News came out Monday morning that veteran education reporter Stephanie Banchero, the WSJ’s lead national writer, was leaving her job to join the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation as a senior program officer.
You may recall that the Chicago-based Banchero wrote a long, gripping series about the NCLB transfer option for the Chicago Tribune. She also won a Knight Journalism Fellowship in 2008-2009 (which allowed me to become a Spencer Fellow), and helped the national Education Writers Association upgrade and expand its operations.
More details about her departure and what she’s going to be doing at Joyce are below.
In departing the paper, Banchero joins Stephanie Simon, who left after four years at the Journal to join Politico. The Journal’s New York City metro area reporter, Lisa Fleisher, left the beat earlier this year (for a spot in London) and was replaced by Leslie Brody.
In joining an education foundation as a policy person (rather than going into communications), Banchero follows the path that a few other journalists have followed. For example, former EdWeek editor Lynne Olson has become a powerful part of the Gates Foundation’s grantmaking option.
See Banchero’s full goodbye email to the EWA list posted below, and the official Joyce announcement:
Hello fellow listservers,
I am writing to let you know that I am leaving the WSJ to take a job as the Senior Program Officer for Education at the Joyce Foundation. I will help lead the Foundation’s $8 million annual education grant portfolio, which currently focuses on issues such as improving teacher quality in high-needs schools. (details below.)
I am very excited about this new opportunity, and about the chance to become an “actor” after having been an “observer” for so long.
It’s not easy to leave journalism. It has been part of my identity and my soul for more than two decades. I’ve interviewed an array of people from the Dalai Lama to Michael Stipe to Michael Jordan. But the most memorable interviews — and most fulfilling stories — came in classrooms. I once heard an 8th grade boy, who trudged to class faithfully everyday, confess to his teacher (and me) that he lacked focus because, 8 months earlier, he’d been involved in a murder. I watched a 4-foot-10-inch fireplug of a principal propel herself into a brawl and come out with a 17-year-old gang leader in her clutch, and a split in her lip. I heard a fourth-grade homeless girl stammer “dig,” the first word she had ever read. And I spent a year with a third grader who, despite an indifferent and irresponsible mom, got herself to school perfectly groomed and clutching her completed homework.
Journalism gave me a rare peak into schools — and that conferred an awesome responsibility. I tried to use that power to tell stories about our children and our teachers and, hopefully, enlighten policy makers about the struggles they face. I’m realistic enough to know that newspaper stories have limited power and reach. But like Alex Kotlowitz once said, “the very act of storytelling is an act of hope.” I hope my new gig at Joyce allows me to help shape policies that also give hope to the [names removed] of the world.
My last day at the WSJ is Friday, May 2 and I start at Joyce on Monday, May 12.
I’m delighted to announce that Stephanie Banchero, national education reporter for the Wall Street Journal, will join the Joyce Foundation in mid-May as Senior Program Officer for Education. We at Joyce, and I know many of you, have followed Stephanie’s reporting on national education issues for the Journal. She’s demonstrated a rich understanding of the issues facing America’s educators, parents and students. I know she will do an outstanding job leading our work to identify and elevate the policies and practices that will help children succeed in the classroom.
In her new role at Joyce, Stephanie will help lead the Foundation’s $8 million annual education grant portfolio, which currently focuses on improving the quality of teachers in high-need schools, while also promoting high-quality charter schools and policies aimed at ensuring that children can read by the third grade.
During the search process, the Education Program was shepherded by Education Program Officer Jason Quiara. Together, Stephanie and Jason will review the Foundation’s grant making priorities and assess future policy-oriented opportunities to improve student achievement and close achievement gaps.
I know many of you will be eager to introduce yourselves to Stephanie once she starts, and I know she is just as enthusiastic about meeting our grantees and learning more about your work. She is already familiar with education issues in Chicago, having covered that beat for the Chicago Tribune for 13 years.
Stephanie’s nationally recognized reporting has received first place awards from the National Education Writers Association, the Missouri School of Journalism, The Harry Chapin Media Award and an honorable mention from the Casey Journalism Center on Children and Families. She was also awarded a prestigious one-year Knight Fellowship in journalism at Stanford University.
Stephanie holds a bachelor’s of arts from the University of Utah in Communications and a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She is a past president of the National Education Writers Association.
Please join me in welcoming Stephanie.
President, The Joyce Foundation