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Our own Emily Alpert just found out she’s been awarded one of the 2008 National Awards for Education Reporting for her fascinating investigation on Michael Hazelton, “The School Guru Who Promised Rescue and Brought Ruin.”

Alpert snagged first place in the investigative reporting category for “newspapers under 100,000” readership. The awards are sponsored by the National Education Writers Association. Click here to see its release and the full list of winners.

The two-part story, which ran in September, showed how over a course of four years Hazelton led three Southern California schools and each was crippled or closed by the time he walked away, suffering deficits or battling accusations that Hazelton improperly enriched himself or corporations he founded.

The second story showed how the same thing that made charter schools attractive — the freedoms they enjoy from school districts — make them vulnerable to exploitation.

Please join me in congratulating Emily. I sit next to her every day, and I can tell you I’m in awe. Nobody works harder. Her keyboard’s always clacking. Her phone’s always ringing. Her head always pops up excitedly from her desk with the latest nugget of information she’s culled from documents.

ANDREW DONOHUE

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