Shani Byard, Ed.D, is the Lead Facilitator for The DIGITAL ELDER™ Project, and Founder/Executive Director of Message Media Ed - School of Black Leadership in the Digital Age

Shani Byard is an artist, educator and social justice advocate. She founded Message Media Ed in January of 2008 as a means of combining 12 years of professional experience in music video production, visual and performing arts education, media literacy education, and program development, management and evaluation, both in and out of K-12 public schools. Shani has utilized the tool of creative arts and expression to lead the design and implementation of intervention, career, mentoring and empowerment programming for youth development entities including: Los Angeles Unified School District, Long Beach Unified School District, LA County Office of Education, LA Bridges Gang Intervention, Theatre of Hearts/Youth First, Conservation Corps of Long Beach and Inside Out Community Arts.

Message Media Ed provides culturally relevant, 21st Century learning and professional development for youth, adults and seniors of African descent (including high school dropouts and youth at risk of giving up on their education), as a means of closing digital, cultural, social, academic and economic divides within the Black community, and producing Black leadership for the Digital Age. Offered to the community through Message Media Ed and facilitated by Shani, The Digital Elder Project, Rise Above the Noise, Diversity Leaders and other tailored workshops, provide an African-centered approach to skill building in new media, media analysis, technology education and leadership development.

Shani is a proud native of Leimert Park, Los Angeles and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Education at her alma mater, Loyola Marymount University. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Television Production in 1996 and a Masters of Science in Organizational Management and Leadership in 2008 at Springfield College. More information on Message Media Ed can be found at our website http://MessageMediaEd.org and our blog http://MessageMediaEd.blogspot.com.