Jo Napolitano has been covering public education for much of the past 18 years. She was hired as a full-time freelancer for The New York Times’ national desk in 2002 and left the paper two years later to join the staff of the Chicago Tribune. Her work at the paper sparked what was then the largest investigation of a school district in Illinois history. It led to the indictment of a superintendent who squandered money earmarked for poor children.
As a Spencer Fellow, Napolitano tracked the progress of new immigrant children as they relocate from Syria and other locations to suburban and rural America. Her book is on its way to publication by Beacon Press in 2021.
Hired by Newsday in 2010 as a special (senior) writer, Napolitano has spent the past five years exposing cheating scandals, exploring the nation’s controversial teacher evaluation laws and shining a light on a local school district that refused to enroll unaccompanied immigrant minors.
Born in Bogota, Colombia and abandoned at a bus stop days later, Napolitano spent the first months of her life in an orphanage. Adopted, she moved to a blue-collar section of Long Island and attended public school before gaining entrance to Northwestern University.
Examples of Napolitano’s Newsday work: