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This is a bittersweet day for LA School Report.
After two years as our lead reporter, Vanessa Romo is leaving us to pursue a fellowship at Columbia University in New York.
She is among three journalists who were selected as the school’s Spencer Fellows in Education Reporting, for a program that provides participants the time and resources to investigate critical issues in education. Vanessa intends to examine new initiatives for Standard English Learners.
Vanessa came to us from KPCC, where she won a first place award from the Education Writers Association for a series of stories on the Los Angeles school district’s school discipline policies.
For LA School Report, she’s been at the forefront of reporting on all the major issues affecting LA Unified, including budgets, iPads, faulty computer systems, board politics, union issues, instructional changes, charter schools, elections and activities involving the superintendent.
More than that, she’s been a terrific colleague.
Only a seasoned reporter could fill her shoes, and we think we’ve found the right one in Mike Szymanski, whose years as a journalist include working for Studio City Patch, the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Daily News, E! Online, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was the Movies Editor for Zap2it.com.
His freelance work has appeared in a variety of publications, including US Magazine, Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly and New York Newsday.
Mike has won awards from the California Newspaper Publishers, Valley Press Club, Lambda Literary Awards and Hearst Awards for Newswriting and Investigative Reporting. He also teaches journalism at UCLA Extension and guest lectures at local public and private schools in journalism and writing.
We at LA School Report wish Vanessa all the best as she embarks on this new chapter of her career, and we hope you’ll welcome Mike to our team.