During her tenure as Executive Director, Deborah Pope has focused the work and mission of the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation on increasing diversity in children’s literature and enriching the quality of public education.
Through her efforts, the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award is recognized internationally as an imprimatur of quality children’s books for a diverse audience. She has expanded the EJK Bookmaking Competition in New York City to San Francisco, Baltimore and Atlanta; increased the scope and number of EJK Mini-Grants; and developed the Foundation website into an invaluable, wide-ranging source for families, educators and researchers.
Deborah was a writer and an executive producer on an Amazon Original special of The Snowy Day. The show, which premiered in 2016, earned two Daytime Emmys®, including Outstanding Preschool Children’s Animated Program. Her campaign for postage stamps honoring Ezra paid off in 2017, when the USPS issued a series of four stamps with scenes from The Snowy Day.
Deborah came to the Foundation from an extensive career in theatre and arts-in-education. She was Founding Artistic Director of The New Theatre of Brooklyn (TNT), an award-winning regional theatre for which she developed an enriched arts-in-education program. She consulted on arts-in-education programming for the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and Department of Education, served on granting panels for the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York Drama League, and was a board member of of the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York (ART/NY) and the Roundtable Coalition of Arts-in-Education Providers.
Deborah has two daughters, and lives with her husband in Brooklyn, New York.
Diana works closely with Dr. Deborah Pope collaborating on creative development, planning and social media. Since 2010 Diana ushered the foundation further into the digital age. She oversees all digital and print production, game development, shoots photographs, produces videos, and, with web developer Andrew Elliott, keeps the website thriving.
Diana became captivated by Keats when she began reading to her son and realized how important picture books are in early childhood development. After earning a B.F.A. at the Maryland Institute College of Art, she worked for over 20 years as a documentary television editor. Diana has taught video editing in New York, at both the School of Visual Arts, and NYU.
As the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation’s Web and Game Designer, Jay Boucher is responsible not only for our top-to-bottom site redesign but also for translating the look and spirit of Keats into the world of online games. Formerly a senior designer for MTV.com creating games and entertainment, Jay is a visual artist and interactive designer in Hoboken, New Jersey, who specializes in drawing, illustration, web design and animation. He also teaches drawing and digital literacy at schools in northern New Jersey. He is the proud father of two daughters. Jay’s website is jayboucher.com.
Dr. Lillie Pope
Lillie Pope, Vice President of the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, designed the foundation’s core programs. Dr. Pope was Founding Director of the internationally acclaimed Learning and Reading Disabilities Program at Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn. There she developed a reading program that focused on prevention and remediation for children with learning and behavioral problems in school. Her program served as a model for many organizations with similar goals.
As Director of Education and Training at JOIN, a New York City agency offering educational opportunities to school dropouts, Dr. Pope ran a successful city-wide program of remedial education. She also taught classes at New York University and Brooklyn College.
Martin Pope, President of the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, and Ezra met in junior high school and were best friends until Ezra’s death in 1983. He is a scientist and family man and Keats was an artist and a bachelor. Yet their complementary talents allowed them to cheer for and challenge each other for 53 years.
Today Dr. Pope is a Professor Emeritus of New York University and the former Director of its Radiation and Solid State Physics Lab. He is one of the founders of the field of electronic properties of organic crystals. Dr. Pope is internationally known for his pioneering work in electroluminescence and for inventing many of the experimental techniques used to study organic materials. He has published more than 100 papers, his most recent in 2003 and 2004.
In 2006 Dr. Pope was awarded the Davy Medal by the Royal Society of Great Britain for his outstanding work and contributions to his field.