Ellen Austin, MJE, is the director of journalism at The Harker School in San Jose, California, where she advises the newspaper, yearbook, longform feature magazine, and online site. Previously, she taught  journalism and English at Palo Alto H.S., which received a First Amendment Press Freedom Award in 2011. Austin advised the Viking sports magazine and website, which earned Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Crowns, as well as numerous awards from the National Scholastic Press Association and the Journalism Education Association, and co-advised INfocus, the daily broadcast news program. Prior to California, Austin taught English and journalism in Minnesota.

Austin received JEA’s Rising Star Award in 2006 (the inaugural year of that award), was named the 2011 California Journalism Education Coalition Journalism Teacher of the year, and was the Dow Jones News Fund 2012 National High School Journalism Teacher of the Year. She chaired the Student Press Law Center steering committee, served on the JEA Northern California board, and was a past JEA Southwest Region director and board member. She holds a Gold Key from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and received the Pioneer Award in 2016 from the National Scholastic Press Association. She co-authored (with Jan Ewell, Michelle Balmeo and Randy Hamm) the 2016 Goodheart-Wilcox journalism textbook, Journalism: Publishing Across Media. 



  • Dow Jones New Fund Journalism Teacher of the Year, Nov. 2012
  • National Endowment of the Humanities grant recipient, Summer 2012 | One of 16 scholars in the nation selected to study Chaucer’s life and works in London for four weeks.
  • College Board AP Reader, June 2012 & 2013 | Selected by College Board to read and score AP Literature student responses at the scoring site in Louisville.
  • Master Journalism Educator (MJE) certification, April 2012 | Granted on basis of experience, journalism-related core project, and results of comprehensive national written exam. Certified Journalism Educator (CJE) designation awarded in 2003.
  • California Journalism Educator of the Year, 2011 | Presented by the California Journalism Education Coalition.
  • Journalism Education Association (JEA), Regional Director  [Southwest Region], 2008-2011 | Voting board member for national scholastic journalism group. Responsible for implementing JEA policies in the seven-state area of this region, as well as establishing communication between all constituencies at state, local, and national level.
  • Journalism Education Association (JEA) Rising Star, 2006 | One of seven national awardees in the inaugural year of this award, given to promising new journalism advisers in the first five years of their advising career.
  • Board member, JEANC [Journalism Education Association, Northern California], 2008-2015
  • Chair, Student Press Law Center (SPLC), Steering Committee, 2007-2014 | Chair of national journalism teachers for the SPLC, which provides legal support and representation for First Amendment issues related to student press in high schools and universities.
  • American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) Fellowship, Ball State University, 2003 | Awarded to new journalism advisers to provide intensive training in all aspects of newspaper production, business, and journalistic ethics.
  • Newspaper Association of America (NAA) Seed Grant and NAA Publishers Grant Recipient, 2002-2003 | Awarded to 20 high school newspapers nationally to revitalize journalism programs.
  • Rotary Group Study Exchange, 2004 | One month travel/study grant to Central America (Guatemala, Honduras, Belize).  School administration supported this midyear absence because the district saw this as an opportunity for the school community to enrich its global understandings through a teacher’s firsthand cultural experiences.


  1. What an inspiring presentation, “Leaps of Faith,” at the national high school journalism convention Saturday. Just one of many gems, “Knock on the door, or kick it open. But let people – and important issues that matter – into your publications.”
    Congratulations on a wonderful year to come and lots more leaping. DJNF

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