Past winners in the news story category have included the San Francisco Chronicle and the Los Angeles Times. It is the highest honor the CTA can bestow upon media professionals.

Mt. Shasta Area Newspapers correspondent Barry Kaye was named a 2019 John Swett award winner for media excellence in education reporting, it was announced on May 25.

Swett was the fourth California State Superintendent of Public Instruction and founder of the California Teachers Association. He was the driving force that made California’s schools free for all students and is known as “the father” of the state’s education system.

Kaye’s story titled “MSHS Teacher Protests Involuntary Transfer” detailed how Sue Villarreal, or “Ms. V” as she is known to her students, was being transferred to McCloud for the final year of her contract after teaching English and Drama at Mount Shasta High School for 23 years.

Past winners in the news story category have included the San Francisco Chronicle and the Los Angeles Times. It is the highest honor the CTA can bestow upon media professionals.

“No journalist wins a prestigious award of this nature without having a really good editor and I am fortunate enough to work with Skye Kinkade at Gannett,” Kaye said. “It also shows how important local newspapers are to the community they serve.”

Kaye has previously been honored by the California News Publishers Association for sports writing in 2018 and for in depth reporting in 2019. He is well-versed in issues faced by teachers as his wife, Susan, teaches second grade at Mount Shasta Elementary School.

The annual CTA awards honor reporters who “tell the story of education in California with clarity and creativity,” according to the organization’s website. “They’re keeping the ‘public’ in public education by detailing the challenges and triumphs that educators and our students encounter.”

The winners are chosen by an independent panel of working journalists, media professionals and journalism professors. Kaye’s story was submitted to the CTA by Erica Mitchell with the Siskiyou Union High School District.

“We nominated Barry Kaye for the John Swett Award for his reporting on collective action in support of a SUHSTA member who was facing an involuntary transfer,” Mitchell said. “After Barry’s reporting on this issue, we were able to meet with the district and agree to an amicable solution to this problem. Teachers face many challenges in education and appreciate Barry's unbiased article that brought this issue to light.”