Columbia Journalism School

The Teacher Project


Fellows’ published work:

In this impoverished Mississippi community, teacher assistant is a coveted job. It pays $9 an hour.

Las Vegas can't afford to give teachers more money. It's giving them superhero capes instead.

Why are some teachers being evaluated based on the test scores of kids they didn't teach?

Our teacher diversity problem is not just about recruitment. It's about retention. Winner of national Education Writers Association award

New high school equivalency exam demands more of teachers.

The Teacher Project is an ambitious journalistic effort to report on the next generation of American teachers. Three reporting fellows, all recent alums of the Journalism School, work under the supervision of a veteran education journalist. Each year the School will hire a new round of fellows to report on the impact of education policy through the eyes of those most affected: teachers and families. They will survey their challenges and successes. They will uncover larger trends emerging inside American classrooms. The Teacher Project is dedicated to the idea that deeply reported, groundbreaking education journalism can challenge assumptions and change lives.

The Teacher Project has partnered with Slate Magazine where most of its stories have appeared in its blog, Schooled. In addition, the fellows’ stories have been published in several major media outlets, including NPR, WNYC, New Orleans Public Radio, Milwaukee Public Radio, Montana's Last Best News, the New Orleans Advocate and Chalkbeat. The faculty advisor for the project is Journalism School professor LynNell Hancock.

The Teacher Project receives funding from the Emerson Collective and the Pinkerton Foundation, while additional funders are being sought to extend the coverage into 2020. Columbia Journalism School provides material, financial, educational and administrative support. The project’s sponsors have no role in the selection of fellows or in editorial decisions.

For more information about the initiative, please e-mail Teacher Project editor Sarah Carr at

Teacher Project staff and fellows:

Fellow_carrThe project director is Sarah Carr, who has written about education for the past 14 years. Carr is the author of Hope Against Hope, a nonfiction account of the New Orleans schools post Hurricane-Katrina, which she reported with the support of a Spencer Education Journalism Fellowship at Columbia. Carr has covered schools for the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. She has also contributed to The New York Times, the Atlantic magazine, The Nation, the Wilson Quarterly, Next City magazine, and New Orleans public radio. Carr has won several national awards, including from the Education Writers Association. She is a graduate of Williams College and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where she studied education writing and reported on the aftermath of 9/11 during the 2001-02 academic year. Twitter: @sarah_e_carr

The 2015-16 fellows are:


Miriam Hall is an Australian multimedia journalist. Before moving to the United States she worked as a reporter and producer for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, covering remote and regional Australia, current affairs and breaking news for radio and television. She has also worked as a live radio presenter. While in New York, Miriamwrote a long form piece about the American criminal justice system. She also covered social affairs and the arts. Along with her Masters of Arts degree from Columbia Journalism School, Miriam holds an Honors degree in Drama and French from the Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, and a Graduate Diploma in Radio and TV Broadcasting from Edith Cowan University, Perth. She has won numerous awards, and was a finalist for the Walkley Australian Young Journalist of the Year prize in 2011 for a national radio piece she reported on recovery from a destructive cyclone.


Jessica Huseman, the 2015 Columbia Journalism School class valedictorian and winner of the annual Hechinger prize for distinguished education reporting, has covered national and state education policy, testing, teacher tenure, school choice and more. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, SchoolBook, The Hechinger Report, Chalkbeat New York, The Dallas Morning News and others. She was a student in the Stabile Investigative Reporting Program at the journalism school, where she focused on data reporting and narrative writing, concentrating her reporting on education policy. During her spring semester, she was embedded at DeWitt Clinton High School in the North Bronx. Jessica grew up outside of Dallas and attended Southern Methodist University, where she majored in journalism and political science. After graduating, she covered housing finance for HousingWire Magazine. She then earned her teaching license from Relay Graduate School of Education and spent two years teaching debate and world history in Newark, N.J., at a charter school.


Second year as a fellow: Alexandria Neason writes about education, race, and culture.  She has covered on-the-job teacher training, blended learning, women's colleges, student teachers, and more. Her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, Chalkbeat New York,, Capital New York, and the Boston Globe Magazine, among others. At Columbia Journalism School, she focused on narrative writing, education reporting, and visual storytelling. During the spring semester she was embedded at DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx. Following graduation, she worked at The Hechinger Report where she covered national education news as an editorial intern. The child of an Army officer, Neason grew up all over the U.S. and earned a Bachelor of Science in communication arts from St. John's University in 2010, and a teaching license from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa in 2013. She is a 2011 Teach for America alumna, and spent two years teaching high school English at her alma mater in Hawai'i. Twitter: @alexandrianeas


2014-15 Teaching Fellows:


Matt Collette is a reporter whose work focuses on education and technology. He has reported for WNYC, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, and The New London Day, among others. At Columbia Journalism School, Collette focused on radio reporting and education journalism, which included a semester in which he was embedded at DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx. Collette is a graduate of Northeastern University, where he studied journalism and political science. He also worked at Northeastern from 2011 through 2013, covering research, student life, and issues in higher education for university publications. Twitter: @Matt_PC


Madeleine Cummings is a Canadian journalist who reports on education, sports, and the arts. She has written for various publications, including City Limits, Canadian Running, Wondering Sound, and Narratively. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill University and a Master of Science degree from Columbia Journalism School. At Columbia, she studied magazine journalism and education reporting and spent part of her spring semester as an embedded journalist at Ditmas Junior High School in Brooklyn. Twitter: @madcummings

Advisory board:

Andrea Bueschel, Spencer Foundation, associate vice-president

Steve Coll, Columbia Journalism School, dean

Nikole Hannah-Jones, New York Times Magazine, staff writer

Jeff Henig, Columbia’s Teachers College, professor of political science and education

Gloria Ladson-Billings, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Kellner family chair in urban education

Amy Low, Emerson Collective, managing director for communications

Linda Perlstein, Consultant and Author, Tested and Not Much Just Chillin’

Douglas Ready, Columbia’s Teachers College, associate professor of education and public policy


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