CARA FITZPATRICK is a senior education reporter at the Tampa Bay Times. This year, she and Times reporters Lisa Gartner and Michael LaForgia won the Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting for their series, “Failure Factories,” which showed how a school board abandoned integration and neglected five elementary schools until they became among the worst schools in Florida. The series also won the George Polk Award for Education Reporting, the Worth Bingham Prize for Investigative Journalism, and the Investigative Reporters & Editors Medal, among other honors. Fitzpatrick grew up in Washington State and graduated from the University of Washington and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She lives in St. Petersburg, Fla., with her husband and two children.
LYNNELL HANCOCK is a reporter and writer specializing in education and child and family policy issues. Since 1993 she has taught education journalism at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where she also serves as director of the Spencer Fellowship for Education Journalism. Prior to Columbia, Hancock was on staff at The Village Voice, the New York Daily News and Newsweek. Her work has appeared in Smithsonian Magazine, Columbia Journalism Review, The Nation and The New York Times. She is the author of “Hands to Work: The Stories of Three Families Racing the Welfare Clock” (2002).
NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES is an award-winning investigative reporter covering racial injustice for The New York Times Magazine. She has spent the last four years investigating the way racial segregation in housing and schools is maintained through official action and policy. She has written extensively about school resegregation across the country and the utter disarray of hundreds of school desegregation orders. Hannah Jones’ reporting has won numerous national awards, including the 2016 Peabody Award for her collection of “This American Life” episodes on school segregation called “The Case for School Desegregation Today.” She has also won the George Polk Award, the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service, and the Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting. Her reporting has been featured in ProPublica, The Atlantic magazine, The Huffington Post, Essence Magazine, The Week magazine, Politico Magazine, and on “Face the Nation,” NPR, “The Tom Joyner Morning Show,” MSNBC, C-SPAN and “Democracy Now!”
GLORIA LADSON-BILLINGS is the Kellner Family Distinguished Professor in Urban Education in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction and is faculty affiliate in the Departments of Educational Policy Studies, Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis, and Afro American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was the 2005-2006 president of the American Educational Research Association. Ladson-Billings’ research examines the pedagogical practices of teachers who are successful with African American students. She also investigates Critical Race Theory applications to education. Ladson-Billings is the author of the critically acclaimed books “The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children,” “Crossing over to Canaan: The Journey of New Teachers in Diverse Classrooms,” and “Beyond the Big House: African American Educators on Teacher Education.” She is editor of six other books and author of more than 100 journal articles and book chapters. She is the former editor of the American Educational Research Journal and a member of several editorial boards.
ALEJANDRA LAGOS recently joined Univision News Network as an editorial and digital producer for their multimedia education initiative. For the past year, she has been reporting on various education topics involving early childhood education, Common Core, and college and career readiness, introducing new angles to update and inform the Latino and Hispanic audience. Lagos has an M.A. in education from New York University, as well as more than eight years of teaching and facilitating experience in New York City public schools.
SANJIV RAO is a senior program officer on the Ford Foundation’s Youth Opportunity and Learning team. He has focused on educational equity issues in the United States, making grants that have supported efforts to expand opportunity for marginalized youth and create more inclusive and responsive systems that serve them. He has supported innovative efforts around the development, advocacy and scalability of projects designed to close opportunity gaps so that underserved youth have access to the high-quality educational experiences. Rao has been with Ford since 2012. Earlier, he served as executive director of the New York State Afterschool Network, where he led policy efforts to link and integrate youth development and expanded learning more effectively with the public education system. He began his career as an elementary school teacher in California, Texas and Mexico, and has a Ph.D. in public administration from New York University and a master’s degree in education from the University of California, Berkeley.
SEAN REARDON is the endowed Professor of Poverty and Inequality in Education and Professor of Sociology (by courtesy) at Stanford University. His work focuses on the causes, patterns, trends, and consequences of social and educational inequality, as well as in applied statistical methods for educational research. His primary research examines the contribution of family, school and neighborhood environments to racial/ethnic and socioeconomic achievement disparities. In addition, he develops methods of measuring social and educational inequality and methods of causal inference in educational and social science research. Reardon received his doctorate in education in 1997 from Harvard University. He has been a recipient of a William T. Grant Foundation Scholar Award, a Carnegie Scholar Award, a National Academy of Education Postdoctoral Fellowship, and is a member of the National Academy of Education.
KRISTINA RIZGA is a senior reporter at Mother Jones, where she covers education, focusing primarily on how school reforms affect students and teachers in the classrooms, and how policies create or reduce racial disparities in schools. She is the author of “Mission High,” which tells the intimate stories from the four years she spent in one of the nation’s most diverse high schools, as its students and teachers struggled against closure and created some of the most effective classrooms in the country. Rizga’s writing has been published in the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and The Nation, among others. She is a fellow of Renaissance Journalism’s Equity Reporting Project and co-founder and reporter at the Baltic Center for Investigative Reporting in her homeland, Latvia. Prior to joining Mother Jones, Rizga published and edited the Webby Award-winning WireTap, a political and cultural magazine for young adults. She also served on The Nation’s editorial board.
RICHARD ROTHSTEIN is a research associate of the Economic Policy Institute and a fellow of the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. His recent work has documented the history of state-sponsored residential segregation, as in his report “The Making of Ferguson.” He is the author of “Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right” (2008) and “Class and Schools: Using Social, Economic and Educational Reform to Close the Black-White Achievement Gap” (2004). He is also the author of “The Way We Were? Myths and Realities of America’s Student Achievement” (1998). Other recent books include “The Charter School Dust-Up: Examining the Evidence on Enrollment and Achievement” (co-authored in 2005); and “ All Else Equal: Are Public and Private Schools Different?” (co-authored in 2003).
ZAIDEE STAVELY is an award-winning radio reporter for Radio Bilingüe, the Latino Public Radio network, and KQED Public Radio in San Francisco. She writes about education, immigration and environmental justice. Her radio series “Books and Bullets,” on the effects on education for children living in neighborhoods fraught by gun violence, won an award from the Society of Professional Journalists. The accompanying videos won a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award and were nominated for an Emmy.
PATRICK WALL is a senior reporter at Chalkbeat New York, a nonprofit education news site. He received the 2015 Ronald Moskowitz Prize for Outstanding Beat Reporting from the Education Writers Association and was selected as a 2016-17 Spencer Fellow in Education Reporting at Columbia University. Previously, Wall covered the South Bronx for DNAinfo and contributed to the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and other publications. Before becoming a journalist, he taught fourth grade at an elementary school on Chicago’s South Side.
KEITH WOODS is NPR’s Vice President for Diversity in News and Operations. His focus: to help NPR and member stations strengthen the breadth and depth of diversity in content, staff, audience and the work environment. Woods joined NPR in February 2010 after 15 years at the Poynter Institute, the nation’s leading training center for professional journalists. He spent his last five years at Poynter as its dean of faculty. He has taught writing and reporting on race relations, ethics and diversity, and was previously the Institute’s director of diversity. He regularly writes and speaks on race and media and is the co-author of “The Authentic Voice: The Best Reporting on Race and Ethnicity” published by Columbia University Press in 2006. Before joining Poynter, Woods spent 16 years at The Times-Picayune as a sportswriter, news reporter, city editor, editorial writer and columnist.