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Meet The 
Board of Regents

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Jonathan Burnett, MFA

Board of Regents, Vice-Chair

Filmmaker, Film Professor

Jonathan is an independent filmmaker and Visual Media Artist on tenure track as a film professor at LA Valley College. Along with Charles Burnett, his father, and Joy Shannon, his aunt, Jonathan directed the award-winning docuseries After the LockDown: Black in LA (2021). He is executive producer of Sins of Thy Father (post-production), co-producer of the award-winning My Dead Selfie (2018), and associate producer of TV mini-series Urban, among other credits. Jonathan has worked on professional films in France, Algeria, and Atlanta.

 

He is the Creator, Director, and Lead Instructor of the Urban Exposure Independent Film Program in the Quad Cities of Illinois and Iowa. This industry-standard instructive program recognizes & inspires emerging filmmakers from diverse backgrounds. Past positions included Adjunct Professor at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, and Associate Professor at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY.  |  MFA, Film, Loyola Marymount; BFA, Film and Visual Media, Academy of Art University,

San Francisco

Melissa Croteau, PhD

Board of Regents, Interim Secretary, Provost

Film Professor, Scholar, Author

A scholar of global cinema and Shakespeare in media, Dr. Croteau is internationally recognized for her niche in Shakespeare adapted to film, but also eco-criticism, American independent film, and the cinema of India and Japan, particularly in regard to Asian aesthetic theories. From the ground up, she developed a university film department in film studies and production. Transcendence and Spirituality in Film: The Expression of Spiritual, Human, and Ecological Transcendence in Japanese Cinema (2022), is her third book, published by Routledge Publishing, UK.

 

Dr. Croteau is a prolific scholarly writer, highly requested for book chapters (several for Cambridge University Press volumes) and journal articles. She presents conference papers around the world and has extensive global relationships and experience in film.  |  PhD, English and Film Studies, Claremont Graduate School; MA, Shakespeare Institute, Shakespeare Studies: Text, Performance, & Media, University of Birmingham (UK); BA, English and Theology, Biola University

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C. Raymond F. Gross, JD

Board of Regents, Treasurer

Attorney in Film Finance

Ray, a partner at Gipson, Hoffman, & Pancione in Century City, is a transactional entertainment attorney with a specialty in motion picture and television finance transactions and has extensive expertise in representing clients involved in entertainment financing matters.

 

Ray also represents clients in connection with the acquisition of film and television libraries and was actively involved in the formation of a major broadcast television network.  |  JD, Columbia University Law School; AB, Brown University

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Jahleeka Morris-Jones, CEP,
MS (2025)
Board of Regents

Senior Financial Analyst, Google

Currently a Senior Financial Analyst at Google, Jahleeka is a former stock plan administrator and stockbroker, leaving her leadership footprint at companies like E*Trade Financial and Yahoo! and assisting with taking a company from pre-IPO status to Publicly traded. Focused on FP&A, Jahleeka’s goal is to bring financial literacy to everyone she interacts with.

 

She was the first college student in her family, and consequently created an ongoing college women’s mentoring program at Georgia State University. Through her powerful story and upcoming memoir, Jahleeka helps others understand that out of pain, people can find triumph through perspective and choice.  |  MS, USC (2025); Certified Equity Professional Level 1&2, BS in Finance, Georgia State University

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Myesha Reynolds, MS, MA

Board of Regents

Equity Lens Consultants | Owner

Myesha is the founder of Equity Lens Consultants in Los Angeles. She consults with leaders to propose solutions to problems related to equity and inclusion and with leadership teams to provide equity training based on the needs of each company, along with giving presentations supporting or speaking on behalf of organizational initiatives. Myesha also works part-time as an Instructional Coach in the Pasadena Unified School District, where she guides teachers in teaching strategies to meet diverse students’ needs, performs data analysis from diagnostic testing processes, and implements curriculum.

 

Previously, she developed the position of Equity Coach for a school district in Wisconsin, where she led school-wide equity walkthroughs, planned and led professional development sessions for school leaders and staff, and helped resolve equity-related issues within the district. Myesha has also created educational and equity curriculums and guided educators in the implementation of 21st-century teaching practices.  She has also been a classroom teacher and university adjunct instructor and was awarded the MAMBSE Teacher of the Year.   MA, Education, Alverno College; MS, Education, Averno College

Rebecca Ver Straten-McSparran, MDiv, PhD

Board of Regents, Chair

Author, Film Scholar, Higher Ed Administration, Professor, Creative Producer

Dr. Ver Straten-McSparran, owner of RVM Consulting Firm, engages with individuals across the Hollywood film industry, providing coaching and consultation for professionals, film projects, and higher ed programs, currently serving as Creative Producer on an international film project. Her book, Lars Von Trier’s Cinema: Excess, Evil, and the Prophetic Voice (2022, Routledge Publishing, UK), came from her PhD thesis (Kings College London) and is in universities worldwide. Rebecca directed the LA Film Studies Center (LAFSC), a semester film program for the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (200 universities) with ten international programs for 13 years, directed the City of Angels Film Festival, served as a film juror, on film boards, and has wide-reaching global experience and relationships in film.

 

She is recognized for her community leadership, receiving the California "SHero Award" by Senator Curren D. Price for her development of the Miracle Mile Art Walk. She has extensive experience in urban contexts, living and working with low-income families, gang members and taggers. Ordained as a Congregational minister, Rebecca pastored churches for 14 years, where she developed numerous film and arts ministries. She has developed organizations and led or served on over 20 organizational boards and committees.  PhD, Film and Theology, King's College London, MDiv, Fuller Theological Seminary, BA, Philosophy, Bethel University

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