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Meet the Sentinel School Zone bloggers
Leslie Postal has worked at the Orlando Sentinel since 1995, covering schools in Osceola and Seminole counties and now writing about statewide education issues. She previously worked at newspapers in Virginia.
As a child, she went to public schools in New York and still remembers with regret that in Mrs. Brown's second-grade class she spelled Georgia wrong on a 50-state spelling test. She earned her undergraduate degree from Cornell University and a master's from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
She and her husband have two children. Her son, the older one, is a student at a public elementary school in Orange County. He says she has an annoying habit of asking every day what he did at school. "Regular school stuff," he answers. One day this past spring he adds, "And you should know what regular school stuff is." The thing is, at work or home, she finds the regular school stuff interesting -- and worthy of discussion.
Dave Weber has been an Orlando Sentinel reporter since 1993, covering local schools in Lake and Seminole counties as well as state and national education issues.
He previously worked at other Central Florida newspapers writing about education and other topics. He grew up in rural Pennsylvania, attended one of the last one-room schools in the state, ignored the concept of phonics and is a sight-reader. Dave earned his undergraduate degree in journalism from Penn State and a master's in education from UCF.
He and his wife have a son who went through public schools in Volusia County and now attends college in upstate New York.
Tanya Caldwell joined the Orlando Sentinel in 2006 and covered DeBary and breaking news in Volusia County before becoming the education reporter in Lake. She covered education and other topics at the Los Angeles Times and was a reporter in Rhode Island and four other major Florida newspapers.
She is an Army brat who started school in Germany and finished up in the Brevard County School District. She was never sent to time out, and for that she is quite proud. She passed the FCAT before it was required and all she got was a lousy T-shirt, which she still wears around the house. She graduated from Cocoa High School as class salutatorian and earned her undergraduate degree in journalism at Florida A&M University.
She has an older sister who could pass as her twin and a mom and dad who were high school sweethearts at where else? Cocoa High.
Susan Jacobson has been a reporter at the Orlando Sentinel since 1991. She has covered schools in Osceola and Volusia counties, criminal-justice issues, local government and a variety of general-assignment topics. She also works part-time on the copy-editing desk.
Susan attended progressive public schools in the Midwest, where she hated gym but loved the library. She spent many elementary-school hours fantasizing about running a home for boys, making important scientific discoveries and writing a prize-winning novel after reading, respectively. Jo's Boys, a biography of Marie Curie and A Wrinkle in Time. She still exchanges holiday cards with her fifth-grade teacher, who nurtured a love of literature and learning.
Susan earned a bachelor's degree from New York University, where she studied journalism. She has two nephews, a niece and a beloved cat who serves as a surrogate child.
Erika Hobbs began covering the Volusia County school district in April 2005, and moved over to Orange six months later. She has written for newspapers in Baltimore and Pennsylvania, and for a news organization in Washington, D.C. where she was part of team that won an IRE award for investigative reporting.
She attended a Lutheran school in her early years, and switched to Illinois' public schools in fourth grade, where high-school math became another class to write poetry. She earned her undergraduate degree from Columbia College in Chicago, and a master's from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston. She lives in Orlando.
Luis Zaragoza has been covering higher education for the Orlando Sentinel since January 2007. He spent the previous 20 years as a reporter and editor involved in education coverage at newspapers throughout California, including Los Angeles and Orange counties, Fresno and San Jose. He has dabbled in food writing throughout his career.
Claudia Zequeira has been an Orlando Sentinel reporter since 2005, covering Osceola schools. She was born in Cuba but lived in Caracas, Venezuela, for several years before settling in New York City.
She earned an Art History degree from Hunter College in 1996 and "fell" into journalism after a short stint at local Spanish-language daily. While in New York, she covered New York's City Hall for several daily newspapers. She also wrote about the Big Apple's public education system for two years before being selected by the Los Angeles Times to participate in its Minority Editorial Training Program. She came to the Orlando Sentinel shortly thereafter.