Sandy Banks

Sandy Banks


On cold Cleveland days, young Sandy Banks had an after-school routine: She'd lie on the floor, put her feet on a heating vent and read Ann Landers and Dear Abby. Then she'd clip out her favorite columns and stick them in her journal.

She still has a few. They remind her of the power of the written word to comfort, challenge, teach and inspire.

After college, she took at job at a local newspaper while trying to decide between law school and teaching. She had so much fun -- and learned so much from the people she wrote about -- she found herself hooked on journalism.

In 1979, she came west to the Times as a reporter. Her 30-year career at The Times has included stints as education writer, education and religion editor, assistant metropolitan editor, editorial writer, features columnist and internship director.

Her work has won national recognition from journalism groups and commendations from organizations as varied as the Muslim Women's League and the National Council of Jewish Women; the Watts Health Foundation and the Beverly Hills Rotary Club; the California Teachers' Association and the Union of Medical Marijuana Patients.

Her columns, which currently appear Tuesday and Saturday on A2, focus on the intersection of the personal and the public; on people who inspire and infuriate us; on the chances we take and the choices we make.

She has raised three daughters as a single mother, widowed in 1993. Her two youngest are attending college. The oldest graduated from Stanford in 2007. They have lived in the San Fernando Valley for 25 years.