Beth Hawkins

Every child, regardless of circumstance, can flourish in a great school. Do you believe that? I do. I’m Beth Hawkins and I write about education. I tell stories about schools and about the policies and policymakers who determine whether to foster conditions that empower students and educators. The stakes couldn’t be higher or the work more meaningful. During my 30 years in journalism, I’ve attempted to combine an investigative reporter’s zeal for uncovering data with a novelist’s eye for detail. I’ve been privileged to document some great stories. The best of them are about young people who, buoyed by authentic adult belief, attempt great things and succeed. For me, this is personal. My own two kids—one excelling in an International Baccalaureate district school, the other equally gifted but struggling at times with inadequate special education services—have given me a front row seat as a K-12 parent pushing for change. Beyond that, spending time in schools where kids with huge challenges are succeeding has fueled my drive to share what’s working more broadly. Learning about what works is inspiring—and it’s made me impatient with the unacceptable status quo. I’ve written about Walid Abubakar, an Oromo student who sent remittances home to Africa to support his family while earning a high school diploma—and a coveted Gates Millennium Scholarship. I won an Education Writers Association award for “The Safety Zone,” a series about a school district that embraces kids with unique disabilities, unmet mental health needs and often explosive behavior. I used a Renaissance Journalism fellowship to compile “Brothers’ Keeper,” the intersecting oral histories of six black men with differing experiences of the school-to-prison pipeline. I’ve written about great strategies, strong school cultures and my own efforts to get those things for my kids, and about my journey to realizing we can provide great schools for every child. In my position as Education Post’s writer-in-residence I get to visit amazing schools and talk to skilled and innovative educators on a regular basis. I hope you’ll visit this space often to hear their stories.

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