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.

Lanita Pace-Hinton

Lanita Pace-Hinton, Deputy Director. Lanita is a senior program development manager and digital communications strategist. Prior to joining EdSource, she operated an independent digital media strategy agency, DMSG Consultants. She has 20-plus years of experience as a journalist, as a digital media trainer and in professional development. She was the founding director of the Knight Digital Media Center, an internationally recognized digital media leadership and skills training center at the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She has a B.A. in journalism from Howard University and a M.A. in education from UC Berkeley. Contact Lanita Pace-Hinton.

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.

Shella Brenner, Director of Development. . Shella is a resource development professional and non-profit manager with particular expertise in foundation grants, special events, and annual giving. Over two-plus decades, Shella has contributed to the growth and stability of numerous organizations in New York and the San Francisco Bay Area, including Legal Services for Children, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, the Community Service Society, Marymount Manhattan College, and the Lexington Center/School for the Deaf. She has taught proposal writing at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and led workshops and panel discussions to develop emerging fundraising professionals. She earned degrees in English literature from Stony Brook University (B.A.) and the City University of New York, Queens College (M.A.)Contact Shella Brenner.

Erin Brownfield, Editor, Leading Change Newsletter. Erin joined EdSource in 2010. She is editor of EdSource’s “Leading Change” newsletter for school board members and school district leaders, and “Eyes on the Early Years”, a resource on early childhood education. 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 afterschool programs and other education initiatives. She received her Masters of Public Policy and Administration from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service, and graduated from Miami University with honors in English. Contact Erin Brownfield.

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.

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.

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.

Theresa Harrington, Reporter. Theresa is covering the Common Core in Northern California. She came to EdSource from the Contra Costa Times/Bay Area News Group, where she covered regional, statewide and national education issues. She is well known by state education leaders, and education experts at universities and in the non-profit sector and has been recognized with multiple awards for her education reporting by the California Newspaper Publishers Association, the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club and the California Teachers Association among others. She began her career as a producer managing children’s and other educational programming and print outreach for KQED. Theresa is an alumna of San Francisco State University where she received a B.A. degree in broadcast communications. Contact Theresa Harrington.

Fermin Leal, Reporter. Fermin is EdSource’s career and college readiness reporter, based in Southern California. Fermin previously worked for 13 years as an education reporter at The Orange County Register. He covered K-12 education and the California State University and University of California systems. He has also covered Los Angeles Unified School District. Fermin earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Cal State Fullerton. Contact Fermin Leal.

Tiffany Lew, Social Media and Engagement Specialist. Tiffany is the Social Media and Engagement Specialist at EdSource.org. Previously she was at Scholastic working for the high school classroom magazine, The New York Times Upfront, where she reported on a feature covering fast fashion and the Bangladesh factory collapse. She received her masters at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and wrote her honors thesis on PBS children’s programming using advanced technology to adapt to the 21st century. While studying English and film at UC Davis, she worked at Henley Media Group in London, helping promote the U.K.’s National Family Week. She was also a columnist at The California Aggie. Tiffany is a Los Angeles area native. Contact Tiffany Lew.

Celeste Llamido, Office Manager. Celeste has been an interim office manager since April 2014 and has transitioned to the role as office manager at EdSource. She is also the assistant to the Executive and Deputy Directors. Prior to joining EdSource, Celeste has worked at State Street Bank for eight years as a Senior Admin Support Coordinator. She has experience working in human resources and has 14 years of experience in the financial sector. She received her BS degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Personnel and Administration at California State University, East Bay. Contact Celeste Llamido.

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 volunteers his time with OpenOakland, a group who uses techonology to solve civic problems. 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.


Michael Collier

Michael Collier, Consulting Editor. Michael Collier is a consulting editor at EdSource whose responsibilities include coaching the largest team of journalists covering public education in California. He worked most recently as politics editor and East Bay Bureau chief at the San Francisco Chronicle, and before that as an editor and reporter at the San Jose Mercury News and Oakland Tribune. He led award-winning projects shining a spotlight on delays in San Francisco’s 911 medical response system, the roots of deadly crime in Oakland and how Silicon Valley’s housing boom forced middle-class residents to relocate. Michael grew up in Oregon in a family of educators. He is an alum of UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. Contact Michael Collier.

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