Tami and I worked together for a few years at the paper. Heres the letter I wrote yesterday to the staff:
It is my great pleasure to welcome my former Los Angeles Times colleague Tami Abdollah to KPCC as our new Education blogger.
Tami is native Angeleno and an excellent product of California public school system. A graduate of Beverly Hills High and UC Berkley, the only formal schooling that she had outside of the Golden State was a brief stint at The Sorbonne.
Tami was staff writer for the Los Angeles Times for three years, covering a wide variety of topics, but she left the paper in late 2009 when she saw an opportunity to be a Reporting Officer in Baghdad, Iraq. She worked in Baghdad for almost a year until she returned to LA, but first she spent a short stint in New Zealand writing about some trapped miners there.
Besides the Times, Tami has freelanced for The Wall Street Journal (while in Belgium and France), The Daily Beast, and also worked for a short while in Oregon at The Associated Press.
When she was a student at UC Berkeley, Tami wrote for the independent student newspaper, The Daily Californian, and covered the Berkeley Unified School District. She graduated Summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa. She was a Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholar, and an IBM Thomas J. Watson Scholar. She wrote her Honors thesis on medieval Merlin. So be careful if you think you can cast a spell on her.
Seemingly always active and always trying to help, Tami has participated in post-Katrina relief work rebuilding roofs in Biloxi, Mississippi a few months after the hurricane hit. She helped rebuild Indian reservation areas destroyed by flooding in New Mexico. And she interned in a psychiatric ward for adults and geriatrics.
She enjoys rock climbing, cycling, skiing, and martial arts. She studied piano for 14 years and received the highest scores and honors in the music and theory exam by the Music Teachers Association of California and Trinity College of London.
But education is where she feels the nexus of where her talents as a journalist meet.
“Probably no other beat is as much an intersection of areas as education,” Tami wrote while applying for this position. “It affects everything and everyone. With unemployment rates at their current levels and job prospects for college graduates at continuing lows, there are some critical questions that must be answered within the education world today. If college is not necessarily the most useful destination for young people now, how do teaching methods and goals need to change? How are students reacting to these changes, and what are their thoughts about the future? That is just one of the many issues I hope I have the opportunity to examine as an education reporter at KPCC.”
Tami speaks French as well as Hebrew (reading, writing, shuk conversation), Farsi (reading, writing and basic conversation), and Arabic (reading, writing, beginning conversation). For fun she is also familiar with Mandarin, Spanish, and Japanese.
It may be dull to her, but here we prefer she writes in English for the time being.
Please join me in welcoming her tomorrow.
And then Fishbowl LA was nice enough to write up her hiring too. Great day all around.