The historic closing of 49 elementary schools in Chicago left many parents bitter and feeling left out as they try to get involved in new schools. Yet parent engagement is essential for school improvement, and principals are faced with the challenge of building trust at schools that scored poorly on surveys of parent involvement.
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Membership / Circulation
Phone: (312) 673-3866
Catalyst In the Know
Debra Williams, community editor
Phone: (312) 673-3873
Publisher & Founder Linda Lenz
Before launching Catalyst, she was the chief education writer at the Chicago Sun-Times and before that was an editorial writer and reporter at the old Chicago Daily News. Previously, she served as political editor of Pioneer Press, North Shore. She received a bachelor's degree in communications from the University of Illinois at Urbana.
Phone: (312) 673-3848
Editor-in-Chief Lorraine Forte
She first worked for Catalyst as managing editor from 1991 to 1996. She also is a former newswriter at WGN-TV and reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times and the Daily Southtown. She received a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Ohio State University.
Phone: (312) 673-3881
Deputy Editor Sarah Karp
She joined the staff in 2006 after writing for five years for Catalyst's sister publication, The Chicago Reporter, where she covered children and family issues. Before that, Karp was project director at Youth Communication, which publishes New Expression, a newspaper written by and for teenagers. She also has reported for the Daily Southtown and the Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune. She received a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Her beats are high schools, special education, elementary school core instruction, desegregation, health and social services and children of the incarcerated.
Phone: (312) 673-3882
Associate Editor Rebecca Harris
She completed two stints as a Catalyst intern while earning a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. Rebecca then worked as a reporter at the Erie (Pa.) Times-News before becoming a Catalyst staff member in fall 2009. She covers topics including early-childhood education, principal preparation and accountability, and teacher quality.
Phone: (312) 673-3874
Community Editor Debra Williams
Former Associate Editor Debra Williams stepped into the new post of Community Editor in 2009. She came to Catalyst in 1992 while working on a master's degree in journalism at Columbia College. Previously, she worked in the communications offices of several hospitals. She received a bachelor's degree in liberal arts from Mundelein College, Chicago.
Phone: (312) 673-3873
Presentation Editor Christine Wachter
After receiving both her master's and bachelor's degrees from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, Christine came to Catalyst as an intern. Since joining the staff, she has redesigned the web site and helped launch Catalyst's new look in March 2004. She is also an adviser for the Medill chapter of the Society for News Design.
Phone: (312) 673-3814