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Deep History, Broad Impact

Founded in 1996, we have evolved from a grass-roots initiative focused on schools in Upstate NY to an internationally acclaimed organization that works with education leaders from around the world.

20,000 +
Educators Served
20 +
Years of Experience
500 +
Free Lessons & Activities
160 +
Countries Reached

Meet the Team

We are a passionate group with a shared dedication to enhancing learning through media literacy. As a collective, we have extensive expertise in teaching about curriculum design, research, media production, psychology, social studies, environmental education, and project management.


Cyndy Scheibe, Ph.D.

Executive Director and Founder

Cyndy founded project Look Sharp in 1996 and has been executive director ever since.  Cyndy oversees all aspects of the initiative including budget, operations, and relations with Ithaca College.  Cyndy Scheibe is a relentless advocate for media literary and the perpetually racing heart of Project Look Sharp.

Cyndy is the co-author of the book The Teacher's Guide to Media Literacy: Critical Thinking in a Multimedia World (2012, Sage/Corwin) and the reference guide Media Literacy in Every Classroom (2017, ASCD) with Faith Rogow, and Teaching Students to Decode the World (2022, ASCD) with Chris Sperry. She is also Dana Professor of Psychology at Ithaca College where she has taught courses in developmental psychology, media research, and media literacy for more than 35 years. Cyndy was a founding board member of the National Association for Media Literacy Education and is a contributing editor to Project Look Sharp curricula, and co-author of the Critical Thinking and Health kit. She received her Ph.D. in Human Development (1987) from Cornell University.


Chris Sperry

Director of Curriculum & Staff Development

Chris has been co-directing Project Look Sharp with Cyndy Scheibe for the last 2 decades.  He oversees PLS’ lesson development (with his brother Sox and our collaborators), and PLS’ professional development work with educators across the state, nation and world.  As a classroom teacher for over 40 years Chris developed the methodology of Constructivist Media Decoding that is core to the PLS approach to media literacy integration.  Chris currently directs Project Look Sharp’s Librarians as Leaders for Media Literacy (ML3) initiatives. 

Chris taught middle and high school social studies, English and media studies for over 40 years at the Lehman Alternative Community School in Ithaca, New York. He is the author of numerous curriculum kits related to global studies and U.S. history and he is co-author (with Cyndy) of Teaching Students to Decode the World: Media Literacy Across the Curriculum (2022, ASCD).  He has also delivered hundreds of media literacy workshops, classes, and keynotes for educators in the U.S., Turkey, Iran, India, Kenya, Panama and Bhutan. Chris is the recipient of the National Council for the Social Studies 2008 Award for Global Understanding, and the 2005 National PTA and Cable Leaders in Learning Award for Media Literacy. Chris has a B.A. in planned studies from Ithaca College (focused on media literacy) and an Ed.M. in human development from Harvard University School of Education. 


Sox Sperry

Curriculum Writer & Trainer

Sox is Project Look Sharp’s primary curriculum writer, authoring the majority of PLS’ 800+ media decoding lessons.   He has developed and taught PLS courses on Teaching Challenging Topics and keeps us focusedon issues related to social justice, identity and climate disruption.

Sox began his career as a teacher and curriculum designer for a school devoted to engaging students in critical reflection and action on social issues. He spent the next several decades teaching nonviolence with teens and adults who had been arrested for violence. Sox began curriculum work with PLS in 2004 and is transitioning towards retirement by supporting a new generation of curriculum collaborators at PLS.   He is curator of the educational website - provensustainable,org  - which highlights the wisdom traditions of earth-centered Indigenous and Maroon communities around the world.” 


Tracy Mack

Administrative Coordinator

Tracy began her work with Project Look Sharp in 2022 supporting our lesson creation. She has grown her role to coordinate many aspects of the project including editing and posting all our lessons, creating newsletters, graphic design, and maintaining the organizational budget.

Tracy has a long career as a school librarian, including working directly with diverse student populations; providing web, database, automation and collection support to multiple school districts; and automating and modernizing multiple libraries. In addition to her work with PLS, Tracy is currently the District Librarian for Corinth Central School District.


Ari Kissiloff

Technical Consultant

Ari is Project Look Sharp’s lead consultant for our website, promotion and outreach. Ari works on a broad range of issues for PLS including website operations, search engine optimization, kit construction, and grant support. He is working with Chris on outreach and promotion for the ML3 initiative to school librarians and preservice programs in 50 states as part of the IMLS grant. Ari is an Assistant Professor at the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College, teaching courses in presentations, design, web and Internet of things technology, video, and National Parks.



Ryan Party

Ryan Carty

Technical Assistant

Ryan is a Junior Emerging Media Major and Intern of Project Look Sharp from Bronx, NY. He has a minor in Animation and a passion for 3D creation and Motion Graphics. At Project Look Sharp, Ryan digitizes, edits, and captions videos, creates and edits handouts and updates the Project Look Sharp website. His passions include biking, card games, and Caribbean cooking.



Faith Rogow, Ph.D.

Media Literacy Education Maven

Faith has been an advisor to Project Look Sharp since before it was born. Over the years she has served as both a formal and informal consultant and evaluator. Faith and Cyndy wrote The Teacher's Guide to Media Literacy: Critical Thinking in a Multimedia World (Corwin 2012), and Media Literacy in Every Classroom (an ASCD Quick Reference Guide, 2017). Most recently Faith was the evaluator for the 2-year New York State ML3 initiative.

Faith is a curriculum developer, professional development provider, and media literacy strategist, known for creative yet practical approaches to teaching, and for groundbreaking work in developing media literacy education that is developmentally appropriate for early childhood. She is the author of the book Media Literacy for Young Children (NAEYC, 2022).  Faith was the founding President of the National Association for Media Literacy Education, a founding editorial board member of the Journal for Media Literacy Education, and a co-author of NAMLE's Core Principles for Media Literacy Education in the U.S.  She is also a discussion guide writer with a reputation as a "go to" person for handling controversial topics like racism, social justice, homophobia, human rights abuses, and more. Her favorite discussion prompt for films is: “What did you learn that you wish everybody knew? What would change if everyone knew it?” According to Faith, “The questions reflect my core pedagogy which, like PLS’s is centered around inquiry and reflection, and connecting insight to action.”


Susan Allen

Faculty at the University of Buffalo's school library certification program

From September 2021-2023, Susan was Project Coordinator for Project Look Sharp’s New York State ML3 initiative, Librarians as Leaders for Media Literacy. She helped develop lessons, coached the 19 school librarians who were members of the ML3 group, helped in the early development of the online class and served as a general consultant on things dealing with school libraries and school librarians. Susan continues consult with Project Look Sharp’ about school librarian preservice education

Susan has been a librarian of one type or another for 51 years. For 28 years she was a school librarian at the Nichols School in Buffalo, NY. During her employment at Nichols, she was a Middle School librarian, an Upper School Librarian and Director of Libraries. During certain time periods responsibilities included Director of Technology, and Director of Academic Technology. Retired from Nichols, she continues to be committed to ensuring student achievement and engagement via the school library, but the focus is more at the pre-service level. She has developed and teach graduate courses on collaboration between teacher and librarian, emerging technology for educators, applying web applications to libraries, computer applications for the school library media center, and curricular role of school librarians as well as differentiation through use of primary sources. The teaching has been done at University @ Buffalo, University of Canisius, Niagara University and Clarion University.


Louise Holmes

Online Learning Consultant

Louise is Project Look Sharp’s lead consultant for online learning. She has helped PLS develop numerous media literacy courses Most recently she has co-developed the hybrid course on Constructivist Media Decoding with Cyndy Scheibe and will be helping to adapt this to a national audience.

Louise is Principal Consultant for The Strategic Learning Group, working with client organizations to extend their reach and impact through online and hybrid education and training. In addition to her work for PLS, Louise has developed online courses and PD for Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Dell, Cornell University, Weill Cornell Medical College, Texas Hospital Association, Unum Insurance, Pitney Bowes, GISC, Harcourt, the Princeton Biofeedback Centre, and the American Management Association (AMA). Louise has a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and an ICF Coaching Credential earned in 2017.



Ayşe Asli Sezgin Büyükalaca

Associate Professor of Communication Sciences at Çukurova University, Turkey

Asli was at Ithaca College studying with Project Look Sharp as a TUBITAK Scholar for post-doctoral research in media literacy from February 2023 through September 2023. During that time Asli collaborated with PLS on articles for the Journal for Media Literacy Education, for an upcoming book on media literacy in Turkey, and on plans for applying the Constructivist Media Decoding approach to schools in Turkey.

Aslı is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Communication, the Department of Communication Sciences at Çukurova University /Turkey. She completed her undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate degrees at Gazi University, Faculty of Communication, Ankara / Turkey. Her research interests lie in media literacy, ecomedia literacy, higher education, new media, network society, communication technologies, social media, and political communication. Her teaching interests include sociology, media and communication studies, and corporate communication. She was the director of the project titled “Social Media Aspects of Institutional Profiles of Universities: Separation of State and Foundation Universities” supported by TÜBİTAK-SOBAG in 2017 and the project titled "Eastern Mediterranean Region-Osmaniye Province Media Literacy Awareness Project" funded by the US Embassy in 2020.

I was very impressed to learn in detail about CMD developed by Project Look Sharp and implemented this technique in different subjects in the curriculum. Taking this method into consideration, I would like to carry out new studies on media literacy in Turkey in collaboration with Project Look Sharp.


Bridget Crossman

Librarian for Lake George Elementary School in upstate New York

Bridget was one of 19 school librarians across New York State that participated in the ML3 initiative from 2021-2023. Since that program Bridget has led a ML3 cohort group in upstate New York, presented on CMD at conferences and workshops, co-wrote articles for professional journals, and authored the PLS lesson - Our Changing Planet: Climate, SEL, and Media Literacy for Our Youngest Students. Bridget is currently an Advisory Committee member for the national ML3 initiative, leading a PLS hybrid CMD training for the Lake George Central School District, and helping to lead the development of media literacy standards for her district.

For the past 13 years I have been the librarian at Lake George Elementary School in upstate New York. I have had the luxury of leading a library program that runs on a flexible schedule, which allows for me to meaningfully integrate literacy skills into the classroom curriculum. I stumbled upon the work of Project Look Sharp (PLS) at a Conference in 2019 and was awed by the questioning strategies they used to engage participants in deep analysis and reflection of media. I was invited to participate in the ML3 initiative which has not only changed my teaching practices, but also the teaching practice of those I collaborate with. As a result, it has reshaped and enhanced the learning experiences of our students even at the youngest level. It has been refreshing to watch students shift from being passive consumers of media to active consumers of media, who now approach media equipped with questions that allow for deeper analysis and informed consumption. Together we are enhancing teaching and learning experiences through the thoughtful development of critical thinking and analysis of media using the CMD approach. I am so proud to be a part of the incredible work of Project Look Sharp.


Sharon Fox

Librarian for Temple Hill Academy in the Newburgh NY School District

Sharon was one of 19 school librarians across New York State that participated in the ML3 initiative from 2021-2023. Since that program Sharon has led a year-long ML3 cohort group in the Hudson Valley region. She has authored a series of PLS lessons about Choosing the Right Book for lower and upper elementary. Sharon is also the manager for the ML3 Facebook Group for librarians to connect around constructivist media decoding.

Sharon is currently a K-6 librarian in the Newburgh School District. She is best known in the library world for her lesson plan templates (, Sharon has presented at NYLA, NYLA/SSL, NYSCATE, multiple BOCES, and at family dinners when information literacy interventions were necessary. Prior to her library life, Sharon was doing marketing and education for a performing arts center. Sharon earned her MSLIS from Syracuse University (2010) and graduated from Binghamton University (2005) where she majored in Creative Writing.

Since my participation with Project Look Sharp began, my teaching has drastically changed to be much more student-centered at its core. Media Literacy lessons have allowed for a much deeper understanding of class material but also of classmates' perspectives. I have had the opportunity to foster a true love of curiosity and information seeking because of PLS's techniques which has transformed my library programming overall.

Giving students the skills to decode the information around them makes them much more efficient participants online and much more discerning of which media to share and spread. Being able to write some lessons, especially for early elementary students, has further expanded my own ability to guide others through truly thinking about the media they consume and the reactions they may have towards different messages. I am so honored to be part of PLS and I am excited to continue to bring these skills to both my students and colleagues.


Maureen Gilroy

Teacher Librarian, Fall Creek School, Ithaca, NY

Maureen has collaborated with Project Look Sharp in creating media decoding lessons including: Benefits And Costs Of Using Plastic Shopping Bags, and Ban the Bag or Not? What Else Should We Know? I am a teacher-librarian at Fall Creek Elementary School in Ithaca N.Y. and teach weekly classes to students Pre-K to grade 5. I work closely with classroom teachers in order to connect what they are doing in the classroom to the lessons I teach in the library. I became fascinated with the work Project Look Sharp was doing when I went to a presentation given by PLS. I followed up that summer with an intensive week-long workshop that was one of the best Professional Development opportunities I have ever had.

My passion is to get students to ask questions about what they read and about what is happening in the world around them. Project Look Sharp gave me the skills and language to look at media with a different lens and showed me how interesting and fun and dynamic it is to do this with colleagues and students. Now I am able to use this training and lens to work with teachers in my school to teach students to reflect on what they see and hear and to have strategic questions at the ready when viewing, reading and listening to media.

Using what I learned from Project Look Sharp’s workshops and website has enhanced my knowledge about what goes on in the world and sharpened my teaching skills. Because of the skills and knowledge I have gained from Project Look Sharp I am able to engage students and teach them to ask pointed questions about a range of topics we are studying in Elementary school using PLS lessons about the Environment (Throwaway Culture: to Buy or Reuse?) to the Revolutionary War (Phillis Wheatley’s Poem about Freedom and Slavery). Questions that include: Who made this message? Who was this message made for? Who was harmed or helped by this message? Who was left out of this message? Whose stories are included? Whose stories are forgotten? The work that we do to answer these basic questions have opened up a world of research, discussion and reflection for my students, the teachers I work with and for me.


cindy kramer headshot

Cindy Kramer

8th Grade Social Studies teacher, Boynton Middle School, Ithaca City School District

For more than two decades Cindy has collaborated with Project Look Sharp on numerous projects. She is the co-author of seven lessons in the curriculum kit: , PLS lessons about climate, including: Teaching About Climate Change: Why Does the Source Matter?, Climate Change: Do Corporations Have an Obligation to Share Their Research Findings for the Public Good?, and What is the Role of the Federal Government in Protecting the Environment?, and other media decoding lessons about public policy including: The Public Trust - Doctrine Government's Role in Protecting Natural Resources for the Future, and Is There a Future in Oil?

Since my participation in a Media Literacy Institute 20 years ago, Project Look Sharp has been inspiring and supporting my teaching through numerous workshops and curriculum materials! One of my main goals as a Social Studies teacher is to engage students in learning experiences that help them to become thoughtful and empathetic participants in their communities and the world. Media literacy activities invite students to make meaning of issues and events through analysis and stimulating class discourse. The constructivist approach utilized by Project Look Sharp builds student confidence and validates their insights.

I believe media literacy is essential to education in a democratic society. As a Social Studies teacher, I attribute my commitment to media literacy as a key component of the history course I teach to Project Look Sharp. PLS’ curriculum materials help students to deepen their understanding of the complexity of historical events and contemporary issues. I have incorporated media literacy activities into every stage of the learning process including introducing the main ideas of a unit, exploring multiple perspectives on an issue, and assessing students’ ability to use evidence from primary sources. The media literacy activities developed by Project Look Sharp encourage participatory learning and support inquiry and reflection.

My involvement with Project Look Sharp as a workshop participant and curriculum writer has enriched my learning and fostered professional friendships that continually challenge my thinking and improve my teaching. If you have the opportunity to attend a workshop offered by Project Look Sharp…do it! And, check out the abundance of curricular materials that are designed to be easy to incorporate into your curriculum. Media literacy activities serve as a catalyst for student engagement, spark in-depth conversations, and nurture critical thinking skills. Students whose educational experience includes media literacy activities will be better prepared to be active and informed participants in society.


Mary Kate Lonergan

8th Grade Social Studies Teacher, Eagle Hill Middle School, Fayetteville-Manlius, NY

Mary Kate has been authoring PLS lessons for middle school social studies including: Migrant Mother: Photos as Fact or Opinion and Rosie the Riveter: Depiction of Women During WWII, with more lessons on the way. She is featured in a series of PLS demonstration videos leading her students through constructivist media decodings including: January 6, 2021: Newspaper Front Pages (9 min.), Gender Stereotypes and Google Algorithms (6 min.) and Interpreting Charts of Media Use: Gen Z vs. Boomers (5 min). Mary Kate is one of only two classroom teachers on the national ML3 Advisory Committee.

I was first introduced to Project Look Sharp as an undergraduate student in social studies adolescent education at SUNY Fredonia, and have come to embrace the Project Look Sharp philosophy which revolutionized my teaching. I attended Project Look Sharp’s summer training seminar "Constructivist Media Decoding in the Social Studies" in Washington, DC and also completed Look Sharp’s online professional development course titled "Learn to Confidently Facilitate Challenging Topics in the Classroom Using the Skills of Media Literacy."

Mary Kate empowers students to critically engage with media and information by making media literacy the heartbeat of her Social Studies curriculum. She has developed and implemented media and digital literacy professional development courses and has presented at conferences from the national to local levels. She is a KQED Media Literacy Innovator and is a faculty member of the Media Education Lab’s Institute in Digital Literacy. She serves as a board member for the Central NY Council for the Social Studies. Mary Kate has written media literacy centered lessons to support Ken Burns' films that have been featured on PBS LearningMedia including Benjamin Franklin and The U.S. and the Holocaust along with other media literacy centered lessons in support of PBS' The Bigger Picture series and other PBS productions.


David Rhodes

8th Facing History and Ourselves Program Associate

David worked with Project Look Sharp for many years before he left Ithaca for a master’s program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and his current work with Facing History. During his time in Ithaca David supported the development of a PLS online course focused on difficult conversations in the classroom, he coordinated a collaborative workshop that brought together PLS and Facing History, and he authored the PLS lesson: Responding to Global Problems: Analyzing Keys to Success and Recipes for Failure. My first exposure to Project Looks Sharp (PLS) was a week-long summer institute in 2013 where I learned the fundamental skills associated with constructivist media decoding. As an 8th-grade social studies and Spanish teacher in Corning, NY, for 8 years I consistently integrated the PLS pedagogy to help students build media literacy skills and habits of mind associated with thoughtful inquiry and informed civic action. In the context of middle school education and professional development with adults, I have consistently seen how PLS pedagogy and resources foster strong-sense critical thinking grounded in deep reflection on bias, blindspots, and credibility. In my classroom, constructivist media decoding and independent research projects related to pressing issues of social justice were the vehicles for participants to build an awareness of meaning-making processes, contribute their own voices to the meaning making process, and seek to understand the diverse perspectives of others. I believe this sort of learning experience is transformative for teachers and students alike because it is truly grounded in inquiry and curiosity, illuminating ways to engage more thoughtfully with the world around us.



Our Funders

Our work would not be possible without the deep and ongoing support of the Park Foundation and Ithaca College, as well the many contributors who have funded the development of curriculum kits, lessons and professional development activities.

Additional supporters include:

Booth Ferris Foundation
Schumann Center for Media & Democracy
Institute for Museum and Library Services
New York State Department of Education
New York State BOCES
Library of Congress
U.S. Department of State
National Council for the Social Studies
Einaudi Center for International Studies at Cornell University
Linden Center for Creativity and Aging
Ithaca City School District

We're so grateful for all the schools, districts, organizations, government groups and NGOs that have made our professional development throughout the United States and abroad possible!