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.

Justin Allen, Web Designer and Developer. Justin leads ongoing development of the EdSource website and digital media projects, contributes to reporting and collaborates with journalists and editors. Prior to joining EdSource, Justin did a range of full-stack web development and design work at Citizen Engagement Lab for leading digital advocacy organizations. Before that, he worked as a freelancer in the US and abroad for startups, arts and media organizations including Colorlines.com, the San Francisco Symphony and Niiu (now Newscase). Justin received a BA in English from San Francisco State University.
Contact Justin Allen.

Rose Ciotta, Associate Editor. Rose is a Pulitzer Prize winning editor from The Philadelphia Inquirer where she co-edited “Assault on Learning,” an investigation into violence in Philadelphia schools that won the 2012 Gold Medal for Public Service. Rose joined The Inquirer as a reporter and data specialist and did award-winning stories into drunken driving and police brutality.
She supervised education coverage as the education editor and deputy city editor and directed production of an annual school report card. Rose previously worked as a reporter and editor at The Buffalo News. Most recently, Rose worked in television as an investigative producer at WIVB-TV, the CBS affiliate in Buffalo where her team won Edward R. Murrow and Associated Press awards on multi-media investigations into restaurant inspections and food safety. She has a B.S. from Syracuse University in newspaper journalism and political science. She attended Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow and served on the board of Investigative Reporters & Editors, the world’s largest training group for journalists.
Contact Rose Ciotta.

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. John joined EdSource in 2012. Before joining EdSource he was editor and co-writer for the “The Educated Guess” website, a leading source of California education policy reporting and opinion, sponsored by the Silicon Valley Education Foundation, 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 a retired elementary school teacher and his daughter attends the UC Davis School of Medicine. Contact John Fensterwald.

Hallie Fryd, Social Media and Engagement Manager. Hallie is EdSource’s social media and engagement manager. Prior to joining EdSource Hallie built ground up social media strategies for San Francisco startups NeonMob and Lumosity. She’s the author of two young-adult nonfiction books, Scandalous!, a history of 20th-century American scandals and Martyrdom: The Coloring Book. She received a BFA in Communication Design from Carnegie Mellon University and has lived and worked in the Bay Area since 2000. Contact Hallie Fryd.

Larry Gordon, Senior Correspondent. Larry Gordon was a higher education writer at the Los Angeles Times, where he covered colleges and universities in California and nationwide. He won the first place award for education reporting in 2014 from the California Newspaper Publishers Association. Larry previously was a reporter and editor at the Bergen Record in his home state New Jersey. He was a mid-career Fulbright Fellow, teaching journalism at the American University in Bulgaria. He earned a master’s degree at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and a bachelor’s at Georgetown University. He is co-author of the hiking guide “Stairway Walks in Los Angeles.” He is based in Los Angeles. Contact Larry Gordon.

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.

Ashley Hopkinson, Reporter. Ashley Hopkinson is a digital journalist committed to excellent storytelling. Ashley began her career as a crime reporter for The Montgomery Advertiser in Alabama. Since then, she has covered health care, immigration, politics, arts and culture. Ashley earned her undergraduate degree in Journalism from Auburn University while writing for The Birmingham News and The Gadsden Times. Several years later, she earned a Master’s degree in Journalism from the University of California at Berkeley, where she was an instructor in the UC Berkeley Film and Media Department and a senior reporter and producer for Richmond Confidential, a hyperlocal news site in the Bay Area. Ashley has also worked for The Associated Press Bureau in Atlanta and The Times-Picayune in New Orleans. Prior to joining Ed Source, Ashley was the Storytelling Editor for The Desert Sun in Palm Springs. Contact Ashley Hopkinson.

Carolyn Jones, Reporter. Carolyn Jones covers math and science education for EdSource. She was a reporter for 17 years at the San Francisco Chronicle, where she covered the environment, Oakland city hall and other beats. She received the 2011 Harold Gilliam Award for Excellence in Environmental Reporting for stories about the economic impact of environmental restoration, as well as numerous awards for feature writing from the East Bay Press Club. She also covered health care for the Oakland Tribune and education for both the Hayward Daily Review and Sonora Union Democrat. She has a B.A. from UC Berkeley in English and lives in Oakland with her two kids. Contact Carolyn Jones.

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.

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.

George White, Senior Reporter. Prior to joining EdSource, George provided editing and reporting services as a consultant at three organizations – New America Media, the Center for Educational Improvement and Robert L. Green & Associates. As editor and lead writer for the Green & Associates education consulting team, George coauthored and edited “Expect the Most – Provide the Best,” a 2014 Scholastic Inc. book on best educational practices and contributed to “A Call for Change,” a 2012 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt anthology on education reform. George covered education issues for New America Media and the Center for Educational Improvement. Previously, George managed the UCLA Center for Communications and Community, an institute that helped news organizations and nonprofits engage communities. Also, as editor of the UCLA center’s website, he managed reports on issues related to education, health and community development. George joined the UCLA center after 11 years as an editor and reporter for the Los Angeles Times. He was a member of the reporting teams that earned Pulitzer Prizes for coverage of the 1992 Los Angeles riots and the 1994 Northridge earthquake. In addition, his 1995 exposés on a Thai sweatshop slavery ring in El Monte, Ca. helped prompt national reforms in the U.S. apparel and retail industries. George earned a M.A. in African history and a B.A. in journalism at Michigan State University. Contact George White.

Yuxuan(Sunny) Xie, Junior Web designer and developer. Yuxuan received a MA in Fine Arts from Interactive Media Program of University of Miami and a BA in Journalism from Guangdong University of Foreign Studies in China. She designs graphics, interactive charts and maps for EdSource news stories from big data. Contact Yuxuan Xie.

Mikhail Zinshteyn, Reporter. Mikhail is EdSource’s reporter on charter schools in California and is based at EdSource’s Los Angeles office. He previously worked as a program manager at Education Writers Association, helping to lead data and news-gathering trainings for reporters. He was also a contributing writer for The Atlantic and The Hechinger Report. Mikhail, whose name is pronounced “Michael,” was born in the Soviet Union. Mikhail earned a degree in Philosophy and Russian at Union College and a master’s in comparative politics at The London School of Economics. Pell grants helped cover the cost of his education.
Contact Mikhail Zinshteyn.