Bill Isler, Former President & CEO of The Fred Rogers Company, Receives 2017 PBS “Be more” Award
Early childhood educator William (Bill) H. Isler, who helped bring to life loveable characters such as Daniel Tiger as the chief of The Fred Rogers Company, is the 14th leader to be recognized with the PBS “Be more” Award. This annual tribute celebrates individuals who embody the spirit of helping all Americans to discover more, to experience more and to “Be more.” PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger presented the award at the PBS Annual Meeting in San Diego.
Isler worked with Fred Rogers and served as president and CEO of The Fred Rogers Company from 1987 until his retirement in 2016. He worked on the iconic MISTER ROGERS’ NEIGHBORHOOD and led The Fred Rogers Company in extending Fred Rogers’ values and approach through new initiatives. Under Isler’s leadership, The Fred Rogers Company produced three PBS KIDS hit series: DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD, PEG + CAT and ODD SQUAD, which have garnered17 Daytime Emmy awards to date.
“Bill embodies the spirit of the ‘Be more’ award,” Kerger said. “Through his work in early education and outstanding leadership of The Fred Rogers Company, Bill has left an indelible mark on public media and enhanced the lives of countless families. He has worked tirelessly on behalf of young children, dedicating his career to their educational and emotional development. I am honored to have the opportunity to recognize this steadfast champion for all of America’s children.”
Bill Isler is a longtime professional educator and advocate for children. He began his career as a teacher and administrator, then joined the Pennsylvania Department of Education, where he served as Commissioner of Basic Education and Senior Program Advisor for Early Childhood Education. In addition to his leadership role at The Fred Rogers Company, he is Board President of the Pittsburgh Public Schools and Executive Director of The Fred M. Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College. Bill is the father of an adult son and is active in the community, serving on the boards of several nonprofit organizations.
About the PBS “Be more” Award
The PBS “Be more” Award is an annual honor that recognizes extraordinary individuals who inspire people of all ages to expand their horizons, to experience growth and adventure, to explore new ideas and to “be more.” The award’s previous recipients are Ken Burns, Joan Ganz Cooney, Rebecca Eaton, Jim Lehrer, Bill Moyers, Fred Rogers, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Gwen Ifill, Alberto Ibargüen, Miles O’Brien and David Fanning.
PBS, with nearly 350 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches nearly 100 million people through television and nearly 28 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. Decades of research confirms that PBS’ premier children’s media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV – including a new 24/7 channel, online at pbskids.org, via an array of mobile apps and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile and connected devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.
Maria Vera Whelan