New Board Member For Journalistic Learning Initiative

Former Oregon Senator and Superintendent for Public Instruction Joins Team

July 23, 2020 (Eugene, Ore.) – Journalistic Learning Initiative, a 10-year-old nonprofit empowering students to find their voice through storytelling, welcomes new board member Susan Castillo. Castillo recently retired as vice president of the west region for Project Lead The Way, where she managed a team helping educators in 12 states gain access to high-quality STEM curricula for their students.

“In joining the JLI Board, I have a chance to support both of my career passions—journalism and education,” said Castillo. “I’m honored to be part of an effort toward creating innovative opportunities for students.”

Castillo was previously Oregon Superintendent of Public Instruction (2003 to 2012), and a state senator (1997 to 2002), the first Hispanic woman to serve in the Oregon legislature. Castillo also spent 14 years as a broadcast journalist, for the CBS affiliate KVAL-TV. During her career, Castillo sat on numerous boards, advisories, and committees.

“Susan’s background in journalism, extensive knowledge about the workings of education in Oregon, and lifelong passion for removing barriers to academic success, make her a perfect fit for the Journalistic Learning Initiative,” said JLI Executive Director Ed Madison.

Founded in 2010, in collaboration with the University of Oregon School of Journalism and College of Education, the JLI empowers students to discover their voice, improve academic outcomes, and engage in self-directed learning through project-based story telling. Students learn to research, interview, write, edit, and collaborate, making them more effective communicators.

“We work with middle and high school English, Social Studies, Health, and Science teachers to instill students with the critical thinking and life skills they need to prepare themselves for college and careers,” said Madison. “Our standards-aligned, evidence-based program is particularly focused on students in historically under-served and rural communities to increase student belonging, improve student attendance, and close the achievement gap to improve statewide graduation rates.”

Since its inception, JLI has helped more than 4,500 young people in Oregon and California succeed. For more information, email

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