Meet the Founders
Elyse Klaidman is an artist, educator, and leader passionate about inspiring and developing generations of diverse problem solvers, artists, innovators and storytellers through experiential learning. After 22 years at Pixar as a leader, creative director, and founder of exhibitions and educational programs, she co-founded X IN A BOX.
Tony DeRose is a computer scientist and mathematician with over 40 years experience in computer graphics research and development, 23 years of it at Pixar. Prior to Pixar he was a professor of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington. He has always enjoyed teaching, so the opportunity to start an educationally oriented company is a dream come true.
Chief Technical Officer
Brit Cruise writes and creates all forms of educational content & products. He began his career with his YouTube channel Art of the Problem. This led him to Khan Academy where he produced educational videos, summer camps and lead partnerships with NASA, Google, and Disney/Pixar. Brit studied Engineering at the University of Western Ontario and Computer Science at McGill University.
Chief Learning Officer
Story Xperiential was created by Elyse Klaidman, Tony DeRose, and Brit Cruise, who previously developed Pixar in a Box. All three have extensive experience in film and education; Klaidman and DeRose each spent more than twenty years at Pixar, and Cruise developed beloved content at Khan Academy.
“For a long time, we’ve known that education has fallen short in preparing people for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Elyse Klaidman. “With college tuition and loans becoming more unattainable for many families, students are turning to alternative programs to launch their careers. That means demand for high quality, affordable, project-based virtual apprenticeships is at an all-time high. In the time that Story Xperiential has been available, we’ve seen doors open for participants who have completed our course and developed a portfolio piece. And while the program has obvious advantages for students, companies will be the ultimate beneficiaries of exceptional, well-prepared talent.”
Meet the Team
Dennis is a dynamic educator and practitioner of social justice through education. He currently serves as the Executive Director of Manchester Youth Development Center in Pittsburgh, PA. For over 20 years, Dennis has collaborated with a variety of industry leaders, public servants and community members to design a wide variety of authentic project-based lessons to promote social mobility and economic opportunities.
VP, Education and Strategy
Pam has a passion for production, which combines her love of team camaraderie, wrangling details, and creative filmmaking. During her 21 years at Pixar Animation Studios, Pam worked on 10 theatrically released films before moving into operations as Department Head of technical artists and film editors. She is thrilled to partner with the X in a Box team to help execute the Story Xperiential program, making storytelling and project-based learning more accessible for youth.
Sr. Project Manager
Farzad’s first feature documentary was selected for several film festivals before premiering on Netflix. He has also written/produced television and digital content for a variety of networks and clients, including Vice, VICELAND, The Discovery Channel and NBA2K. Additionally, Farzad has taught filmmaking at a wide array of educational institutions from the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego to UCLA Extension.