Samantha Hernandez has covered education and courts for the Green Bay Press-Gazette in Green Bay, Wisconsin since 2017. Prior to that, she covered rural education issues in Door County, Wisconsin, as the Door County Advocate’s education and general assignment reporter starting in 2010. Four of the county’s five school districts are rural, including Wisconsin’s smallest K-12 school located on an island. Hernandez continued covering rural issues at the Press-Gazette in the areas of school funding (link is external) and mental health (link is external) and reported on a program to help Spanish speakers obtain GEDs (link is external). Hernandez is an active participant in the Education Writers Association where she has contributed her expertise on covering rural school districts as a national conference speaker and has served on its Diversity and Inclusion Task Force.

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Hernandez plans to spend her Spencer Fellowship year reporting on how states are addressing school funding gaps in rural areas and how those districts are working to make up for funding shortfalls.