Putting Education Reform To The Test

Meet StateImpact Florida’s Newest Reporter: Sammy Mack

Hi, StateImpact Florida audience. I’m Sammy. Nice to meet you.

I’m thrilled to be the newest addition to the StateImpact Florida team—working closely with John O’Connor to bring you stories about the impact of education policies.

Sammy Mack is the Miami-based StateImpact reporter.

I’m based out of the WLRN – Miami Herald Newsroom, where I’ve been working as an editor and health care policy reporter for the past few years.

In a way, StateImpact Florida is a return for me. I’m a product of Florida education. I grew up in St. Petersburg. I’m a graduate of St. Petersburg Senior High School (go Green Devils!). I took the first FCAT. And before that, I sat for its predecessor, Florida Writes.

Fun side note: My first education assignment was to report on Tamagotchi policies in 1997. This was when I was a teen writer for the St. Petersburg Times (now Tampa Bay Times) Monday morning kids’ section. I got a notebook and monitored the halls of Seminole Middle School (where I was an 8th grader) for signs of the utterly annoying, oddly compelling digital pet craze that was allegedly sweeping the nation.

What I observed? “Day 1: No sightings. Day 2: An announcement was made that all virtual pets at school will be confiscated. No sightings. Day 3: No sightings.”

It was a good journalism lesson: Stories aren’t always what you expect them to be.

This time around, I’m looking at how the Common Core is affecting students and families in Florida schools, what policy changes mean for students’ lives outside the classroom and who feels the changes most. It probably won’t involve a Tamagotchi, but you can bet there will be stories about the role of technology and how students learn.

But enough about me. What’s your interest in education? Feel free to drop me a line: smack@miamiherald.com or leave a message in the comments.


  • waltonparent

    Hey, we are being told our 8th grade Alg I students don’t have to take the 8th grade FCAT Math test this year- the Walton Co. supt. decided against it – how can that be we – a lot of parents – weere under the impression it was required, can you check on that for us????

About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »