Meet our Education Lab staff

This post was updated in the spring of 2023.

Eva-Marie Ayala, editor

Eva-Marie is a veteran education journalist who’s covered schools across North Texas from Fort Worth to Frisco. Since joining The News in 2012, she’s focused on how inequities in schools impact Black and Latino children; what schools are doing to address mental health needs; and how state policy impacts classrooms. She’s a national board member of the Education Writers Association. Previously, she reported for her hometown paper the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Read more of her stories here.

Education Lab editor Eva-Marie Ayala(Lynda M. González / Staff Photographer)

Talia Richman, reporter

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Talia Richman is a Dallas native and graduate of Richardson ISD. After moving to the East Coast to attend the University of Maryland, she worked as an education reporter for The Baltimore Sun. She’s written about faulty school funding formulas, special education challenges and a lack of diversity in the teaching force. She was part of a team of reporters that helped expose a former Baltimore mayor’s corrupt business deals, a series of articles that won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting. Talia is thrilled to be part of the Education Lab for her hometown newspaper. She was among the lead reporters covering Texas’ teacher prep struggles, which earned a national reporting award from the Education Writers Association. You can read her work here.

Talia Richman is a reporter for the Education Lab at The Dallas Morning News.(Shafkat Anowar / Staff Photographer)

Valeria Olivares, engagement reporter

Valeria is an engagement reporter for the Education Lab, where she aims to better connect our communities with coverage that impacts their families. Along with reporting on higher education news, she manages the weekly Education Lab newsletter and helps organize engagement events. Valeria was born in El Paso and raised across the border in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. She has previously interned at The San Antonio Express-News and The Texas Tribune. You can read more of her reporting here.

Valeria Olivares is the Education Lab engagement reporter for The Dallas Morning News.(Lynda M. González / Staff Photographer)

Marcela Rodrigues, fellow

Marcela joined the Education Lab in the spring of 2023 as a reporting fellow. Previously, she interned for the education-nonprofit outlet Chalkbeat and was a fellow at the Chronicle of Higher Education. She also freelanced for The New York Times, where she contributed reporting on an investigation into Hasidic private schools that won a 2022 George Polk Award in education reporting. She is graduate of Smith College and the Columbia Journalism School. You can follow her reporting here.

Marcela Rodrigues is the Education Lab reporting fellow at The Dallas Morning News.(handout)

The DMN Education Lab deepens the coverage and conversation about urgent education issues critical to the future of North Texas.

The DMN Education Lab is a community-funded journalism initiative, with support from Bobby and Lottye Lyle, Communities Foundation of Texas, The Dallas Foundation, Dallas Regional Chamber, Deedie Rose, Garrett and Cecilia Boone, The Meadows Foundation, The Murrell Foundation, Solutions Journalism Network, Southern Methodist University, Sydney Smith Hicks and the University of Texas at Dallas. The Dallas Morning News retains full editorial control of the Education Lab’s journalism.