Cara Fitzpatrick is an education reporter at the Tampa Bay Times.
In 2016, she and Times reporters Lisa Gartner and Michael LaForgia won the Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting for Failure Factories, a five-part investigation that traced the rapid decline of five elementary schools after the Pinellas County School Board abandoned integration efforts. The series also was honored with the George Polk Award for Education Reporting, the Worth Bingham Prize for Investigative Journalism, the Investigative Reporters and Editors Medal, and the Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting, among other awards. Fitzpatrick has been a reporter for about 14 years, with most of that time focused on education.
For her Spencer fellowship, she plans to follow up on “Failure Factories,” exploring whether the school system can fix the problems in the schools without addressing the economic and racial segregation caused by its decision.
Fitzpatrick grew up in Washington State and graduated from the University of Washington and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She is married to Michael LaForgia, now an investigative reporter at the New York Times, and they have two children.