Vanessa Romo is the lead education reporter for LA School Report, the only online news site dedicated to closely covering the policies and politics of Los Angeles Unified, the second largest school district in the nation. Over the last two years she’s covered the district’s mismanagement of the iPads-for-all program, controversies over co-location charter school assignments, and the ongoing fight over the different sides of the public school reform debate.

Before coming to the LA School Report, Romo was a multi-platform education reporter for NPR’s Los Angeles affiliate station, KPCC where she won a first place award form the Education Writers Association for a series of stories on the Los Angeles school district’s school discipline policies. That same year she also won a 2013 Edward R. Murrow Award for a radio piece on a child abuse scandal in one of the poorest pockets of the district.

Over a seven-year career in radio she was a business and labor reporter at NPR affiliate KPLU in Seattle and Tacoma, and has contributed to Marketplace and NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Code Switch Blog. She also covered the education beat for TakePart.

As an LA native, Romo grew up in a predominantly Latino neighborhood and attended local public schools. She witnessed her classmates struggle to bridge the chasm between the languages spoken at home and language taught in classrooms. This was one factor that inspired her proposal to spend her Spencer year exploring the connection between language, culture and the achievement gap among foreign language speakers through the lens of LA’s pioneering initiatives.


Spencer Project: “How White Teachers Can Become Culturally Competent,” Slate Magazine, June, 2016. Part of “Tomorrow’s Test” Series.

And a fun one: