Education Week rang in 2022 with a new editor-in-chief, as Beth Frerking joined the team. Described by EdWeek President and CEO Michele Givens as “a dynamic and entrepreneurial journalist and newsroom leader,” Frerking brings a wealth of experience, having led news teams for The Dallas Morning News, Politico, The National Law Journal, and The Denver Post. But how did she get her start, and what drew her to EdWeek?
She answers these questions and more in a short Q&A.
How did you get into journalism?
I took journalism and edited the yearbook in high school, so majoring in journalism at the University of Texas at Austin was a no-brainer. But it was during my four years at the student newspaper, The Daily Texan—which I eventually led as editor—that I found my lifelong professional passion and community. I loved to report and write news, to guide coverage as an editor, to make sense of complicated, nuanced and often fast-moving events, and to work with wildly talented colleagues, many of whom became lifelong BFFs. After that I was hooked and never looked back.
What better place than EdWeek to cover educators shaping the next generation during one of the most critical and challenging times in our nation’s history?
What EdWeek article would you recommend to a first-time reader?
I’ll claim editor-in-chief prerogative and name two that illustrate our range and depth: Madeline Will’s smart take on how anxious teachers are negotiating their returns to the classroom (or not) in the time of Omicron, and Ileana Najarro’s thoughtful look at why having school counselors of color matters more than ever.
What’s your favorite thing to do outside of work?
Depends on the day, but I love travel, hanging out with my husband, visiting family, reading fiction (especially short stories), going to the theater (remember that?), exercising (HIIT workouts!), and playing outside with Oliver, our pandemic golden beagle.
What big story or stories do you expect EdWeek to be following in 2022?
All the big stories we already cover, including schools’ responses to COVID, the impact of disrupted learning, internet accessibility, teacher and staff morale, inequity in schools and school funding, social-emotional learning, the debate over what should be taught about race and racism, and much more.
But what do I hope for? Stories about the times ahead when COVID ends or, at the very least, becomes manageable, and when educators can again focus on their core mission of preparing students for the future. We can dream!