The Juice Team

Experienced journalists, educators, technologists, accountants, video editors, and managers comprise The Juice team. We've worked at some of the best known schools and companies. To read a brief biography about each teammate, click on their picture.

Together with the content team, I write the breaking news, deeper dives, and high-interest stories that students expect from The Daily Juice. Making sure our stories hit home for young readers is my passion; I spent twenty-two years in the classroom, and I'm also an award-winning author of middle grade fiction.
It may seem like all I do is write, but I've got a few other hobbies, too: I play the banjo, sports (especially anything involving a frisbee), and all kinds of board games. 

Jake Burt

Senior Educator and Writer

I keep an eye on the finances so we can focus on keeping an eye on the news.

I earned a BA in accounting from Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College. I am a certified public accountant and CGMA certified.

As a seasoned accounting professional with diverse experience in public, corporate, and private equity fund accounting, I provide support for the day-to-day operations, tax reporting as well as financial budgeting and forecasting for the company.

Irina O'Berry


I'm passionate about fostering a love for reading and learning among kids. I enjoyed meeting this goal during the 7 years I served as an educator to high school and middle school students. I spent the majority of that time working for an outstanding college preparatory academy as the Science Department Chair and the Biology, AP Biology, and English instructor. I believe it is important for students to be supported in developing strong literacy and higher-order thinking skills, and I also believe it is incredibly empowering when students discover it is possible to love reading simply for the joy it brings!  After navigating away from the classroom, I continued to work toward these aims and make an impactful difference in the educational journeys of students by serving as a curriculum designer for various school districts. I am also a published author of young adult literature.

I am excited to continue my mission to make reading literature accessible, highly-engaging, and impactful for all students by serving in the role of Literacy & Content Specialist for The Juice. I hold a Bachelor's degree in Biology and a minor in Theatre Arts from the University of Southern California, a Master of Public Health from the University of Texas - Houston Health Sciences Center, and a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Houston-Downtown. I am a lifelong reading and learning savant myself. In addition, I am a skiing enthusiast. 

Enishia Davenport

Literacy & Content Specialist

I am passionate about media, technology, and the news. My career began at The New York Times where I held senior positions in marketing, circulation, advertising, and strategic planning. I left The Times at the beginning of the internet revolution and have since run several digital companies in the advertising and media segments.

I have also managed digital media for a company in the TV industry and assisted an international software company establish a presence in the US. My interest in news goes back to my high school days where I served as our newspaper’s sports editor. Shortly thereafter I discovered the business side of newspapers and eventually landed as the business-side executive at The Harvard Crimson.

Lorren Elkins


I have traveled a dual career path in education and technology. Having taught preschool through adults in government, public school, and home school environments, I most recently held positions in business analysis and quality assurance at a global research institute.
In my spare time, I homestead 35 acres in the mountains of Western North Carolina with my husband. I find my joy in feeding kids, grand kids, and friends from our land.

Rebecca Johnson

Quality Assurance Analyst

After a career spent teaching students to become more sophisticated consumers of information in the classroom, I now serve as The Juice’s lead education specialist. I ensure our products are aligned with the educational promises we’ve made to the educational community.

Like many career educators, in addition to my 14 years as a classroom teacher at Cambridge Rindge and Latin, I served in many roles, including nine summers as the Principal of the Cambridge-Harvard Summer Academy. As a principal, teacher, mentor, advisor, and coach, I taught a wide range of subjects to a wide range of learners.

I earned my BA in History from Boston College and my Masters in teaching from Tufts University.

Brendan Kells

VP, Education

I am a serial entrepreneur and investor with 35 years of experience building, growing, and investing in businesses.

I have launched multiple startups, managed hedge funds and private equity funds, and sat on the boards of publicly traded companies as well as non-profit charities. Most importantly, I am the father of four children.

When not pondering, I love to bike, garden, hike, and make art.

Nathan Leight

Founder & CEO

My mission is to help children develop a love for lifelong learning. Over the past decade, I’ve had the opportunity to foster this mindset as a high school English teacher, an instructional coach, an administrator, and now as the Senior Educator for The Juice. Teaching children to be independent thinkers, engage in their learning process, and enjoy reading is always my top priority, which is why the students in my classroom consistently exceeded their learning targets on summative assessments. I am a proud recipient of the Colorado Jared Polis Teacher Recognition Awards, and will continue to advocate for equitable education whether I am in the classroom, leading educators through professional development, or creating standards-aligned questions in order to encourage students to think critically. The world of education is evolving, and I am thrilled to be a part of this team of experts that is on the forefront of these exciting changes while keeping student achievement and engagement at the heart.

Chloe Lucas

Senior Educator

I am thrilled to be part of the team at The Juice, where I believe my passion for education and commitment to equal opportunities in the classroom can truly make a difference. With 6 years of experience as a classroom teacher and Curriculum Lead in both English Language Arts and English as a Second Language, I have witnessed firsthand the transformative power of education. Prior to my teaching journey, I delved into the world of research as a graduate student at Vanderbilt University, where I earned my master's degree. This experience not only honed my analytical skills but also fueled my deep love for learning and language. I firmly believe that reading ability is a key indicator of future success, and I am dedicated to ensuring that all students have equal access to quality educational materials. This belief is what drove me to join The Juice—a platform that shares my commitment to providing high-quality resources for learners of all backgrounds. As an educator, I am convinced that fostering a love of learning and language is pivotal in empowering students to reach their full potential. I am excited to contribute to creating a more inclusive and equitable learning environment for students everywhere.

Chloe Madigan

Pedagogy & Partnerships Advisor

I am an award-winning journalist based in Chicago. I was a newspaper reporter for nearly two decades, the second being spent at the Chicago Tribune. My writing also has appeared in the Washington Post, New Yorker, Vox media and other outlets. I’ve taught journalism at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

I am best known as the author of the first substantive biography of Barack Obama (OBAMA: From Promise to Power, HarperCollins). The book, a Washington Post bestseller, drew praise from both Obama’s critics and supporters. The National Review called the book “the best source of background material” on Obama and a New Yorker magazine writer deemed my work “an unparalleled chronicle of the making of an American president.”

In today’s chaotic journalism environment, it can be hard to ascertain the bias of various news sources and sort through the noise, despite the excellent work that is being produced. I am proud to work for a news and education entity that strives to provide unbiased news to a growing band of consumers.

David Mendell

Senior Journalist

As a career educator I’m well positioned to serve our clients as a Pedagogy & Partnerships Advisor for The Juice. I have a BA in Marketing Communications from Columbia College Chicago and MA degrees in teaching and educational administration. My career in public education spanned over 16 years and included roles as a teacher, curriculum team leader, assistant principal, and district level director of curriculum and instruction. I appreciate having the opportunity to blend my undergraduate background with my experience in education to support students, teachers, and districts. I am passionate about helping students connect with enriching material that fosters their development as both scholars and individuals.

Kristen Morphew

Pedagogy & Partnerships Advisor

I have over 30 years of experience in technology, software and Internet development. After starting my career building cutting-edge medical diagnostic equipment, I spent a decade at IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center developing and programming a parallel supercomputer, then worked on interactive and Internet streaming-media technologies and large-scale database applications. After that, I worked at an early-stage Internet company developing streaming video content and have been involved in technology assessment for private equity, venture and public company investment for more than 15 years.

I have been developing web properties for public and private companies as well as for not-for-profits since the 2000’s. I am the holder of multiple patents and am published in peer-reviewed technology journals. I hold degrees from Columbia University’s School of Engineering (BSEE) and NYU Polytechnic (MSCS).

When not working or spending time with my family, I can be found playing violin with the Yonkers Philharmonic Orchestra, working on my golf game or pursuing my passion for photography.

Robert Plotkin


I have over 30 years working in marketing strategy, brand management, and communications planning, but began my career in science and engineering. I have worked with industry leaders in healthcare, technology, financial services, and education, but my greatest passion is working with entrepreneurial, mission-focused organizations. My experience spans both business-to-business products and consumer goods. I have enjoyed working at both corporations and consultancies. My consulting experience includes servicing as Chief Executive Officer of The Brand Union/Americas, and Chief Strategy Officer of J. Walter Thompson, both part of the holding company WPP. I graduated from MIT, studying molecular biology and electrical engineering. I served on the faculty at both Radcliffe College/Harvard and the Simmons College MBA program for twelve years. and remain actively involved at MIT through several alumni boards.

Rob Scalea

Head of the Consumer Business

I make sure everything is legal and compliant and that the wheels keep turning. I’ve been advising companies and their managers at various stages of corporate development for a decade as both counsel and director. I earned my JD from The University of Texas School of Law.

I served as a judicial intern for the Honorable Diana Saldaña of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. I received my BA in political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara. I am a member of the State Bar of California.

Stephen Schifrin

General Counsel

I love generating buzz for The Juice. I started my career working in education both as an environmental educator at Animal Kingdom in Disney World and as an elementary school teacher in Orange County Public Schools in Florida. After teaching, I worked as a communications lead for an elementary school and then as a Content Marketing Strategist at a national marketing agency supporting small businesses.

My passion for helping students learn has never stopped and I love that I get to work each day to bring important and relevant news to students in an accessible and approachable way. In my free time, you can find me rock climbing, reading, or tap dancing.

Amber Schmidling

Marketing Manager


For 12 years, I was a high school English teacher in New Jersey, specializing in AP Language & Composition. During that time, I wrote and revised countless Courses of Study, I supervised an award-winning school literary magazine, and I coached several championship-winning girls soccer teams. In 2021, I earned my doctorate from Baylor University. My dissertation focused on teachers' perceptions of changes to students' communication and social skills following a 1:1 student-to-device implementation. Since then, I have continued to publish research focused on the issues most critical to public education, focusing most recently on information literacy. I also served as a school district administrator in NJ, as a content creator for an educational services company, as a course assessor for a Harvard University Higher Education Certificate program, and as an educational technology policy consultant to NJ school district administrators.

Dr. Cris Slotoroff

Pedagogy & Partnerships Advisor

My experience as an award-winning newspaper reporter and freelance writer goes back three decades. For most of my career, I was a staff writer at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where I covered politics and government, criminal justice, and led newspaper investigations that relied on computer-assisted reporting. Some of my specific assignments included covering the Governor’s office, the Georgia General Assembly, and many political campaigns including candidates running for president, governor, and congress. I also covered many high-profile trials.


I have also written for the New York Times, CNN, and AOL News, among others.


Two of the most important lessons I learned as a young journalist were: never make assumptions and always, always, strive to understand fully the motivations and diverging points of view of everyone you cover. Simply put, that means trying very hard to see things the way others see them and be willing to tell their side of the story as completely as possible. The best among us are those who strive to be accurate and fair, always.

Ben Smith

Senior Journalist

I have worked in education sales for over 30 years and with three other start-ups and two went over 100 million in sales. I am passionate about the tools needed to educate America and that's why I love what I do.
I have been married over 25 years to my lovely wife Shawna and we have two sons Zach and Sean. I have 4 children and 9 grandchildren from my first marriage. I enjoy refurbishing old wooden furniture as a hobby and I still mow my own lawn!

Curtis Williams

National Sales Representative

I began working in news at an early age having been an NBC6 Junior Broadcaster in South Florida throughout high school. After earning a graduate degree in Media and Communications from Pace University in NY, I spent three years working for CNN’s morning show New Day. I’ve also worked as a producer for NewsmaxTV and as a producer of news, promotional, and educational content for the City of Coral Gables’ government access channel, CGTV.

Outside of my work in broadcast news I have spent a lot of time on camera and on stage as a television show host, actor and emcee. When I am not working I am thoroughly enjoying the South Florida lifestyle of boating, fishing, scuba diving, golfing and beach days.

I truly believe in objective journalism. It troubles me to see news coverage straying from that fundamental mandate. I feel very strongly that providing news consumers with facts and stories free of bias will allow them to decide for themselves what is real and what matters. I personally strive to remain fair and objective in all my media pursuits and am excited to apply that same objectivity to my work with The Juice.

Adam Yogel

Video Production Manager