As a WBEZ education reporter, Linda covers schools, education and issues affecting youth.
She writes about issues, and debates in education as they play out in Chicago and the suburbs. Her enterprise coverage has examined Chicago’s dropout crisis, race and segregation in schools, school performance, and youth violence. She covered the 2012 Chicago Teachers Union strike and the historic closing of 50 public schools. Her work has been broadcast on This American Life, Re:sound, Marketplace, The World, and NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. She’s received many honors, including a 2014 Peabody Award.
Prior to joining WBEZ in 2008, Linda worked as a freelance reporter and radio producer in Michoacán, Mexico. Before that, she was the lead education reporter at the Daily Southtown, where she covered education across 85 school districts in Chicago’s south suburbs. Linda’s investigation into a corrupt south suburban school superintendent won a national 2005 Education Writers Association first prize award for investigative journalism and a Chicago Headline Club Watchdog Award. She received a 2004 Studs Terkel Award for excellence in reporting on Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods; it’s one of the awards she’s most proud of.
Linda worked on the award-winning 2013 This American Life “Harper High School” episodes, which documented life in a high school located in a South Side neighborhood racked by violence. The episodes were honored with a Peabody Award, an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award and the Third Coast/Richard H. Driehaus Best Documentary Gold Award. Linda also worked on the 2008-09 series “Fifty-Fifty: The Odds of Graduating,” about a high school struggling to stop students from dropping out. Linda’s radio work has been recognized with a Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism, a national Edward R. Murrow award, a Sigma Delta Chi Award, and many others.
In 2013, the Chicago Reader included Linda in its annual People Issue about “what makes Chicago work.” She was honored with a Spencer Fellowship in Education Reporting during the 2014-15 school year, where she explored the impact of poverty on school outcomes.
Linda has a B.A. in Urban Studies and English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Born and raised in Minnesota, Linda has lived in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood since 1994. Her husband is artist-muralist Hector Duarte. Their three children attend Chicago public schools.