Children’s Media Faculty
Helen Sianos, MA – Coordinator, Children’s Media Program @ Centennial College
Professional Dreamer. Tech Savvy Educator. Creative Storyteller.
Helen Sianos brings over 17 years of national live, field, remote and studio broadcast television experience as a senior producer, writer, video editor and director with most of Canada’s top networks/broadcasters such as CTV, Global, CBC, Bell Media and Corus Entertainment. Her passion for children and youth programming in the broadcast arena lead to a fulfilling career working for CBC, YTV, and TELETOON.
At the CBC she was an interstitial writer, producer, director, and chase producer for the after-school block of programming. Helen booked a wide range of celebrities from the world of sports, music, film and television and worked with children who were then prepared for their on-camera interviews with the celebrities.
After YTV, the marketing department at TELETOON hired Helen. She was a promo producer, writer, non-linear digital editor, and director of live-action promos and multi-platform interstitial content for TELETOON and TELETOON Retro. She worked on campaigns for both the English and French specialty animation channels.
In 2010, she was one of only twenty broadcast media professionals across Canada who was awarded a scholarship to the CWC / Corus Digital Media & Technology Executive Development Program.
As faculty at Centennial College, she was a 2014 recipient of two President’s Spirit Awards at Centennial College. After becoming Coordinator for Children’s Media in 2016, the program, along with its faculty, received two awards. The first was the President’s Academic Gold Award for Overall Quality of Learning Experience for outstanding student satisfaction ratings for five consecutive years. The second was the President’s Academic Program Recognition Award for Quality of Learning Experience for outstanding student satisfaction rating in 2016.
Helen’s passion for children’s media and teaching the next generation of content creators, inspired her to continue her own life-long learning and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree at the University of Toronto, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE).
For more information about The Children’s Media Program, please contact:
• Helen Sianos, Program Coordinator
• email: [email protected]
• tel: 416.289.5000 ext. 8729
Suzanne Wilson began her career in 1993, and brings years of experience in children’s entertainment to the Children’s Media Program.
Wilson earned a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Radio and Television Arts from Ryerson University, and has worked for Breakthrough Entertainment, Playback Magazine, BBC Worldwide, Portfolio Entertainment, The itsy bitsy Entertainment Company, Lambur & Associates and the Chocolate Liberation Front in many aspects of the production, marketing and business affairs of children’s entertainment properties – from curriculum development to international distribution to licensing & merchandising – and has been involved with properties including the Teletubbies, It’s itsy bitsy Time!, Miffy, Domo-Kun and many others. During this time, Wilson also earned her MBA from York University’s Schulich School of Business.
Currently, she is children’s acquisitions officer for public broadcaster, TVOKids. Wilson brings a passion for the art of entertaining and engaging children to her role at Centennial College.
Lawrence S. Mirkin has produced over 200 television programs and has worked on many others as writer or executive story editor. These programs encompass many kinds of entertainment for children, families, and adults. His productions have appeared on NBC, PBS, and HBO in the United States, Showcase Television, CBC, CTV, and TVO in Canada, and variously around the world, winning or nominated for such diverse honors as the Emmy, the Gemini, the Ace, the Monitor, and the International Emmy, among others.
Mr. Mirkin had a long freelance relationship with Jim Henson, producing “Fraggle Rock” and “The Jim Henson Hour,” as well as consulting on many other projects, including the feature films “Labyrinth” and “The Witches.” With Jocelyn Stevenson he also produced the special features for each season’s Deluxe Box Set of “Fraggle Rock” (for The Jim Henson Company and HIT Entertainment.)
Mr. Mirkin is currently producing the North American production of “What’s Your News?,” a show created in the UK by longtime colleague Jocelyn Stevenson. “What’s Your News?” is a combination of sophisticated, motion-capture puppetry and live action with real kids. It is a co-venture between TT Animation (UK) and Lenz Entertainment (Canada) and will air in the fall of 2009 on the CBC. He also recently directed an episode of “Big and Small” for Lenz Entertainment and Kindle Entertainment (BBC/Treehouse) and co-wrote (with Patti Caplette) a stage play, “Franklin et les Aventures des Courageux Chevaliers,” based on the Franklin characters created by Paulette Bourgeois, which premiered in Paris in October 2008.
Mr. Mirkin co-created, produced and wrote a number of episodes of “Longhouse Tales” for Catalyst Entertainment (Toronto) and TeleImages (Paris). For Nelvana and Silver Lining Productions (NY), Mr. Mirkin wrote the Bible for two series based on award-winning U.S. children’s author Rosemary Wells’ works, “Timothy Goes to School” (PBS) and “Max and Ruby” (Nick Jr.). He executive story edited and wrote a number of episodes of “Weird Years” (Lenz Entertainment/YTV). His other writing for children includes episodes for the CBC/BBC/PBS/Catalyst series, “Noddy and Friends,” “Monster by Mistake” (YTV/ Buena Vista), “Time Blazers” (YTV/Discovery Kids), “Harry and His Bucketful of Dinosaurs” (CCI/Collingwood O’Hare/Cartoon Network), and a feature-length animated film for family audiences of “The Raccoons,” created and produced by Kevin Gillis, for broadcast on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Mr. Mirkin was also part of the original development team for “Dragon Tales” for Columbia/TriStar and the Children’s Television Workshop.
A citizen of Canada and of the United States, Mr. Mirkin received a B.A. degree from Yale College and an M.F.A. from the Yale School of Drama.
Therese Beaupre has written over forty episodes of children’s and family television. She has been the Head Writer on several series and has story edited over a hundred episodes of dramatic TV which have been broadcast on the CBC, BBC, NBC, Nickelodeon, YTV and Family Channel. She has worked in a range of youth genres including mystery, science fiction, action adventure and comedy.
Therese has been twice nominated for Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing in a Children’s Series for the teen sci fi series “Strange Days at Blake Holsey High.” She has also been nominated for three Canadian Screenwriting Awards and has received a Toronto Arts Council Literary Grant for a novel she is writing.
Therese has a B.A. from York University and an M.A. from the University of Toronto’s Graduate Centre for the Study of Drama.
A digital strategist and producer, Miriam Verburg has worked as a media literacy program director, project manager, and game producer for non-profits, agencies, and academic institutions for over a decade.
Her company Bloom Digital creates online and mobile products for children’s health and wellness, shaping experiences that help young people feel good about themselves and the world.
She is a member of the women’s gaming collective DMG-TO and Interactive Ontario.
Polly Beel is the Director of Marketing, Kids and Family at Phase 4 Films. She manages all Treehouse branded home entertainment for Canada and is responsible for all family features globally.
She was previously the head of Marketing and Licensing for DHX Media, where she managed all brands in the DECODE Enterprises’ distribution catalogue which includes programming from DHX’s production subsidiary’s Decode Entertainment Inc., Halifaxfilm and Studio B Productions as well as acquired third party series. Prior to DHX Media, Polly held several positions in commercial animation, feature film and primetime television.
Laurinda Shaver watched a lot of television as a child. Or so her mother told her. Twenty years later as a Creative Digital Producer and Social Strategist, she confidently claims it was simply research.
In her journey, she discovered her deep love of storytelling; starting in television (yes, there was no internet during her university years) and extended to digital media as soon as it was, well, invented. This puts her at an advantage to have the skill set to tell stories both in a linear fashion and in that other fashion too.
As a Creative Digital Producer, Laurinda produces websites, apps, games, content, social media and everything in between. Projects includes Primetime Plus, CBC’s second screen experience for the Sochi 2014 Olympics, and the social TV experience for Battle of the Blades. In addition, she has produced digital campaigns including Travel and Escape’s Operation Unplugged and CBC’s Canada’s Smartest Person. She also consults on digital and social strategies for media properties. She has a special passion for all things #digitalkids.
Laurinda’s television experience includes Manager of Original Productions at YTV, where she was a production executive on over 550 hours of original Canadian children’s programming. At Rogers TV she ran four community television stations, creatively produced multi-platform Chatelaine Tips and MoneySense Tips and oversaw 32 of the station’s websites. She also dedicated time to help build a startup, videoBIO, as Director of Production and New Media.
Laurinda still watches a lot of TV (um… gaming) with her five partners in crime (husband Chris, with her blended family of four kids). They claim their gaming is simply research.
A 10-year veteran of the interactive digital media industry, Sasha Boersma is an Instructor on marketing and interactive content for Centennial College’s Children’s Media post-graduate program, the Program Coordinator of the Interactive Media Management post-graduate program, and a guest lecturer in the Film and Broadcasting diploma program.
A graduate of Ryerson University with a BA in Radio and Television Arts and a certificate in Marketing Management, Sasha has produced internationally-distributed, award-winning interactive projects for children’s television series, including the Youth Media Alliance Awards of Excellence and Gemini Award-winning TasteBudsTV.com.
In addition to her work at the Centennial College, Sasha is an independent business consultant to the Canadian interactive industry, advising on the business management of interactive digital media studios, government policy for digital media content, funding proposals to government agencies and project feasibility assessments. She is also a member of the programming committee for Interactive Ontario’s INplay conference.