Ignite Yearbook University 2020 Instructors

We are proud to announce our Keynote Speakers and Instructors for Ignite Yearbook University 2020.

Design – Kristi Rathbun

Kristi Rathbun, MJE advises The Black & Gold yearbook, The Rock newsmagazine and Rockmediaonline.org at Rock Canyon High School, Highlands Ranch, CO. A 2016 Gold Key recipient and 2014 JEA Distinguished Adviser, she currently serves as Vice-President of Colorado Student Media Association. For nearly 25 years, she has helped media students and advisers build successful programs in multiple media platforms around the country. Her students have earned All-Colorado Awards from CSMA, Crown and Medalist recognition from Columbia Scholastic Press Association and Pacemaker and All-American recognition from National Scholastic Press Association.

Design – Samantha Jo Berry

Samantha Jo Berry is the newspaper and yearbook adviser at Bridgeland High School. She is a former campus Teacher of the Year, Texas Association of Journalism Educators Pathfinder, and JEA Rising Star. Her students have earned TAJE, ILPC and ATPI awards as well as Crown and Pacemaker nominations. Samantha loves to teach staffs how to put the ‘fun’ in functional and is passionate about creating positive, creative classrooms. Her students describe her as “over-caffeinated” and “a magical unicorn.” She made that last one up in hopes someday they will say that.

Photography – Mark Murray

Mark Murray currently serves as the Director of Information and Instructional Systems for the Arlington Independent School District in Arlington, Texas. Prior to that, he taught photography at Lamar High School in AISD.

For the past 33 years, Murray has served as the President and now Executive Director for the Association of Texas Photography Instructors. The organization of high school photography teachers from Texas and other states annually sponsors photography and video contests for students and teachers.

He has taught workshops from Austria to Hawaii and everywhere in between. He has presented the Photoshop pre-conference workshop at the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention for more than 25 years. And he has worked with staffs around the country to improve their photography.

Murray is a Joseph M. Murphy and Gold Key recipient from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, a Pioneer Award winner from the National Scholastic Press Association, has been awarded the Carl Towley Award and Medal of Merit by the national Journalism Education Association, has been named a Trailblazer by the Texas Association of Journalism Educators, the Interscholastic League Press Conference in Texas has named him one of 75 Texas Legends of Scholastic Journalism and ATPI has presented him with their highest honor, the Star of Texas award.

Storytelling – Jen Bladen

Jen Bladen has been a yearbook professional since 1998: first as a high school adviser in San Diego, then as a sales representative for one of the nation’s largest yearbook publishers.

From 2006-2015, she taught at Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles, California. Where, she advised the Pacemaker Finalist and Silver Crown-winning Vox Populi yearbook, and was also the department head for the middle school communications department which included speech, debate, journalism and student government.

In 2015, she earned her Master of Education in Learning, Teaching and Curriculum from the University of Missouri and her Master Journalism Educator from the Journalism Education Association.

“I am lifelong learner in leadership education. It is my great passion to teach students, teachers, employers, employees how to communicate compassionately, delegate effectively and reach their fullest potential as individuals and a team.”

While Jen speaks about yearbook journalism and leadership at workshops and conventions across the country, she calls Tulsa, Oklahoma, home.

Mentor – Annie Green

Annie Green loves passionate people and she has a special place in her heart for those who are energized by strong graphic design and quality journalism. She’s been advising publications for 24 years in the greater Seattle area. She currently advises both online newspaper and yearbook at Glacier Peak High School. Her students have won Pacemaker awards, placed in the Best of Show at National Scholastic Press Association conventions as well as won Emerald Awards from Washington State. Green is a Certified Journalism Educator and a National Board Certified Teacher. She loves helping advisers and students create publications that exceed their expectations. Green is also a pottery aficionado who enjoys art, visits to the ocean and discussing big ideas over a glass of wine.

Mentor – Bruce Waterson

“I AM… committed to great yearbooks…done right. When I advised my first yearbook, I was clueless… I WISH… I had been more instinctive about my role as an adviser. When I finished my 20thyearbook, I realized I was no shaman. Ever since, I SHARE that I honestly have no magic, only a basic understanding of what it took to be an adviser. I no longer facilitate late work nights, I no longer hover over editors and computers with a stop watch at deadline. The more I advised, the more I supported students… I insisted on training students through workshops, summer camps, peer-training sessions, peer-editing sessions…inviting pros and yearbook reps to the classroom to share their skill sets. I AM grateful to still be able to reinforce the importance of student journalism. Simple as that.”

Mentor – Bernadine Judson

Bern has been teaching and advising yearbook for over 30 years including Diamond Bar High School, University of LaVerne and where she teaches currently, Etiwanda High School. In college, she majored in communications with a journalism emphasis but earned a teaching credential in order to share her passion for story-telling and photography with students. Her staffs have received awards at write-off competitions and on evaluation/judging of their books including a Silver Crown (if you like that sort of thing). She feels that the greatest yearbook accomplishment is selling out year after year. She also teaches broadcast journalism and Digital Filmmaking.

David - Marketing

Tech Training & Coach – David Honnold

David graduated in 1978 from Pittsburg State University with a degree in Printing Management. He went to work for Balfour the same year. David worked in the Dallas Headquarters as the Supervisor of The Estimating and Billing Departments. In 1983 he went to work in the College and University division and officed in the Balfour Chester County Pennsylvania Production Plant. David was awarded two PIA Awards the first in 1986 and the second in 1987. In 1988 David became the Regional Manager in the North East living in Connecticut and then moved to San Diego in 1993 as a yearbook representative. David has been a Balfour Scholastic Rep for the past 25 years handling class rings, caps and gowns and senior graduation products.

Tech Training & Coach – Carla Gonzalez

Carla has been with Balfour for three years in the Inland Empire. Prior to working at Balfour, she managed a jewelry counter at Sam’s Club for over 17 years and then worked doing inside sales for 10 years. Realizing that she needed a change, Carla saw the opportunity to join Balfour’s team. She hasn’t looked back ever since. She enjoys driving from school to school, meeting new people, and helping advisers, students, and administrators everyday.

“I hope to share my experiences and work with you and your kids in the future. I like to work with schools on creative marketing techniques and new ways for making the product you work so hard on every year get into more people’s hands.”

Tech Training & Coach – Karina Lopez

Karina is a veteran when it comes to Balfour. Karina started her connection with Balfour when she was the photo editor for her high school yearbook which was published by Balfour. Karina has been working for Balfour on and off for 10 years. Taking a break to have her son, Nicholas. Karina has experienced what it’s like to produce a book first hand, and the dedication it takes to have a successful yearbook. She has the skills and experience in working with students.

“I love working on yearbooks and take great pleasure in working with students hopefully I will have the opportunity to work with you!”

Coach – Amber Elder

Prior to joining Balfour, Amber served as a yearbook adviser on an elementary school PTO and produced several highly successful yearbooks. She attributes much of her success as an adviser to her partnership with Balfour.

“When the opportunity to join Balfour was presented to me, I was one of their customers and yearbook adviser. When I reflect on that moment, I can’t help but think that I was given such a gift. On a daily basis I get to pursue so many things that I am passionate about.

It’s extremely satisfying to work with schools, helping them commemorate their history and special memories. It’s an honor to be trusted with that.

My experience as an adviser gave me so much insight into what my customers face, and I just love being a part of making their yearbook experience better and brighter. I love what I do.”

Co-Director (Registrar & Curriculum) – Frank Ortiz

Frank started his journey into the journalism world his senior year of high school when he joined newspaper as a reporter and photographer. He also served as Senior Class President in ASB, planning school events and working on graduation. He continued on to become the residence life editor, and eventual editor-in-chief, of the La Letra yearbook at the University of Redlands. He graduated with his B.A. in Government in 2008.

Frank has been a yearbook representative for over 7 years, joining Balfour almost immediately after graduation. He has worked along side brand new advisers, award winning advisers, PTA groups and administrators. He loves working with students on their designs, taking their ideas and making them a reality.

“I love my job. It combines so many of my passions into one day to day activity. I get to work with young minds, help educators succeed and dabble in the world of graphic design. It is so much fun.”

Director – Corey Mundwiler

Corey having been a high school yearbook editor, college editor, mentor teacher, graphic designer, commercial print broker and yearbook publishing representative, Corey has immersed his life in the realm of yearbooks over the past five decades. As director of the summer yearbook workshops for more than 30 years, he has had the pleasure of working with the most creative and talented students, as well as the most dedicated advisers and instructors. He provides an insight into the printing process and combines many aspects of the commercial print industry into the printed yearbook.