Liz Willen


Liz Willen, a longtime education reporter, has been proud to lead an award-winning staff of The Hechinger Report since 2011. She was recently honored for commentary writing by the New York Press Club. Liz got her start in newspapers as feature editor of Northport High School’s “The Rag,” in Northport, New York and worked at an array of New England newspapers before covering New York City public schools for New York Newsday. She’s a graduate of Tufts University and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and a board member for the Spencer Education Fellowships at Columbia. Liz is a sought-after moderator at education conferences and events, has been an active New York City public school parent and recipient of the “Above and Beyond,” award by the media company City & State for exemplary leadership. She hates jargon.


Sarah Garland


Sarah Garland is the executive editor of The Hechinger Report. She started out in journalism reporting on murders and mayhem in New York City for New York Newsday and the New York Times, before joining the New York Sun, where she discovered a passion for the education beat. As a Spencer Fellow in Education Reporting at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, she wrote “Divided We Fail” (Beacon Press), a narrative of the landmark enactment and repeal of court-ordered school desegregation in her hometown of Louisville, KY. Garland is a graduate of Macalester College in St. Paul and has a joint master’s degree in journalism and Latin American studies from New York University. In 2009, Garland published her second book, “Gangs in Garden City,” about Salvadoran street gangs in the Long Island suburbs. Her first book, “The Haunted Kitchen,” was awarded the best entry by a third grader at Coleridge-Taylor Elementary. During the really cool and somewhat dangerous field trips hosted by her public elementary and middle schools, Garland learned to sail a tall ship, developed a phobia of underwater caves, and cooked pancakes “like a pioneer” over an open fire.


Salina Sanchez


Salina Sanchez is business manager. She oversees the management and reporting of all grants, budgets and spending. Sanchez holds a bachelor’s degree in literature from Purchase College, SUNY and a master’s degree in English from New York University. Since joining Hechinger in 2007, she has also organized numerous professional development seminars. Over the years it has been confirmed that she has a serious and mildly concerning addiction to sesame bagels.


Chelsea Slosky Miller

Development director

Chelsea Slosky Miller is development director of The Hechinger Report. She helps maintain Hechinger’s revenue streams and advance an overarching strategy for its long-term sustainability, including finding new funding sources. Chelsea brings more than 17 years of nonprofit fundraising experience, most recently at The New Press, a preeminent public interest book publisher. At New Press, Chelsea broadened fundraising operations, professionalized institutional communications, established its annual Social Justice Awards gala, and expanded its board of directors. Chelsea previously enjoyed eight years at the Brennan Center for Justice, growing individual and foundation fundraising to help that distinguished think tank develop into a dominant public policy institute. Chelsea’s first job out of Smith College was in the pioneering industry of interactive television (read: meteoric rise and precipitous fall), where she witnessed the birth (or at least broad adoption) of this thing we call the Internet. She was born on an island just 14 miles long and three miles wide, where she learned to swim before she could walk. She is an active New York City public school parent.


Lawrie Mifflin


Lawrie Mifflin is managing editor. Until 2013 she was a senior editor at The New York Times, where she spent 30 years as a reporter, an editor and an executive supervising new digital initiatives. She helped launch and lead the Times’s television and web video departments, as well as the Knowledge Network, which offered online adult education courses from Times staffers; earlier in her career, she was the paper’s national education editor. She joined The Times as a sportswriter, after having been the first woman sportswriter at the New York Daily News. She holds a B.A. in history from Yale University and an M.S. from the Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. A Philadelphia native, she started Yale’s first varsity team for women — field hockey — and wrote her master’s thesis at Columbia about the first girls to break into Little League baseball.


Jon Marcus

Higher Education Editor

Jon Marcus, higher-education editor, has written about higher education for the Washington Post, USA Today, Time, the Boston Globe, Washington Monthly, is North America higher-education correspondent for the Times (U.K.) Higher Education magazine, and contributed to the book Reinventing Higher Education. His Hechinger coverage has won national awards from the Education Writers Association and he was a finalist for an award for beat reporting from the New York chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. The former editor of Boston magazine, Marcus holds a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and a bachelor’s degree from Bates College. A journalism instructor at Boston College, he says he ends up learning from his students far more than he teaches them.


Jill Barshay


Jill Barshay is a staff writer and editor who writes the weekly “Proof Points” column about education research and data. She taught algebra to ninth graders for the 2013-14 school year. In school, English was Jill’s worst subject; she now thanks all the teachers who covered her papers in red ink. Previously, Jill was the New York bureau chief for Marketplace, a national business show on public radio stations. She has also written for Congressional Quarterly, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and the Financial Times and appeared on CNN and ABC News. A graduate of Brown University, Jill holds master’s degrees from the London School of Economics and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She was a 2016-17 Spencer Fellow in Education Journalism. In 2019 she received the American Educational Research Association’s award for excellence in media reporting on education research.


Matt Bruderle


Matt Bruderle, program manager, has worked for the Institute in various roles since 2007. A native of northern Virginia, Matt has almost two decades of experience in higher education administration, including positions at Purchase College, SUNY-Oswego, and Emerson College. Matt has a master’s degree in education from Colorado State University and earned his bachelor’s degree in public relations and communications from Virginia Tech. He had his first byline in the second grade, when a poem he wrote was published in the local paper.


Sarah Butrymowicz


Sarah Butrymowicz is senior editor for investigations. For her first four years at The Hechinger Report, she was a staff writer, covering k-12 education, traveling the country and developing an affinity for rural America. She then fell in love with spreadsheets and statistics and served as data editor for two years. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, as well as on and She was the winner of the 2012 New York Press Club’s Nellie Bly Cub Reporter Award. Before receiving a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University and an M.S. from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, she attended public schools in Connecticut, where she had a tendency to go overboard on school projects. Her family still talks about her sixth grade haunted house project in hushed, reverent tones.


Sarah Carr


Sarah Carr is a contributing editor who also oversees the Teacher Project at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. She has reported on battles over school vouchers, efforts to educate China’s massive population of migrant children, and the explosion of charter schools in New Orleans. Sarah is the author of Hope Against Hope, a nonfiction account of New Orleans schools post Hurricane-Katrina, which she reported as a Spencer Education Journalism fellow. Sarah has contributed to the Atlantic magazine, Slate, New Orleans public radio and numerous other media outlets, winning several national awards. She is a graduate of Williams College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Sarah attended the Nauset Regional School District in Massachusetts, and got her start in journalism interning at the Cape Cod Times newspaper. A local high school kicked her out for trying to cover a student protest rally her first day as an intern, and Sarah is grateful to the many schools since then that have let her stay.


Pete D’Amato


Pete D’Amato is the data visualization developer. He started his journalism career as a writer and photographer in Latin America, and his work has appeared in Americas Quarterly and online for Vice and Sports Illustrated. Jumping on the learn-to-code train, he picked up Javascript and Python. Before Hechinger, he was the deputy web editor at Crain’s New York Business. He’s an FAA-certified drone pilot, if you ever need a burrito delivered.


Nichole Dobo


Nichole Dobo is the senior editor for audience engagement and a writer. Her work has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, The Atlantic’s online edition, Mind/Shift, WHYY NewsWorks, Slate and in McClatchy newspapers. She was a staff writer at The News Journal in Wilmington, Del., The York Daily Record/Sunday News in York, Pa., The Times-Tribune in Scranton, Pa. and The Citizens’ Voice in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. She was a 2015 AERA-EWA Data Journalism Fellow. She won first prize and best of show for education writing in 2011 from the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association. She earned a B.A. in journalism at the Pennsylvania State University. She is a graduate of a small​, rural ​high school in Appalachia. She walked a mile every day on a dirt road to get to her school bus stop.


Barbara Kantrowitz


Barbara Kantrowitz, a senior editor, is an award-winning magazine editor and writer. She worked at Newsweek for nearly 25 years in the magazine’s society section, where she wrote and edited dozens of cover stories on health, education, religion and women’s issues. Kantrowitz has also worked at People, The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Newsday and The Hartford Courant, and has freelanced for many national publications. She is a graduate of Cornell University and Columbia Journalism School, where she has been an adjunct professor since 2009. One of her major life goals is to visit all 50 states.


Meredith Kolodner

senior investigative reporter

Meredith Kolodner is a senior investigative reporter. She previously covered schools for the New York Daily News and was an editor at and for The Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute. She’s also covered housing, schools, and local government for the Press of Atlantic City and The Chief-Leader newspaper and her work has appeared in the New York Times and the Washington Post. Kolodner is a graduate of Brown University and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and an active New York City public school parent. She is grateful to her 11th grade English teacher who persistently gave her Cs on essays until she finally stopped burying the lead.


Jackie Mader


Jackie Mader is multimedia editor. She has covered preK-12 education and teacher preparation nationwide, with a focus on the rural south. Her work has appeared in the The Denver Post, the Sun Herald and The Clarion-Ledger, as well as on, The Atlantic and She was the winner of the 2013 Front Page Award for In-Depth Newspaper reporting from The Newswomen’s Club of New York, as well as the 2014 Nellie Bly Cub Reporter Award from the New York Press Club. Her most notable award, however, came from The California Dried Plum Association when she was 13-years-old and won a recipe contest for her “Puffy Plum Cake,” which she dreamt up during a particularly uneventful summer vacation. She received a bachelor’s degree from Loyola Marymount University and an M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Prior to attending Columbia, she taught special education in Charlotte, N.C. and trained first-year teachers in the Mississippi Delta.


Davin McHenry


Davin McHenry is the web editor, responsible for managing The Hechinger Report website. He has spent the last decade working on news websites, including previously at the Bakersfield Californian newspaper. While in Bakersfield he rose from county government reporter to assistant city editor to web editor. He also wrote a lousy novel, had two plays produced locally and restored two classic cars. Before that he worked as a reporter in Hanford, Ca. and Goleta, Ca. And before that, time did not exist and all was still.


Lillian Mongeau

senior editor, WESTern BUREAU CHIEF

Lillian Mongeau is a Senior Editor and the Western Bureau Chief. Her future as a writer was not a foregone conclusion. “I would like to see her put more effort into her writing,” Ms. Gill wrote on Lillian’s first grade report card. Always one to follow good advice, Lillian has gone on to win several awards for her writing. Most notably, her series on the lack of public preschool in the United States made her a finalist for a 2017 Livingston Award for Young Journalists. Her work for The Hechinger Report has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, and The Christian Science Monitor, among other publications. Before becoming a journalist, Lillian spent two years on the Texas-Mexico border teaching middle school English as a Teach For America corps member. Lillian is an alumna of the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and Barnard College at Columbia University. When she’s not reading the news or a novel, she likes to ski, quilt, run and play with her kids.


Neal Morton


Neal Morton is the Western education reporter for The Hechinger Report, covering 10 states in the West: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Neal most recently reported on persistent problems — and promising solutions — in Washington’s public schools as part of the Education Lab team at The Seattle Times. Before that he covered the nation’s fifth-largest school district — Clark County, in Nevada — after starting his love affair with the education beat along the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas. He also spent three years in San Antonio reporting on the hospitality, manufacturing and retail industries. A child of the West, Neal has lived in Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah and Washington. He graduated from a Las Vegas high school before heading to Reno for journalism school and calls Sin City home. He once prompted the evacuation of that high school after sneaking a fog machine into his world history class for a group project on folk stories. Neal currently lives in Seattle, exploring the PNW via its classrooms and hiking trails.


Andre Perry


Dr. Andre Perry, a contributing writer, is a David M. Rubenstein Fellow at The Brookings Institution. Perry was the founding dean of urban education at Davenport University in Grand Rapids, Mich. Previously, Perry worked in both academic and administrative capacities, most notably as CEO of the Capital One-University of New Orleans Charter Network, which consisted of four charter schools in New Orleans. A native of Pittsburgh, Perry earned his Ph.D. in education policy and leadership from the University of Maryland-College Park. Perry’s views have been featured on NBC, National Public Radio, Al Jazeera America, GOOD Magazine,, The New Republic and CNN. In 2011, UNO Press released his book, The Garden Path: The Miseducation of a City.


Caroline Preston


Caroline Preston is a senior editor. She previously worked as a features editor with Al Jazeera America’s digital team and a senior reporter with The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Her freelance writing has appeared in The American Prospect’s online edition, Fusion, Jezebel, The New York Times, The New Yorker Online, and other publications. She holds a B.A. in history from Brown University and an M.S. from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. As an elementary and middle-school student, her favorite subject was art, and maybe one day she’ll again pick up a paintbrush.


Javeria Salman


Javeria Salman is the digital news producer. Prior to joining The Hechinger Report, she worked as an editor and reporter at The East Carolinian, an independent college newspaper in eastern North Carolina, where she was recognized by the North Carolina College Media Association for her reporting and opinion writing. Javeria spent a decade working on various media teams and youth leadership programs with non-profit Muslim American organizations. She graduated from East Carolina University with a B.S. in communication and a concentration in journalism. Javeria has lived in three other countries, five U.S. states and too many cities to count, and grew up constantly on the move. When she’s not traveling, she’s either reading the news, listening to a podcast about news or nerding out over journalism history.


Christina Samuels

Senior Editor

Christina Samuels is a senior editor focusing on coverage in the South. She both writes and assigns stories that capture educational innovation, resilience and inequities in the region, from early childhood education to higher education. Christina previously worked at Education Week, where she covered topics such as educational equity, special education, early childhood education and school district governance. She also had stints as a staff writer at The Washington Post and The Miami Herald. She is a graduate of the journalism program at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee. Christina’s interest in journalism was sparked in high school, when her English teacher suggested she apply for a two-week minority journalism workshop held on the campus of Howard University. The rest, as they say, is history.


Olivia Sanchez

higher education reporter

Olivia Sanchez is a higher education reporter. She previously covered local and state government for the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland. Olivia earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Portland.


Anthony Session


Anthony Session Jr. is a contracts/operations associate. He maintains the contracts and orders of the Hechinger writing team, as well as, expense reports. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Monroe College. Session is an avid New York Knicks’ fan and has learned that Celtic green is fairly good but could’ve been better, in his most humble opinion.


Justin Snider


Justin Snider is a contributing editor at The Hechinger Report. He is an assistant dean at Columbia University, where he also teaches undergraduate writing. Previously, Snider taught high-school English and advised student publications in the United States, Europe and Asia. A California native, he holds degrees from Amherst College, the University of Chicago, the University of Vienna, Harvard University and Columbia University. Snider’s fanatical devotion to the written word generally and to English grammar specifically can be traced to the worst grade of his life — a check-minus — on his report card in second-grade Language Arts, taught by his own mother.