Laura Testino

Reporter, Chalkbeat Tennessee

Laura Testino is a Chalkbeat Tennessee reporter based in Memphis, her home since 2019. Her love for the city grew through prior reporting experience covering education and general news for The Commercial Appeal newspaper. While a journalism and dance student at The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa piqued her interest in the ways education systems shape communities. A stint covering arts and culture in New Orleans at The Times-Picayune only made her more fond of Southern cities, and interested in the equity of their school systems. When she isn’t out reporting, she’s probably at the park with Rita, her Alabama dog adopted in New York City.

Vote signals continued trust in Greene as the district proceeds with revamped superintendent search.
A proposed contract, due for a board vote next week, would split the work among four vendors, including ServiceMaster Clean.
Johnson’s stroke, the second for a school board member in as many years, underscores the pressure of public service roles, said his pastor.
Would they support city funding for Memphis-Shelby County Schools? How would they alleviate barriers to education? What is a quality school? Chalkbeat asked the candidates 8 questions.
The MSCS board has approved $108 million in expenses for the school, but the district hasn’t yet secured all the funds it needs.
Getting the right superintendent is a ‘humongous responsibility,’ says the longtime head of Latino Memphis.
More facts will be needed to determine whether the orders were constitutional, the ruling said.
Memphis students return to classes for a new school year that could turn out to be pivotal.
With $78 million in new funds for Memphis-Shelby County Schools salaries and bonuses, district officials hope to encourage retention and entice new teachers. Here’s how teacher paychecks will increase.
Nine charter applicants this year included four new schools, plus five schools in the Achievement School District. The MSCS school board approved two of them, despite the district’s recommendations.
Improvement in math tracks statewide trend, but proficiency rates lag behind pre-pandemic levels.
The school board will consider nine charter applicants: four new schools, plus five schools in the Achievement School District. MSCS officials have recommended rejecting all of them.
The school board expects to relaunch a community engagement effort to try to mend strained relationships with stakeholders who have grown frustrated with the process.
Toni Williams gets a contract extension, on the condition that she forgo her bid to succeed Joris Ray.
The findings prompted personnel changes and stricter controls soon after Toni Williams took over as interim superintendent.
‘We definitely have noticed that a silencing is happening in our schools,’ said one student.
Vice Chair Sheleah Harris denounced the decision to change the policy and quit her elected seat.
The activists, who have questioned the school board over the superintendent search, allege the district is “conspiring” to prevent their advocacy.
A vote Tuesday will seek to resolve a contentious issue: whether interim leader Toni Williams, who lacks academic experience, is qualified for the permanent position.
About 500 students initially flagged for possible retention did well enough to move directly to 4th grade.
Overwhelmed by state tests and the prospect of more summer school, one third grader walks out.
Early state results show some progress for the class, but about three-quarters of students fell short of expectations on the state reading assessment.
If the search process suggests board members aren’t on the same page, a leadership expert says, ‘some candidates may back away.’
Board members have asked the district to present options, including the prospect of bringing the work in-house.
But tensions with community flare as three activists are barred from meeting and threatened with arrest if they enter district property.
None of the top contenders have been publicly interviewed, and no interviews have been scheduled before the board and the public.
Marie Feagins, of Detroit’s public school district, withdrew but has asked to be reconsidered for the role.
District forced to reckon with failure of charter-focused state turnaround effort.
A key issue they’ll have to resolve is how strictly to apply a board policy on the minimum requirements for a superintendent.
The field of top contenders is back to three as New Jersey educator accepts a job with another district