President and Chief Executive Officer
Bert Schmidt has been a leader in public media for over 28 years.
Bert has passionately sought ways to support local communities through programming and educational services in his twelve years as president and CEO of WHRO Public Media.
WHRO is owned by a collaboration of 21 local public school divisions—the only public broadcasting station of its kind in the United States. WHRO actually stands for Home Room One, and while technology has changed dramatically over the years, WHRO is still in the business of helping schools improve student performance and meet their strategic goals using today’s technologies.
Bert has been instrumental in the development and distribution of numerous virtual learning solutions for educators including the production of online courses used in high schools throughout Virginia; the operation of the Commonwealth's Virtual Virginia online high school program; eMediaVA, a web-based library of over 160,000 multi-media learning objects available to every student in the Virginia; and SkillsOnline, an online career development and workforce readiness education initiative for adults.
Under Bert’s leadership WHRO’s educational and entrepreneurial initiatives have generated over 30 million dollars and typically account for 40% of WHRO’s annual revenue, resulting in endowment growth to over 11 million dollars.
WHRO continues to produce award winning programs of local interest focusing on issues involving veterans (through the Veterans Coming Home initiative), the local arts scene, and improving graduation and employment rates through the American Graduate initiative.
Bert serves on numerous community boards including the Virginia Aquarium, the Virginia Arts Festival, the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce and the Norfolk Public Library Board. He currently serves as the vice chair of America's Public Television Stations (APTS), and previously served as the chair of the Public Broadcast Management Association (now known as PMBA). Bert was the president and general manager of WVPT in Harrisonburg, Virginia, from 2002 to 2007 and the CFO and executive vice president of WCNY in Syracuse, New York, from 1991 to 2002.
Bert is the father of two children: daughter Jillian and son Bertel and is married to Missy Schmidt, vice president of marketing for xTuple, a global business management software company.
Chief Development Officer
Thomas Burton is Chief Development Officer for WHRO and manages all fundraising and development functions including membership and major giving, program underwriting, grants, and planned giving.
After a decade in the manufacturing sector in a variety of sales, customer service and marketing management positions, his career in non-profits began in 1992 when he became director of development for WCNY TV & Classic FM in Syracuse, New York.
He turned to academia in 2001 as vice-president for institutional advancement at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, where he instituted a comprehensive development and alumni relations plan for that upstate New York center of learning.
Prior to joining WHRO, he served again at WCNY Public Media in Syracuse since 2013 as vice president for development, responsible for development functions including the campaign to fund WCNY's new home.
Burton earned a B.S. in Business Administration from the State University of New York College at Fredonia. He has held various leadership positions on several Central New York non-profit boards of directors including the United Way of Central New York, the Lyncourt Union Free School District, the Central New York Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), the Onondaga Historical Association and Syracuse Behavioral Healthcare.
He and his wife Janet, a retired nurse, reside in Norfolk.
Vice President of Digital Strategies
Dina Dodson joined WHRO as a Web Designer in late 2000. She is an early adopter of emerging technologies in public media, including online content, digital media platform development, social media strategies and educational technology products and services.
She is responsible for developing and driving strategic initiatives aligned with WHRO’s mission and long-term strategy that are focused on applying and evolving digital and technological innovation to solve current business challenges and find new business opportunities, leveraging WHRO’s existing products, capabilities and customers.
Dina's academic background is in Liberal Arts and Information Technology; she is also a graduate of the Dale Carnegie Leadership program.
She has lived in South America and Europe and enjoys preparing foods from around the globe. Dina is passionate about travel, world cultures and traditions. She lives in Norfolk with her husband Jason and son Justin.
Broadcast and Digital Media Officer
At WHRO, Jeff is responsible for leading content production for Broadcast Television and Digital Media. He oversees a multidisciplinary staff of producers, directors, writers, editors, videographers and freelance teams to create original programming. Highlights include the Emmy award winning shows, “The Scene on TV,” “Guardians of Jamestown 1619,” and “Veterans Voices,” as well as the nationally distributed Goode Performing Arts programs, “Comedy Bootcamp” and “#YoungSingersProject.” “Curate,” WHRO’s acclaimed arts series, is currently in its third season.
Before joining WHRO, Jeff was an award-winning writer/director/producer with credits on some of the highest rated series for Discovery Channel, National Geographic and PBS. He has also written, produced and directed feature films, including “Cherry” (starring Britt Robertson of “Tomorrowland” and “GirlBoss”) which premiered at the SXSW Film Festival and other major festivals before its U.S. theatrical release.
Jeff is a graduate of Brown University and USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.
He lives in Norfolk with his wife, Diane, an ODU Screenwriting Professor, children Jesse and Maya, and Layla the hound. He enjoys the ocean, photography, travel and independent film.
Vice President of Technology
Chris is the Vice President of Technology for WHRO, overseeing the Engineering, Information Technology, Master Control and Facilities departments. After completing College in 1989, Chris joined the WHRO team and worked as a broadcast engineer for 5 years before pursuing an engineering and management career in the Wireless Telecommunication Industry.
Prior to returning to WHRO in 2003, he was Director of Systems Integration with CAI Wireless Systems of Albany New York. After CAI's acquisition by WorldCom in 1999, Chris held the position of Regional Director for Systems Engineering and Integration at WorldCom Broadband Solutions until 2003.
Chris holds advanced degrees in Electrical Engineering and Business Administration. He was the Chairman of Chapter 54 of the Society of Broadcast Engineers for 3 years and is the current membership Chairman for Local SBE Chapter 54. Chris is also a member of various electrical and Information Technology societies and has 24 years of experience in broadcast and telecommunications engineering and management.
Chris lives in the Historic Ghent section of Norfolk with his wife Lizz, daughter Casey and dog Shadow. His interests include home renovation, tennis, biking and relaxing with friends and family.
Director of Marketing and Communications
Amy is the Director of Marketing and Communications at WHRO, leading in the development of innovative advertising, promotion, communication, social media and community engagement initiatives. Houck is an accomplished senior marketing and communications professional with a passion for education.
Prior to joining WHRO, Amy served as the Vice President of DIA, Inc., a full-service marketing firm in Norfolk where she led many of the region’s most recognizable marketing and branding campaigns.
Amy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication from Old Dominion University and is a proud graduate of LEAD Hampton Roads.
Amy lives in Moyock with her husband Trevor, children Lily and River, and two beautiful Chesapeake Bay retrievers Anchor and Mayday. Her interests include pop culture, boating, music, and American history.
Chief Content Officer
Heather Mazzoni came to WHRO in 1998 as an audience and member services representative and has served many roles throughout the organization over the years. She is a passionate advocate of public media and credits Mister Rogers as an early inspiration for her love of community and making a difference through content production.
As Chief Content Officer she is responsible for local content concepts, creation and initiatives across all platforms as well as distribution of local programs to national platforms. She oversees the strategic direction of Television, Radio, Journalism and multi-platform digital content as well as Traffic. She also serves as host and executive producer of Curate.
Heather holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Christopher Newport University; and in addition, she attended Thomas Nelson Community College where she majored in Fine Arts. Heather is also a graduate of the Dale Carnegie Leadership program and the Bank of America Neighborhood Builders Leadership program.
Heather lives in Norfolk with her husband Matt, sons Julian and Brett, and faithful pets Sonny & Finn. Her interests include culinary arts, travel, art, history and baseball.
Chief Financial Officer
Tom Morehouse is WHRO's Chief Financial Officer (CFO), overseeing the day-to-day activities of the financial affairs of the organization, and playing a major role in strategic planning and the development of the annual plan of work and budget. He's a longtime WHRO volunteer and supporter who came to the station in August 2010 after a career that included serving as Executive Director of Virginia College Access Network; Senior Vice President of Nelnet, Associate Vice President for Financial Services for Thomas Nelson Community College and a Finance Corps officer in the U.S Army, including service in the first Gulf War. Tom holds a BA in Economics from Virginia Military Institute and a Masters in Business Administration from Syracuse University. He is a 1999 graduate of the Leadership Institute of the Virginia Peninsula.
Tom's interests in education include serving as the Treasurer and Board Member of the Virginia College Access Network, and as a long term board member and past President of the Virginia Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. Tom also currently serves on the Board of the Hampton Newport News Community Services Board. Tom has also served as a volunteer instructor in emergency communications for the Hampton Newport News Community Services Board.
Tom lives in the Olde Wythe section of Hampton with his wife Sallie Marchello, the University Registrar for the College of William and Mary, and their chocolate lab, Hershey and cat Apollo. His interests include spending time with friends and family, sailing, amateur radio and Washington Nationals, VMI and Peninsula Pilots Baseball.
Community Engagement Officer
Ms. Nancy Rogan has more than 25 years professional experience in nonprofits, notably in arts, education, and charitable organizations. As a magna cum laude graduate of Old Dominion University with a Bachelor’s degree in special education, she first taught special education for the City of Norfolk Public Schools. Her love for skiing took her to Boston where she later worked as Manager of Office and Information Systems at a private nonprofit special education school in Massachusetts.
She continued her career in nonprofits when she moved to Florida and served as project manager/grants manager for the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Her passion for community involvement and impact led her to join the Community Foundation of Broward in 2007 as Manager of Grants and Initiatives. In this role she also served as program manager for the AIDS United/Elton John Foundation Community Partnership which raised and distributed a minimum of $150,000 yearly to identify and support HIV/AIDS education and prevention initiatives. Her research at the Foundation provided direction to guide development of broad scale Foundation initiatives in education and civic engagement through arts that committed 5 years/$5 million to education and arts programs.
She has served as grant reviewer for United Way of Broward County United Way of South Hampton Roads and is a past appointee to Broward County School Board’s Diversity Committee. Currently, she is the Community Engagement Officer at WHRO in Norfolk where her work focuses on veterans, education, and community programs.
Vice President of Education Services
As Vice President for Education Services, Elmer Seward is responsible for education programs provided to WHRO’s member owner school divisions. He oversees a staff of dedicated educators working in the areas of early childhood education, professional development, educational programs, and digital resource distribution.
Elmer is a career educator with experience as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and director of technology before joining the WHRO staff. Prior to taking his current position, he worked with two Virginia Department of Education contracts at WHRO as Instructional Supervisor for Virtual Virginia and as Director of eMediaVA.
Elmer holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Christopher Newport University and a Master of Arts degree in Supervision and School Administration from the College of William and Mary.
He lives in Poquoson, the school division where he worked for 20 years. When not at work, he enjoys spending time with his wife and family. During his spare time, Elmer also enjoys writing novels.
Vice President of Digital Learning
Mitzi Fehl-Seward is the Vice President of Digital Learning. In this position, she works with a department of talented people who create quality digital content for teachers and students and provides training about blended and online learning across the Commonwealth. Mitzi first came to WHRO in 2006 to oversee technology and curriculum with Virtual Virginia, the Virginia Department of Education’s online program.
Mitzi is a career educator and has taught Readiness and Kindergarten/1st Multiage in Georgia. She taught in Virginia as a Kindergarten teacher and an Instructional Technology Specialist. Mitzi has also worked as an adjunct professor for the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, and as an instructor for PBS TeacherLineTM. Mitzi is a published author with Scholastic Inc., where she co-authored a book for teaching math with music and other articles in various professional development publications.
Mitzi holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from Georgia State University and a Master of Arts in Education from Virginia Tech. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Regent University.
Mitzi lives in Poquoson with her husband, children, and dogs. She enjoys time with her family and friends, cooking, swimming, going to the beach, and listening to music. Frequently, you will find Mitzi in the stands supporting any of her three daughters’ sporting or performing arts activities.