Jessica Bakeman

Reporter

Jessica Bakeman reports on K-12 and higher education for WLRN, south Florida's NPR affiliate. While new to Miami and public radio, Jessica is a seasoned journalist who has covered education policymaking and politics in three state capitals: Jackson, Miss.; Albany, N.Y.; and, most recently, Tallahassee.

Jessica first moved to the Sunshine State in 2015 to help launch POLITICO Florida as part of the company’s national expansion. She is the immediate past president of the Capitol Press Club of Florida, a nonprofit organization that raises money for college scholarships benefiting journalism students.

Jessica was an original member of POLITICO New York’s Albany bureau. Also in the Empire State, Jessica covered politics for The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. As part of Gannett’s three-person Albany bureau, she won the New York Publishers Association award for distinguished state government coverage in 2013 and 2014. Jessica twice chaired a planning committee for the Albany press corps’ annual political satire show, the oldest of its kind in the country.

She started her career at The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson. There she won the Louisiana/Mississippi Associated Press Managing Editors’ 2013 first place award for continuing coverage of former Gov. Haley Barbour’s decision to pardon more than 200 felons as he left office.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and English literature from SUNY Plattsburgh, a public liberal arts college in northeastern New York. She (proudly) hails from Rochester, N.Y.

Ways to Connect

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN News

Hundreds of people enjoyed food, drinks and music from the Florida Keys at the state Capitol on Tuesday evening, the culmination of an annual lobbying trip that Monroe County elected officials and business owners use to share local priorities with state lawmakers.

City mayors, school board members, community college administrators and restauranteurs told legislators throughout the day about their biggest concern: affordable housing.

Miami Herald

Eduardo Padrón's first role at Miami Dade College was student. In August, he will resign from the role he has played for the past 24 years -- president of the school.

As he prepares to leave in August, state funding for state colleges is under pressure, the low unemployment rate has reduced enrollment, the nation's debate over immigration has affected students, and the adjunct faculty is voting on whether to unionize.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

A conflict last fall over union recruitment at Miami Dade College resulted in multiple municipal police officers pointing guns at a labor organizer on the school's campus in Doral.

The Sept. 13, 2018, incident was one of several alleged dustups that have led the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to file a complaint against the college charging unfair labor practices, a claim that is still pending under Florida's Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC).

Emily Michot / Miami Herald

The Broward County school board rejected a proposal from its newest member to fire Superintendent Robert Runcie, voting 6-3 against ending his contract after community members spoke for four hours in overwhelming support of his leadership.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

The new leader of Florida Memorial University wants to triple the school's enrollment, at a time when some other historically black institutions are losing students, facing threats to their accreditation status and even closing their doors.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

The speaker of the Florida House is stepping in to help charter school teachers get a share of the revenue from Miami-Dade County’s recently approved property-tax increase.

Republican House Speaker Jose Oliva, of Miami, accused the leaders of Miami-Dade County Public Schools of “deception,” writing in a letter Friday that “an illusion was created that the additional taxes would be used to benefit all schools.”

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN News

DISCLOSURE: The author and editors of this article are employees of South Florida Public Media, the nonprofit that operates WLRN News.

The Miami-Dade County school board expects to consider by June a new plan for the management of the WLRN public radio and television stations, and the district’s superintendent is likely to recommend stronger oversight from an existing community advisory board or a newly created nonprofit.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

More than a year after the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the Broward County school board voted unanimously to adopt two new emergency policies that state investigators and parents of Parkland victims argue could have saved lives had they been in place sooner.

The board on Wednesday approved a policy clarifying that all staff members are responsible for initiating "code red" lockdowns if they believe there is a threat to students' safety.

Tom Hudson / WLRN Public Media

A year after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, Robert Runcie says he wants to make Broward County Public Schools the safest in the nation.

Tom Hudson / WLRN News

Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said he wants schools in his county to be the safest in the nation.

His pledge comes one year after 17 students and staff members were murdered, and another 17 were injured, during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

When Annabel Claprood walks into a room, the first thing she does is look for a place to hide.

The 17-year-old has practiced moving quickly from the driver’s seat of her car to the back, so she can’t be easily seen through the windows.

Her mother, Elyse Claprood, uses her cell phone to closely track her daughter’s location, feeling relief only when she confirms, yes, Annabel is at home. She’s at school. At the horse barn where she volunteers.

Robert Runcie Protest
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

About a dozen parents with signs and red banners gathered in front of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Monday evening to protest the leadership of Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie.

The protest took place while Rundie was holding a private meeting with parents of 10th-grade students at Stoneman Douglas. 

Courtesy of Suzette Calderon

The Palm Beach County school district is encouraging students to do one act of kindness every day leading up to the first anniversary of the school shooting in nearby Parkland.

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