reports on politics and education for the Tribune, which she joined in November 2009. She writes about the effects of the state budget, school finance reform, accountability and testing in Texas public schools. Her political coverage has included congressional and legislative races, as well as Gov. Rick Perry's presidential campaign, which she followed to Iowa and New Hampshire.
In 2013, she received a National Education Writers Association award for "Death of a District," a series on school closures. After earning a bachelor's degree in English from Wellesley College, she moved to Austin in 2008 to enter law school at the University of Texas.
A San Antonio native, her work has also appeared in Slate, where she spent a year as an editorial intern in Washington D.C.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who is facing three GOP primary challengers in his re-election bid, released a campaign video Tuesday highlighting his relationship with the grass roots and his skills as a listener — whether it's during "ice cream with Americans for Prosperity or dinner with the Waco Tea Party."
Chairman Barry Smitherman of the Railroad Commission of Texas in his office, May 31, 2013.
Your evening reading: Judge blocks school district's use of CSCOPE; Smitherman calls for "conservative crusade" against EPA; extra time for jurors in Fort Hood shooting trial to review testimony
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Sen. Dan Patrick in the Senate chamber as political drama unfolds at the Texas Capitol in the last hour of the 83rd Texas Legislature's first special session.
A group of plaintiffs in the Llano Independent School District has obtained a court order banning the use of CSCOPE lessons until those lessons get State Board of Education approval.
Latisha Andrews is shown on the playground of Beta Academy, which is housed at the Christian Temple Assembly of God Church in Houston on Aug. 6, 2013. She is applying to convert the private school into a charter school.
Charter schools with ties to faith-based organizations have cropped up across Texas. Proponents say that's a result of smart budgeting, but critics have concerns about oversight and worry that faith-based instruction could enter some classrooms.
Under a new accountability system, Texas schools are placed in two categories: "met standard" or "needs improvement." The state education agency announced Thursday that 93 percent of Texas school districts achieved the first designation.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the state Senate during the abortion debate on July 13, 2013.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst unveiled a campaign team heavy on national grassroots experience as he officially announced his bid for re-election Wednesday.
Pre-kindergarten students at the Dallas Independent School District's Cesar Chavez Learning Center.
Under a major new Obama administration initiative promoting early education, Texas is eligible for $308 million in federal money to fund full-day pre-kindergarten programs. But the money might never get here.
Rune Mathisen / Rebecca Lai
Under House Bill 5, students entering high school this fall will take 10 fewer state exams than their classmates two years ahead of them. This story is part of our month-long 31 Days, 31 Ways series.
Bayless Elementary teacher Holly Guillmen identifies and explains the use of the contents of the Waterwise home water conservation kit provided to students by the High Plains Underground Water District in Lubbock, Texas, Oct. 17, 2012.
For parents and educators who want less classroom time spent on state exams, hopes rest on recently passed legislation, but it comes with a challenge: Texas likely must first obtain waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
An extended drama over a controversial curriculum tool used by Texas public schools took a new turn Wednesday as Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst entered the fray with a letter to the State Board of Education and Senate Education Chairman Dan Patrick pushed to add the issue to the special session agenda.
State Board of Education member-elect Thomas Ratliffe speaks to a special hearing on history in the Capitol Extension.
UPDATED: The State Board of Education will take up the issue of whether school districts can continue to use lessons from a controversial state curriculum system at its September meeting. And the Texas Attorney General's office, along with Education Chairman Dan Patrick, has requested an official state audit of the program.
Greg Abbott at a campaign stop after announcing his run for governor.
Attorney General Greg Abbott's story of adversity has the potential to resonate deeply with voters. But in the past, it has exposed him to criticism from those who say he has battered the legal protections he benefited from for political gain.
After a report from the State Auditor's Office pointed out flaws in the Texas Education Agency's oversight of a $462 million testing contract, the agency said Tuesday it will "immediately" implement new monitoring guidelines.
Veteran English teacher Sara Brenan works with students at Anderson High School's summer program in the Austin Independent School District.
As educators welcome the coming changes in state testing requirements, some school districts are looking ahead at another part of recently passed education reform. The state is expanding the courses that will count toward a high school diploma.
UPDATED: With a vote of 19-11, the Senate on Friday night sent controversial abortion legislation to Gov. Rick Perry. While the crowd outside of the chamber chanted, there were none of the eruptions inside that helped kill the abortion bill in the first special session.