The Teacher Project | School of Journalism

The Teacher Project

The Teacher Project is an ambitious journalistic effort to report on issues of equity and access in American education, with a focus on teacher and student voices and perspectives. Reporting fellows, all recent alums of the Journalism School, work under the supervision of veteran education journalist Sarah Carr to cover underreported education trends.

The Project has published work at Slate, the Atlantic, NPR, ProPublica, and more than two dozen other newspapers and public radio stations. Four of the Project's stories or series have been honored with national awards, including first-place awards from the Education Writers Association for a 2016 series on race and education and for investigative reporting, and a top prize in the 2017 Front Page Awards for an investigation of for-profit alternative education. The Teacher Project strives to be innovative in its approach to reporting and storytelling, featuring a podcast, "What My Students Taught Me," produced in partnership with the Atlantic, WBEZ, and other public radio stations, and spearheading the production of several videos and data interactives

The Teacher Project is funded by the Carnegie Corporation and the Emerson Collective.

Editor Sarah Carr

Sarah Carr, The Teacher Project at Columbia Journalism School

Sarah Carr has covered education for more than 15 years. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic magazine, Slate and numerous other outlets. She has worked for the Hechinger Report, the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and The Chronicle of Higher Education, winning several national awards.

Carr is the author of Hope Against Hope (Bloomsbury, 2013) which tells the story of the post Katrina New Orleans schools through the experiences of a student, a teacher and a family.

Carr was a Spencer Education Journalism fellow in 2010-2011. She graduated phi beta kappa from Williams College with a degree in English and with honors from Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

Current Fellows

Mike Elsen-Rooney, '17 M.S.

Mike Elsen-Rooney is a New York-based journalist who writes about the intersections of race, class, and education. His work has appeared in Bloomberg, The Atlantic, Slate, The Indianapolis Star, WNYC, WBEZ, The Hechinger Report and others. He is a 2017 graduate of Columbia Journalism School and a former high school Spanish teacher and afterschool program administrator in the D.C. area.

Sharon Rebecca Lurye, '18 M.S.

Sharon Lurye graduated with a M.S. from Columbia Journalism School in 2018. Prior to J-School, she worked as a reporter at the Burlington County Times in New Jersey and PhillyVoice.com. In addition, she served one year as a City Year AmeriCorps member, teaching math at a New Orleans charter school. Her stories on the New Orleans education system have appeared in the Hechinger Report, the Lens, the New Orleans Advocate and WWNO. Her current work at the Teacher Project involves stories on special education and immigrant students and she is very interested in using data journalism techniques for investigative reporting.

Ashley Okwuosa, '18 M.S.

Ashley Okwuosa is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School, currently working as an education reporter at The Teacher Project. At Columbia, she was an Africa Pulitzer Fellow and her work focused on long-form narratives and stories about immigration. Ashley was born and raised in Nigeria and is a 2015 graduate of Rutgers University-Newark, where she received a B.A in Journalism and Women’s Studies. Her work has appeared on Quartz, OkayAfrica, aKoma, Ebony.com, Africa Is A Country, Latterly and OZY.com. She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Recent Work

An ongoing project exploring systemic challenges facing immigrant students through the stories of individual teenagers—with a focus on local partnerships and impact:

student in story

Boston Globe - Immigrant students learn hard lessons about racism at a historically white high school in Maine

NPR Story

WNYC - How One Student Manages School Under Strain of Family Separation

Story preview: New Jersey Financial Aid Law...

 WNYC and Chalkbeat - A new law is helping undocumented students in New Jersey attend college, but challenges remain

Additional Stories

Advisory Board