it was announced that Tasha Weinstein, WFSU Public Media Education and Engagement Manager was named the 2021 recipient of the Janyth Righter Innovation Award. The award honors those whose work is moving public media in Florida forward in new and innovative ways by looking at things differently and thinking out of the box. Established in 2017, the award is in honor of the groundbreaking work former Florida Public Media Executive Director Janyth Righter did to increase station collaboration and secure the financial future of Florida public media stations across the state.

Weinstein was selected for this award for her innovative response to delivering educational content to educators and families during the pandemic. A signature program for WFSU is the Summer Challenge, a program to prevent summer learning loss in young children. Weinstein produced a one-hour broadcast special around the theme of Mountains, Hills & Mounds that took children to various sites in the WFSU local area to learn about the geology of the region. She linked the content to digital resources and worked with partner organizations to build on the theme, guiding them to produce their own short videos. The videos have been rolled out during the summer over social media sites so that families could have a steady flow of ideas to use with their children during the summer. (Visit wfsu.org/summerchallenge.)

Another innovative program that Weinstein oversaw was to link the national PBS KIDS program, Molly of Denali, to the Muscogee people of Florida. She and her team created a “virtual” museum that provided a wealth of resources and information about local Native American people, their culture, history, and stories. Pivoting this project from an in-person “pop-up” museum to a virtual one allowed WFSU to reach more people. She developed a workshop model for educators to better understand how to use this resource. (Visit https://wfsu.org/molly.)

“Florida Public Media is delighted to honor Tasha Weinstein with this year’s award. She brings enthusiasm, passion, and a strong commitment to her job, to WFSU, and most importantly – to the parents, students, and teachers of the Big Bend area. She works tirelessly to tie the ongoing important work of PBS and WFSU to the Tallahassee community. Tasha is a nationally recognized leader in education, and we are fortunate to have her as part of our public media family. The award recognizes the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit among Florida Public Media members” states Patrick Yack, Executive Director of Florida Public Media.

WFSU Director of Content & Community Partners, Kim Kelling added, “Tasha is a dynamo who has taken the WFSU Education Program to new heights. Everything she approaches is done with the mindset of how we can be more effective in reaching underserved children and families. With a pandemic impacting in-person work for the past 16 months, Tasha has been instrumental in rethinking how we do our work and how we can engage the community. She has worked across all of our departments at WFSU to achieve that goal.”

About WFSU
WFSU Public Media provides quality public broadcasting services to the north Florida and south Georgia areas. WFSU Public Media is both an NPR and PBS member station, with both TV and FM housed together in one building near Innovation Park. In Panama City, WFSU Public Media is known as WFSG-TV and WFSW-FM. WFSU Public Media also provides community engagement and educational services. Examples include Ready To Learn Community Collaboratives for Early Learning & Media theAmerican Graduate Project and children's projects associated with PBS KIDS.

WFSU Public Media enriches lives and cultivates diverse perspectives by connecting our community through content and services that inform, educate, and entertain. WFSU's Education & Engagement team is comprised of educators and experienced media professionals with a desire to pair media with real-life experiences and hands-on learning while providing equity and access to education. wfsu.org/education

About Florida FPM
Florida Public Media is a non-profit association of 24 public radio and public television stations in the state of Florida. As the only statewide broadcasting network, we reach more than 99% of Florida’s population through traditional television and radio broadcasts, digital platforms, and community engagement activities. Our member stations and The Florida Channel are state partners in education initiatives, emergency management communications, and public affairs programming. Our collaborative efforts identify and sponsor regional and statewide projects that enhance community programs that serve the citizens of Florida.

Kim Kelling
Director of Content & Community Partnerships
WFSU Public Media