New Orleans Advocate hires Jessica Williams, veteran education reporter _lowres

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Jessica Williams, New Orleans Advocate

Jessica Williams, a veteran local education reporter, is joining The New Orleans Advocate and will cover City Hall.

Williams, a graduate of Edna Karr High School and Loyola University’s journalism program, has spent the past five years covering New Orleans charter schools, the Jefferson Parish public school system and state education policy.

“We’re excited to welcome Jessica, a dynamic young journalist and a New Orleanian who shares our passion for local news coverage,” said Peter Kovacs, editor of The Advocate.

As a staff writer at Times-Picayune from 2014 until last week, Williams covered state-level debates over education policy and the struggle between the local teachers union and business groups over control of the Jefferson Parish School Board.

Previously, in more than four years at the Lens, a local nonprofit investigative newsroom, Williams provided in-depth coverage of the independent charter schools that have largely taken over the city’s public education system, as well as the Orleans Parish School Board’s efforts to bring schools back under local control in the years since Hurricane Katrina.

She has written about cheating on standardized exams, educators struggling to teach students with mental health problems and charter schools flouting laws meant to ensure transparency.

At the Advocate, Williams will bolster the newspaper’s coverage of local elections and city government, including the New Orleans City Council and Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration.