Civil Beat Staff

Jessica Terrell

Jessica Terrell

Jessica Terrell is a reporter for Civil Beat. She covers education, with an emphasis on watchdog and computer-assisted reporting.

A newcomer to Hawaii, Jessica previously covered education for the Orange County Register in California.

Jessica wrote her first newspaper article at the age of 12 for a small paper in Massachusetts, where her family was living aboard a 50-foot raft built out of materials collected from New York City dumpsters. Her parents went on to sail that raft across the Atlantic Ocean a few years later, while Jessica jumped ship to try out life on dry land and eventually pursue a career in journalism.

As a reporter, Jessica has investigated everything from school safety concerns to faulty public works projects and military recruitment irregularities. She’s covered two national political conventions, and filed stories from the White House during President Barack Obama’s first summer in office as an intern at the Orange County Register.

Other memorable reporting assignments include camping out overnight in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park for a story on Occupy Wall Street, visiting the National Sept. 11 Memorial before it opened with members of Manhattan’s Community Board 1, and climbing 36 flights of stairs in the dark after Hurricane Sandy to find her editor and start reporting on the storm’s impact.

Jessica earned her journalism stripes in 2009 as a community reporter at the Orange County Register, where she got to live every reporter’s dream of covering Watergate — just four decades later, and through the lens of internal power struggles at the Nixon Presidential Library. Jessica left the Register to work as an associate editor for the Tribeca Trib in New York City in 2011, before the Register enticed her back to California in early 2013 to report on the county’s 28 school districts.

Her coverage of lower Manhattan for the Tribeca Trib — including the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy — garnered multiple awards from the National Press Association and New York Press Association.

Born in Mexico, Jessica spent much of her childhood traveling around North America. When her family wasn’t building rafts, they were performing together in circuses and busking on the streets as a family jazz band. Spending her early years wandering from town to town imbued her with a passion for discovery that she tries to translate into work as a journalist.

Date Set In Deedy Appeal PF Bentley/Civil Beat

Date Set In Deedy Appeal

The federal agent who fatally shot a man in a Waikiki McDonald’s in 2011 has already had two trials.

Hawaii Charter School Commission Is Under The Microscope Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Hawaii Charter School Commission Is Under The Microscope

School leaders' complaints have the Board of Education considering a special performance review of the state's charter school authorizer.
How Can We Improve Hawaii Schools? Cory Lum/Civil Beat

How Can We Improve Hawaii Schools?

The Department of Education is seeking public input on its goals for public education in Hawaii.
Lack Of School Facilities ‘Crippling’ Many Charters Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Lack Of School Facilities ‘Crippling’ Many Charters

The challenge of finding space means classes meet in tents, at libraries -- even at a McDonald's
Nominees To Charter School Commission Named Screenshot / Hawaii Public Charter School Commission website

Nominees To Charter School Commission Named

Four out of the nine seats are up for grabs on the besieged Hawaii State Public Charter School Commission.
State Celebrates Progress in Dengue Fight, Warns Against Zika Cory Lum/Civil Beat

State Celebrates Progress in Dengue Fight, Warns Against Zika

The battle against mosquito-borne illnesses is just beginning, Hawaii's top health official warns.
Living Hawaii: The Pipe Dream Of Teaching In Paradise Goes Global Flickr.com/Todd Huffman

Living Hawaii: The Pipe Dream Of Teaching In Paradise Goes Global

Unemployed college graduates, Hawaii wants you! The islands need you! And they'll pay a lot for you! Or so the viral story goes -- and goes.
Charter Cuts High School Next Year PF Bentley/Civil Beat

Charter Cuts High School Next Year

Ka ʻUmeke Kaʻeo, a K-12 Hawaiian immersion school on the Big Island, will help students find another high school for the coming school year while it re-evaluates its program.
1 In 8 Hawaii Middle Schoolers Say They’ve Attempted Suicide Cory Lum/Civil Beat

1 In 8 Hawaii Middle Schoolers Say They’ve Attempted Suicide

Nearly one in four say they've at least considered killing themselves. Can teaching kids about mental health earlier change that?
Honolulu Rail Project Expected To Cost The DOE Millions For New Schools Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Honolulu Rail Project Expected To Cost The DOE Millions For New Schools

The Department of Education wants to levy fees on new developments to help offset school construction costs near several planned rail stations.
Oahu School Renamed For Dan Inouye drienne LaFrance/Civil Beat

Oahu School Renamed For Dan Inouye

Hale Kula Elementary School is located on the Schofield Barracks Army Installation, the home base for the late senator's combat unit during World War II.
Mosquito State Of Emergency Extended Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Mosquito State Of Emergency Extended

The two-month extension is designed to help with creating a comprehensive plan for battling future mosquito-borne illnesses.

December 2016

Thursday, December 15

Date Set In Deedy Appeal

August 2016

Tuesday, August 16

Hawaii Charter School Commission Is Under The Microscope

May 2016

Thursday, May 26

How Can We Improve Hawaii Schools?

Thursday, May 5

Lack Of School Facilities ‘Crippling’ Many Charters

April 2016

Thursday, April 28

Nominees To Charter School Commission Named

Wednesday, April 27

State Celebrates Progress in Dengue Fight, Warns Against Zika

Tuesday, April 26

Living Hawaii: The Pipe Dream Of Teaching In Paradise Goes Global

Thursday, April 21

Charter Cuts High School Next Year

Wednesday, April 20

1 In 8 Hawaii Middle Schoolers Say They’ve Attempted Suicide

Tuesday, April 19

Honolulu Rail Project Expected To Cost The DOE Millions For New Schools

Oahu School Renamed For Dan Inouye

Tuesday, April 12

Mosquito State Of Emergency Extended

Friday, April 8

The Changing Face Of Sex Education In Hawaii’s Public Schools

Tuesday, April 5

Special Education Inclusion In Classrooms Called ‘Ethical Issue’

March 2016

Thursday, March 31

SCOTUS Tie A Win For Hawaii Unions

Wednesday, March 30

Educational Assistants Play Crucial Role, But You Wouldn’t Know It By Their Paychecks

Monday, March 28

Will Hawaii’s Teacher Evaluation System Get Scrapped?

Tuesday, March 8

Hawaii’s Public Charter School Movement At A Crossroads

Tuesday, March 1

HSTA Tax Hike Dies, Support Doesn’t

February 2016

Friday, February 26

Is Higher Education Less Valuable In Hawaii?

Wednesday, February 24

Hawaii State Lab Increases Zika Testing Abilities

Tuesday, February 23

$100,000 Salaries Mushroom At DOE In The Last 4 Years

Monday, February 22

Hawaii’s Cuts To Pest Control Have Allowed Dengue To Thrive

Wednesday, February 17

DOE Struggles To Fill Positions That Serve Special Ed Students

Tuesday, February 16

House Higher Ed Leader Takes Aim At UH

Friday, February 12

Governor Issues Emergency Proclamation In Fight Against Dengue

Thursday, February 11

Hawaii’s Charter School Overseers Are Feeling ‘Under Assault’

Wednesday, February 10

Embattled Leader of Charter School Oversight Agency To Resign

Monday, February 8

Hawaii Island Declares Dengue Emergency

Friday, February 5

Hawaii Teachers Kick Off ‘Do-Or-Die’ Campaign For Education Reform

Wednesday, February 3

Hawaii Grads Missing Out On College Grants

Tuesday, February 2

Ige: Dengue Response Is Making State ‘Vulnerable In Other Places’

Living Hawaii: Can You Afford To Be A Teacher In The Islands?

Monday, February 1

Zika Declared Global Health Emergency

January 2016

Friday, January 29

Feds Say Hawaii Is Not Equipped To Deal With A Zika Outbreak

Thursday, January 28

The Heat Is On State Lawmakers To Cool Off School Classrooms

Monday, January 25

Do Parents And Teachers Really Have A Say In How Schools Run?

Tuesday, January 19

BOE Forms Investigative Committee To Explore Charter School Oversight

Charter School Oversight Is An Increasingly Contentious Issue

Friday, January 15

CDC Secrecy Over UH Biolab Safety Failures Challenged In Court

Monday, January 11

Union Dues Case Before High Court

Thursday, January 7

Are Charter Schools Funded Equitably? Lawmakers Want Clearer Numbers

Tuesday, January 5

Why Are Online Classes, Degrees Hard To Get At The University Of Hawaii?

December 2015

Thursday, December 31

‘What The Hell Have I Gotten Myself Into?’

Monday, December 28

University Of Hawaii Seeks A Speedier Path To Graduation

Monday, December 21

Christmas Brings Gifts, And Possibly Toilets, To Homeless Encampment

Tuesday, December 15

Will Ambitious Teachers Union Plan Fly? Unlikely, But It Starts The Conversation

Thursday, December 10

U.S. Bids A Not-So-Fond Farewell To ‘No Child Left Behind’

Tuesday, December 8

Lawmakers Criticize University of Hawaii Budget, Maintenance

Tuesday, December 1

State Homeless Coordinator: No Sweep Planned For The Harbor

Auditor Spotlights Financial And Oversight Problems At Charter Schools

November 2015

Monday, November 30

Disagreements Over Charter School Oversight Coming To A Head

Tuesday, November 24

First Fear, Then Hope For The Harbor

Thursday, November 19

No Sweep Of The Harbor Planned, Says State Homeless Coordinator

Wednesday, November 18

‘Where’s Everybody Going To Go?’

Ben: ‘It’s Not Really That Bad’

Charlene: Getting By One Day At A Time

Tuesday, November 17

Kids In The Harbor: Lessons From The Edge Of Life

Hannah: ‘I Know They Need Help’

Monday, November 16

The Shepherd Of The Harbor

Houseless Not Homeless: It’s All About The Choices You Make

This Waianae Homeless Camp Is Not What You’d Expect

Jay: ‘I’m Just Not Done Yet’

Tita: ‘I Love The Free Life’

September 2015

Tuesday, September 29

WalletHub: Hawaii a Tough Place to Teach

Bringing Back Waianae’s Floating Classroom

Friday, September 25

Federal Grant Aids False Killer Whales

Mainland Butterfly Populates Hawaii

Thursday, September 24

BOE Plans Rare Evening Meeting

Wednesday, September 23

Cool Our Keiki Rallies Planned

Tuesday, September 22

Obama’s AAPI Commission Visits Hawaii

McKinley High School Turns 150

Wednesday, September 16

Student Proficiency Dips on New Test

Tuesday, September 1

Hawaii Board of Education Passes Student Discipline Policy

August 2015

Monday, August 31

BOE to Consider Milder Student Discipline Policy Tuesday

Wednesday, August 26

ACT Scores Improved in Hawaii in 2015, But Are Lowest in Nation

Monday, August 24

First-Ever Head of Hawaiian Education Foresees ‘Revolutionary’ Changes

Wednesday, August 19

Hawaii Looks to Shorten School Employee Misconduct Investigations

Friday, August 14

BOE Launching Live Audio Feed of Meetings

Thursday, August 13

Special Education Is Backsliding in Hawaii, Teachers and Advocates Say

Sunday, August 9

Thousands Turn Out for Aloha Aina Unity March

Thursday, August 6

TMT Protesters Hope to Reach Visiting Astronomers Through Waikiki March

Wednesday, August 5

Hawaii Schools Begin the Year Short on Teachers — Again

Monday, August 3

Scientists Ready for Year in Isolation Atop Mauna Loa

July 2015

Monday, July 27

Count On It: Hawaii Schools Missing Out on Aid They’re Due for Serving Military Families

Thursday, July 23

Finding New Ways to Define Native Hawaiian Student Success

Monday, July 20

Ige Names New Director of Executive Office on Early Learning

She Fought Hawaii’s New Way of Evaluating Teachers — and Won

Wednesday, July 15

Tongan, Micronesian, Hawaiian Students Most Likely to Be Suspended

Tuesday, July 14

Hawaii Board of Education’s Push for More Transparency Inches Forward

Monday, July 13

Lance Mizumoto to Head Board of Education

Tuesday, July 7

Don Horner Stepping Down as Chair of Board of Education

UH to Decommission Oldest Observatory on Mauna Kea

Thursday, July 2

Honolulu to Host World’s Biggest Astronomy Conference in August

June 2015

Monday, June 29

Is School Prayer Crossing a Line at Some Hawaii Charter Schools?

Friday, June 26

TMT: Conflict in Context

Tuesday, June 23

Hawaii Gets Three Year Waiver Extension from Federal NCLB Requirements

Charter School Closure Could Leave Taxpayers on the Hook for Debts

Thursday, June 18

Hawaii School Suspensions: Are They Fair? Can They Be Reduced?

Tuesday, June 16

Hawaii Public Schools Must Offer Sex Education, Board Decides

What Does it Take to Get a Traffic Light in Pahoa?

Monday, June 15

BOE to Address Sexual Health, Student Discipline on Tuesday

Wednesday, June 10

New Union Leaders Face Challenge Uniting Teachers

Tuesday, June 9

Teacher Who Sued to Block Union Election Wins Presidency

Wednesday, June 3

Auditor: UH Research Corp. is Failing to Meet Its Mission

Lack of School Nurses in Hawaii Contributes to High Absentee Rates

Monday, June 1

UH Ready to Move Quickly on Ige’s Mauna Kea Proposals

May 2015

Friday, May 29

Hawaii Teacher’s Bid to Halt New Union Election Fails in State Court

East-West Center President to Vacate Post Next Summer

Wednesday, May 27

Teachers Union Candidate Seeks Temporary Restraining Order

Thursday, May 21

Teachers Union Candidates Say They’ll Go To Court Over Election Results

UH Tuition Hike Is Less Than Expected

UH Regents Vote to Stop Investing in Fossil Fuels

Challenger Candidates Say They Won Union Election, May File Suit

Tuesday, May 19

Students Raise $20,710 for School Air Conditioning

Monday, May 18

Dates Set for Third Hawaii Teachers Union Election This Year

Sunday, May 17

Teachers Union Board Votes to Throw Out Election Results

Friday, May 15

Bill Still Alive: Bullying ‘Not Something That Is Going to Go Away’

Tuesday, May 12

Brigham Young University Gets New Leader in Hawaii

Monday, May 11

Runoff Delays Release of Teachers Union Election Results

Wednesday, May 6

UH Study Looks at Link Between Vog and Emergency Room Costs

Spiritual Healing: A ‘More Hawaiian’ Way to Deal With Delinquent Kids

Tuesday, May 5

Board of Ed Selects New Deputy Superintendent

Monday, May 4

Hawaii’s Preschool Open Doors Funding May Continue

Friday, May 1

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Begins

April 2015

Thursday, April 30

OHA Board Rescinds Support for Thirty Meter Telescope

Wednesday, April 29

In Hawaii, Sex Education Is Confusing — Even for Those in Charge

Monday, April 27

Heald College Ceases Operations With One Day’s Notice

Wednesday, April 22

Student Group Hopes to Cool Schools Down

Tuesday, April 21

UH Regents to Hold Mauna Kea Meeting in Hilo on Sunday

Monday, April 20

DOE Wants Input on New School Calendar

Mauna Kea Telescopes: The Business of Astronomy Is Not an Easy One

Monday, April 13

UH Student Protests Against TMT Continue

Date Set In Deedy Appeal

The federal agent who fatally shot a man in a Waikiki McDonald’s in 2011 has already had two trials.