EdSource Staff


Louis Freedberg

Louis Freedberg, Executive Director. Louis joined EdSource as executive director in July 2011. For more than two decades, Freedberg has analyzed and reported on local, state, and national education policy issues. Before coming to EdSource, Freedberg was the founding director and senior education reporter at California Watch, a pioneering nonprofit journalism venture. He was also a founder of the California Media Collaborative, based at the Commonwealth Club of California. Prior to that, he spent more than a decade at the San Francisco Chronicle, where he was an award-winning education reporter, Washington correspondent, columnist, and member of the editorial board. He has served as an executive director of several nonprofit organizations, including Youth News  in Oakland. He also directed youth programs at Pacific News Service/New America Media. A South African by birth, he founded and directed the Institute for a New South Africa. Freedberg has been a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University, a Visiting Fellow at the Urban Institute in Washington D.C., and a Fellow at the Institute for Justice and Journalism at the University of Southern California. He has a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from UC Berkeley and a B.A. in developmental psychology from Yale University. Contact Louis Freedberg.


John Fensterwald

John Fensterwald, Editor-At-Large of EdSource Today. John joined EdSource in 2012. Prior to joining EdSource he was editor and co-writer for the “Thoughts on Public Education (TOP-Ed)” website, one of the leading sources of California education policy reporting and opinion, which he founded in 2009. For 11 years before that, John wrote editorials for the Mercury News in San Jose, with a focus on education. He worked as a reporter, news editor and opinion editor for three newspapers in New Hampshire for two decades before receiving a Knight Fellowship at Stanford University in 1997 and heading West shortly thereafter. His wife is an elementary school teacher and his daughter attends the University California at Davis. Contact John Fensterwald.


Denise Zapata, Senior Editor. Denise is senior editor at EdSource. Previously she was an associate editor for The Center for Investigative Reporting, where she was part of a project team that won a George Polk Award and another that was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. Denise began her journalism career at The Bakersfield Californian, where she covered several topics, including higher education, and later became an editor. She then joined The San Diego Union-Tribune as an assistant metro editor. Her duties there included overseeing education coverage for south San Diego County. Denise is a Bay Area native and a graduate of Santa Clara University. Contact Denise Zapata.


Jane Meredith Adams, Senior Reporter. Jane is a senior reporter covering student health at EdSource Today. Jane is a former staff reporter for the Boston Globe, where she covered social services, particularly as related to the AIDS epidemic and the foster care system. She is also the co-author of The Last Time I Wore a Dress (Putnam/Riverhead), an award-winning account of a young woman’s journey through the mental health system. She has been a contributing editor at Health magazine and Parenting, and her reporting on California has appeared in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune, Dallas Morning News, and many other publications. Prior to joining EdSource, she worked for five years at a K-8 school in Oakland. She has an A.B. in government from Harvard University and an M.A. in English and an M.F.A. in Writing from San Francisco State University. Contact Jane Meredith Adams.


Erin Brownfield, Editor, Leading Change Newsletter. Erin joined EdSource in 2010.  She currently is editor of  EdSource’s Leading Change newsletter, targeted at school board members and school district leaders.  She also assists with fund development and foundation relations. Prior to joining EdSource, Erin was a senior communications officer at The Wallace Foundation in New York where she managed major grants related to increasing awareness of the value of high-quality after school programs and other education initiatives. She also oversaw numerous foundation communications projects such as an award-winning online tool that calculates the costs of after school programs for youth in a variety of settings. Contact Erin Brownfield.


Erfert Fenton, Copy Editor.Erfert Fenton is the copy editor and fact checker for EdSource Today. She began her editing career at Macworld magazine, and then branched out from technical editing to a wide range of subject matter, including art books, memoirs, nature preserve site plans, and, of course, education. Contact Erfert Fenton.


Lisa Fine, Reporter.Lisa covers early childhood education for EdSource Today. She is a veteran journalist who has reported local and national news for publications including the Philadelphia Inquirer and Education Week. At EdWeek, she wrote about special education and gifted education. She has bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland. Her hobbies include stand-up comedy and sit-down dinners. Contact Lisa Fine.


Susan Frey, Reporter. Sue is a writer and editor who has been at EdSource since 1999. She is responsible for writing articles for EdSource Today, with a special focus on expanded learning initiatives, foster care and adult education. Frey also serves as secretary for Friends of African Village Libraries, a nonprofit that builds libraries and promotes the culture of reading in sub-Saharan Africa. She holds a B.A. in International Studies from Ohio State University and a B.A. with honors in Journalism from San Jose State University. Contact Susan Frey.


Michelle Maitre, Reporter. Michelle, career and college readiness reporter at EdSource Today, is a Bay Area native with more than 15 years of education reporting and editing experience. She started covering higher education as a reporter for the San Jose State University college newspaper and covered K-12 and higher education at several daily newspapers, including the Gilroy Dispatch, the Union-Democrat and the Monterey County Herald. She joined the staff of the Oakland Tribune in 2003 as regional higher education reporter before moving into editing, where she worked as deputy projects editor for the Bay Area News Group, assistant managing editor of the Oakland Tribune, and online breaking news editor. Maitre was a lead editor on the Chauncey Bailey Project, a consortia of Bay Area media investigating the shooting death of Bailey, editor of the Oakland Post. Contact Michelle Maitre.


John C. Osborn, Digital Communications Manager. John is the Digital Communications Manager for EdSource. In this role, he assists in the development of digital media initiatives, produces data-driven and interactive web projects, and makes sure the EdSource website is always alive and well. Prior to EdSource, John attended the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism where he graduated with a Masters in Journalism. He was one of the first recipients of the AP-Google Scholarship for innovative projects at the crossroads of journalism and technology. His freelance work has appeared in publications such as the East Bay Express. He also teaches data visualization workshops at the UC Berkeley Knight Digital Media Center. Contact John C. Osborn.


Smita Patel, EdSource Director, Ed-Data Partnership. Smita is the EdSource Director, Ed-Data Partnership; Senior Web and Communications Manager. She coordinated the first redesign of EdSource Online in 2000 and the development of a content management system and e-commerce capability for the website in 2001. Since that time she has worked with EdSource on a variety of projects, including managing the survey recruitment and retrieval for EdSource’s Similar Students and Gaining Ground in the Middle Grades research projects and helping launch the California School Finance website. She is responsible for coordinating website projects and leads EdSource’s work on the Ed-Data partnership as well as providing outreach and communication support. She co-founded and volunteers actively for the Mountain Children’s Forum, a project to empower children in rural mountain communities. She holds a B.A. with honors in Journalism from San Jose State University. Contact Smita Patel.


Laurie Udesky, Reporter. Laurie Udesky has been a reporter and editor for more than 15 years. She has reported on health, social welfare, and public policy for print, radio and online outlets, including The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Salon.com, and National Public Radio, among many other outlets. She’s won a number of national and regional honors for her work, including awards from Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Sidney Hillman Foundation, the Association of Health Care Journalists, Exceptional Merit Media Award (EMMA), and the Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California chapter. Contact Laurie Udesky.


Consultants to EdSource

Joy E. Carlson, Principal, J. Carlson Consulting, is an organizational development consultant specializing in strategic planning, and policy and program development, with particular focus on non-profit organizations in transition or start-up modes. She is the founder and former executive director of the national organization the Children¹s Environmental Health Network, and has worked in the non-profit sector for several decades. She has provided consultation to state, national, and international organizations.

René Durazzo is a communications and community action strategist. He is the founder of All-In Strategies, a consultancy based in Oakland, California specializing in achieving high-impact community change, particularly in public education and public health. René has over twenty years of experience in developing communications, policy and community action initiatives in communities ranging from San Francisco, California to Durban, South Africa.

Template last modified: