About redefinED

redefinED’s aim is to reflect and report on how parental choice is transforming public education, moving beyond the fractious debate that separates education choice from traditional public school options. We examine the opportunities and real-world challenges of customizing learning for each child from our vantage point of being geographically located in a state that is the national leader in educational choice.


While redefinED is published by Step Up For Students, a nonprofit that administers state-supported scholarships for children with financial, educational and special needs, the blog is not a promotional vehicle for vouchers or private school scholarships. Our contributors rely on their collective expertise to speak more broadly about how an explosion of education alternatives – charter schools, private schools, tax credit scholarships, education savings accounts, open enrollment, magnet schools, career academies, dual enrollment – is redefining education.

redefinED Contributors

Matthew Ladner

Executive Editor

Matthew Ladner is executive editor of redefinED. He has written numerous studies on school choice, charter schools and special education reform, and his articles have appeared in Education Next; the Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice; and the British Journal of Political Science. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and received a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Houston. He lives in Phoenix with his wife and three children.

Donna Winchester

Managing Editor

Donna Winchester is managing editor of redefinED. A former journalist, she spent 10 years covering K-12 and higher education for the Tampa Bay Times. She left the newsroom in 2009 to lead Pinellas County Schools’ communications team and then served for four years as director of strategic communications at the University of Florida.

Catherine Durkin Robinson is a former teacher and columnist for the Tampa Tribune and Creative Loafing. A Democratic activist for 30 years, she got her start in the education choice movement as a grassroots leader in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Missouri and Maine working with StudentsFirst. She has been organizing scholarship parents since 2013.

Keith Jacobs serves as manager of charter school initiatives for Step Up For Students, a nonprofit that helps administer the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship for lower-income families, and the Gardiner Scholarship for children with certain special needs. Prior to working with the Step Up, Jacobs was a K-12 educator and administrator in traditional and charter public schools for 14 years.

A lifelong educator and former teacher union president, Tuthill has been president of Step Up For Students since August 2008.

Jon East is special projects director for Step Up For Students. Previously, he was a member of the editorial board and the Sunday commentary editor at the St. Petersburg Times, Florida’s largest daily newspaper, where he wrote about education issues for most of his 28 years at the paper. He was also a reporter and editor at the Evening Independent and Ocala Star-Banner. He earned a journalism degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

 
 
 

Patrick Gibbons is public affairs manager at Step Up for Students and a research fellow for the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. A former teacher, he lived in Las Vegas, Nev., for five years, where he worked as an education writer and researcher. He can be reached at (813) 498.1991 or emailed at pgibbons@stepupforstudents.org. Follow Patrick on Twitter: at @PatrickRGibbons and @redefinEDonline.

David Hudson Tuthill coordinates advocacy needs for Step Up For Students’ Advocacy and Civic Engagement (ACE) team. He is a product of 13 years of education choice in the magnet programs of Pinellas County Schools. He has worked for Step Up since May 2017 and lives in St. Petersburg, FL. You can reach him at dhudson@stepupforstudents.org or 727-451-9835.

John E. Coons is a professor of law, emeritus, University of California at Berkeley, and author with Stephen D. Sugarman of “Private Wealth and Public Education” and “Education by Choice.”

Roger Mooney is the marketing communications manager for Step Up For Students. He joined the organization after a distinguished career as a sports and features writer for several Florida newspapers, including the Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times.

Lorraine McBride, manager for advocacy and civic engagement at Step Up For Students, attended both public and private schools. She believes every child deserves a chance to succeed and that all parents should be empowered to champion the best educational environment for their children.

Ron Matus is director for policy & public affairs at Step Up for Students and a former editor of redefinED. He joined Step Up in February 2012 after 20 years in journalism, including eight years as an education reporter with the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times). Ron can be reached at rmatus@stepupforstudents.org or (727) 451-9830. Follow him on Twitter @RonMatus1 and on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/redefinedonline.

Scott Kent manages strategic communication for Step Up For Students. A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, he spent 30 years in newspapers, the last 25 as an editorial writer and opinion page editor in Georgia and Florida. Additionally, he was opinion page editor at the Daytona Beach News-Journal. He can be reached at skent@sufs.org or (727) 451-9832. Follow him on Twitter at @ScottKent66 and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/redefinedonline.

Lisa Buie is online reporter for redefinED. The daughter of a public school superintendent, she spent more than a dozen years as a reporter and bureau chief at the Tampa Bay Times before joining Shriners Hospitals for Children — Tampa, where she served for nearly five years as marketing and communications manager. She lives with her husband and their teenage son, who has benefited from education choice.