SPARK Leadership Team

Julie Frank, SPARK Executive Director

(aka Executive Director of Evidence and Impact—Chief Needle Mover)

Julie has more than 17 years of corporate and nonprofit experience in physical activity, physical education, health, and community wellness. From 2002-2015, Julie managed SPARK’s most important projects and relationships with Nike, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, American Diabetes Association, BlueCross BlueShield Tennessee Health Foundation, and countless others. She provided expert consultation and support to projects throughout the U.S., and around the globe including SPARK’s successful dissemination effort in China.

Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in January 1986, Julie has not let this disease stop her. Julie’s passion and mission in life is to inspire everyone to live an active and healthy life. Julie received the 2011 Volunteer of the Year Award from American Diabetes Associate, San Diego.

Julie received her bachelor’s degree in Community Health Education from UW-La Crosse, WI and has completed Master of Public Health coursework from San Diego State University. Julie has been a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) since 2000. “I enjoy longboard surfing, running, hiking, and spending time with my nephews.” Julie resides in San Diego, CA.

  • What I love about SPARK: SPARK is a Program – not a workshop. It’s “the what” to teach, “the how” to teach, the tools to teach with lifetime support, all combined to improve the health of children and creating a healthier school environment.

  • What is great about SPARK: It’s the most researched-based physical education program in the world—proven and effective!

  • Favorite SPARK lesson: In celebration of the SPARK Principals of 3, I have to list my top 3: All-Run Kickball, 5 Person Throw & Run, and Clean Your Room.

  • What makes you excited about SPARK: The endless possibilities of SPARK innovation and impact with the support of Gopher Sport!

Jeff Mushkin, SPARK Development Director

(aka Director of Innovation and Facilitator of WOW)

Jeff was first exposed to SPARK in 2004 while working for Shasta County Public Health Department in California. He became a SPARK trainer in 2005 and oversaw the SPARK Community Grant Program for Shasta County until 2007 when he joined the SPARK team. Jeff has spent the past 12+ years in SPARK curriculum design, professional development, and equipment selection. Jeff has a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education, a master’s degree in Public Health, and over 20 years of experience in physical education, health, and nutrition.

Jeff spends his time with wife Julie, daughter Katie, and his son Zack. In his free time, Jeff enjoys playing tennis and golf. Jeff resides in Louisville, KY.

  • What I love about SPARK: That the curriculum addresses all of the fundamental skills students need to learn and each unit follows a progression so each lesson builds upon the last.

  • What is great about SPARK: All of the supplement materials that enhance each of the lesson plans. There are task cards, skill cards, music, and assessments for teachers to use to reinforce learning.

  • Favorite SPARK lesson: Workout Buddies. I love the social interaction between partners and that it provides students with a choice in how they want to complete the activity.

  • What makes you excited about SPARK: I’m excited to join Gopher Sport to continue with my love of SPARK and creating physical education resources to meet the needs of teachers.

Ryan Schissler, SPARK Educational Programs Director

(aka Director of Worldwide Reach and Unbridled Happiness)

Ryan’s professional career started with the SPARK programs in 2005 as an intern writing press releases for large district adoptions. From 2006-2010, Ryan was the Inside Sales Rep for the Eastern United States. During that time, he helped lead the first SPARK statewide adoption in North Carolina. In 2011, Ryan was promoted to the West Region Category Sales Manager. Over his 10+ years with SPARK, he has assisted hundreds of districts with adoption of SPARK curriculum, training, and coordinated equipment sets. Ryan graduated from Southern Oregon University and played football.

Ryan spends his free time with his wife Ana, son Sam, daughter Stevie, and dog Pepperoni. “We enjoy any and all beach activities, hikes and playing any sports—I am a big kid at heart!” Ryan resides in Dana Point, CA.

  • What I love about SPARK: : It helps teachers create a learning environment that promotes lifelong movers.

  • What is great about SPARK: Skill progression that moves to modified game play.

  • Favorite SPARK lesson: 5 Person Hit and Run.

  • What makes you excited about SPARK: Becoming partners with the most innovative and creative equipment company, Gopher Sport!