Erin Richards  is currently enterprise reporter at USA Today. After her Spencer Fellowship she returned to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel to cover education in urban and suburban Milwaukee. She was awarded the O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Reporting in 2018, where she and her team of interns launched an online and print series called Lessons Lost. It examines the academic impact of student turnover between schools in Wisconsin and across the nation.

Richards’ Spencer supported work on Milwaukee’s Voucher Verdict, about what 26 years of vouchers can teach the private-school choice movement, was published in the American Prospect in 2016. Her piece on School vouchers’ impact on Catholic schools, was published in February of 2017 by USA Today.

Before the fellowship, Richards worked as education reporter and part-time news editor at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel from 2007 to 2018, covering suburban government before moving to urban education and state education policy. She also herded the newspaper’s summer interns and has been a journalism instructor at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wis.

Erin’s 2009 series Beyond the Bell, about the tattered link between a quality education and a sound home life, was a Livingston Award finalist. And Building a Better Teacher, a 2010 series she co-authored that took a sweeping look at efforts to change the ways teachers are trained, paid, assessed and dismissed, won first place in the Education Writers Association annual contest.

A lifelong equestrian and travel enthusiast, Erin has written for numerous national equine sports publications, freelanced for Missouri Life and, and worked at Budget Travel magazine.

Erin has a master’s degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia Journalism School and an undergraduate degree from Murray State University in Murray, Ken.

You can follow her work at JSOnline and tweet to her at @emrichards.

Spencer Projects:

“Milwaukee’s Voucher Verdict,” winter 2017 issue of American Prospect magazine.

School vouchers’ impact on Catholic schools, USA Today, Feb. 2017

Some of Erin’s favorite pieces include:

A profile of a young student who rose from poverty and abuse to become a pre-professional ballet dancer, after being adopted by his teacher:

A twist on the why-is-Finland so successful story, with an eye toward what Wisconsin could learn from the country’s reforms:

The “Changing Classrooms” series, detailing innovations reshaping the delivery of education in a time of tight resources:

An analysis of how the U.S. government’s immigration policies are playing out in the horse industry, which employs tens of thousands of Mexicans at racetracks and show barns around the country: