Bill Celis, an award-winning teacher and author, is a former education correspondent for The New York Times and a former reporter and columnist for The Wall Street Journal.
His work on education and school reform policy over two decades has appeared in the American Prospect magazine, The Boston Sunday Globe, The New York Times Week in Review, Teacher magazine, Columbia University’s Teachers College Record and Voices in Urban Education, a quarterly produced by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University, and a number of other general-interest publications. He serves on the advisory board of AmericasWire.Org, a national wire service directed by the Maynard Institute's Media Center on Structural Racism, and also serves on the advisory board of YourVox, http://www.yourvox.org/news/, a global community website produced by college students in the U.S. and abroad.
He is the author of Battle Rock: The Struggle Over A One-Room School in America’s Vanishing West (Public Affairs, New York, 2002). The book chronicles the influx of urban migration to the rural West and the resulting rise of the one-room school and was included on several year-end lists, including the Investigative Reporters and Editors Magazine list. The book was also nominated for the Mountain Plains Regional Book Award. His forthcoming book, based in Texas and the Southwest, explores the intersection between the Latino Civil Rights movement and the immigrant rights campaign, around the issue of access to public education.
At USC Annenberg, he has taught American media history, advanced magazine writing, and writing and reporting classes for both undergraduate and graduate students. In 2007, he was named outstanding print professor by the Annenberg Graduate Student Association. Students in his J584 Education, Youth and Learning course and his J476 Reporting Urban Affairs class produce the Watt Way website and present their work across media platforms in English and Spanish. In Fall 2010, his class began using the iPad with assistance from the USC Annenberg Web Technologies office to produce blogs from schools and neighborhoods across greater Los Angeles. Visit the site at http://wattway.org/blog/.
He conceived and helped create Intersections: The South Los Angeles Report, the first hyper local website at USC Annenberg; the site won initial grants from the USC Annenberg School, the J Lab: Institute for Interactive Journalism and the McCormick Foundation. The site showcases long form narratives and multimedia work exploring race and class, with much of the work produced by his students.
Celis is an affiliate faculty member with the USC Department of History, Latino studies, and he holds a courtesy appointment in the USC Rossier School of Education, where he serves on a steering committee examining digital education innovation in urban schools. He is also a member of several professional organizations, including the Education Writers Association, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the Online News Association. Celis earned his master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he was awarded an Overseas Press Club fellowship to report on Mexico’s economic and immigration issues; he holds an undergraduate degree in journalism and English from Howard Payne College, a small liberal arts college in his native Texas.