About Education Lab

About Education Lab

Education Lab is a Seattle Times project that spotlights promising approaches to some of the most persistent challenges in public education. The Seattle Foundation serves as fiscal sponsor for Education Lab, which is supported by grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, City University of Seattle and Comcast Washington.

Since the project launched in October 2013, Seattle Times reporters have published dozens of stories identifying and assessing promising programs and innovations — both locally and around the country — to problems that have long bedeviled schools.

Engaging with our readers — and reaching education stakeholders who are not regular Seattle Times readers — has been a focus of Education Lab from day one. Since launch, we’ve held several community meetings with parents, students, teachers and education advocates to gather ideas and input. We’ve experimented with new ways to feature community voices, including live chats, reader questionnaires and regular guest columns. We’ve also held four large-scale public events – with more in the planning stages.

Our goal is to create a new conversation that connects teachers, parents, students and others around innovation in schools.

Meet Our Team

Our editor

Katherine Long is the editor of Education Lab. She has worked for The Seattle Times for 30 years, and has primarily covered education during that time. Her two children, now grown, went to Seattle public schools. Email Katherine and follow her on Twitter.

Our team

Dahlia Bazzaz is a K-12 reporter for The Seattle Times, covering public schools in Seattle and in the greater Puget Sound region. She was previously Education Lab's engagement editor. Before arriving in Seattle, she reported on business education and workplace culture for The Wall Street Journal. Email Dahlia and follow her on Twitter.

Jeanie Lindsay joined The Seattle Times in 2022 as an education reporter focused on solutions stories at all levels, from pre-K through higher education. She spent more than four years covering statewide education news for Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations and NPR. A Washington native and graduate of the University of Washington, her journalism career is rooted in public radio: she also worked at KNKX and covered the Washington State Legislature for the Northwest News Network. Email Jeanie and follow her on Twitter.

Jenn Smith joined the Times in fall 2020 and is the Education Lab engagement reporter. In addition to reporting, she coordinates and oversees Ed Lab's community projects, including Student Voices, TeenTix partnership, youth mental health guide, as well as Ed Lab's translations. She's a co-lead for The Seattle Times Newsroom Equity Team, vice president of community engagement for the Asian American Journalists Association's Seattle chapter and a steward for the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Guild. A proud Bengali Indian American adoptee and Syracuse University grad who hails from a family of educators, she previously worked at The Berkshire Eagle in Western Massachusetts for 15 years as a reporter and community engagement editor. She's also reported for The Cape Cod Times and Syracuse New Times. Email Jenn and follow her on Twitter.

Monica Velez joined The Seattle Times in 2021 as the K-12 education reporter. Before joining The Times, Velez spent about five years reporting in California's San Joaquin Valley. She covered K-12 education for The Fresno Bee Education Lab, reported on immigration for Valley Public Radio and got her start at The Merced Sun-Star as a health reporter. Velez, a Bay Area native, graduated from California State University, Sacramento with a bachelor's degree in journalism and minor in creative writing. Email Monica and follow her on Twitter.

Submit a Guest Column

The Seattle Times welcomes submissions of guest commentaries for Education Lab. A submission should make a strong solution-oriented argument about education and be between 300 and 500 words in length. We give highest priority to local writers writing about local topics.

How to submit

  • We prefer submissions to be made by email. To ensure your submission will be considered in the most timely fashion, please send it to engagement editor Jenn Smith at jennsmith@seattletimes.com.
  • Please include the text of the submission in the body of the email or in an attached Microsoft Word document. Please do not send us files in PDF format.
  • Please include the author’s name and topic in the subject line of the email. We do not publish guest essays written anonymously or under pseudonyms.
  • Please include a headshot of the author, minimum size 30 KB, and a biography of 30 words or fewer.
  • Please include Web URLs for statistics, facts and reports mentioned in your op-ed submission.

Here are some writing guidelines you may find useful

  • Make a solution-oriented argument and state it forcefully.
  • We are most interested in how your on-the-ground experiences have informed your opinions.
  • Be civil. It’s perfectly appropriate to strongly criticize ideas, reasoning or positions that you disagree with. But it is not appropriate to make personal attacks.
  • Present the case from the top down. It’s usually better to begin with the premise of your opinion rather than assembling the facts and presenting a conclusion at the end.
  • Be patient. We usually work at least a week in advance.
  • Be willing to submit photos, videos graphs and charts. They help explain the issue and often enhance the visual presentation.
  • Please don't submit guest essays that are written by organizations and then shopped around for an author or authors. That’s a petition, not a guest essay.
  • Please don't use specialized jargon. Use common English.

Have more questions? Contact Jenn Smith at jennsmith@seattletimes.com, @JennSmith_Ink on Twitter, or 206-464-2925.

Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Every week, Education Lab compiles the most important and relevant news about education from Seattle, Washington state and across the country.

Our newsletter also features upcoming education related events in the area. Want to pitch us on a story or event that should be included? E-mail jennsmith@seattletimes.com with the subject line “Weekly Newsletter Pitch.”

Sign up for our newsletter by visiting this link and selecting "Education Lab."