CTA Announces Eight Winning Entries of John Swett Awards Honoring Media Coverage of Education in California

LOS ANGELES — Media stories last year ranging from coverage of the triumphs, challenges, and perseverance of educators returning to in-person instruction to educators advocating for the best resources for their students to a Sacramento television station’s uplifting “Teacher of the Month” series are among the works honored by CTA’s 63rd annual John Swett Awards for Media Excellence.

Eight winning entries in the prestigious CTA awards contest were chosen by an independent panel of working journalists and media professionals. The awards honor individuals, publications, websites, and broadcast media for their outstanding achievements in reporting and interpreting public education issues during 2021.

“The narrative of educators across our state would not be possible without the incredible talents of these storytellers,” said CTA President E. Toby Boyd. “Their outstanding work is based on truth, integrity, and equity. We are so proud to honor them for their dedication to quality journalism.”

There were 30 entries this year. We celebrated them during this weekend’s State Council of Education meeting in Los Angeles through this video that was released in their honor.

The award is named in honor of the founder of CTA, who was California’s fourth superintendent of public instruction and a crusader for public education. Here are the eight John Swett Award winning entries, with links to many of these outstanding works:


  • Hannah Holzer, The Sacramento Bee, for her continuous coverage of educational news in getting all sides to every story during a critical school board race that impacted students and educators. Winning entries included this piece and this piece.

Student Journalism

  • Jose Castro, KQED, for his feature story on how students have adapted to new technology in the classroom and the challenges that come with learning new skills. Read the winning piece here.
  • Williamena Kwapo and Jiyun Tsai, Oakland North, for their feature story on the importance of library access and investment on school campuses. Read the winning piece here.

Journals, Magazines, Special Publications and Websites

  • Jana Kadah, Bay City News Foundation, for her continuous coverage of educational news on salary disputes, a student walk-out supporting Campbell High School Teachers Association members, and reactions to approving a new contract for a controversial superintendent in the Campbell Union High School District. Winning entries included this piece and this piece.
  • Rachel Cohen, The New Republic, for her feature story showing educators across the country challenging a negative narrative about schools reopening and how educators negotiated a safe return for students and staff. Read the winning piece here.
  • Christina Jewett and Lauren Weber, Kaiser Health News, for their series on a single subject/theme as they investigate the needlepoint bipolar ionization units that were sold to school districts for hundreds of thousands of dollars but were rejected by airlines and were potentially harmful to students and staff. Read the winning piece here.


  • Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez and Jon Brooks, KQED, for their contribution as individuals for their news story thoroughly examining the battle over school reopening in San Francisco. Read the winning piece here, which includes voices on all sides while exploring the nuanced opinions and experiences of a diversity of sources.



The 310,000-member CTA is affiliated with the 3 million-member National Education Association.