Kyle Spencer is an award-winning journalist and frequent New York Times contributor whose features have appeared in the Styles, Education Life, Metro, and Metropolitan sections, and on the paper's front page. She has written for New York magazine, Slate, The Daily Beast, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, POLITICO Magazine,The Baltimore Sun, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The International Herald Tribune, and many other publications.
A veteran journalist with 20-plus years of experience, Spencer has written about Christian rockers, Philadelphia murderers, Harlem parents in the age of school reform, million dollar PTA's, marijuana etiquette and gay culture among young America Catholics. In recent years, she has focused much of her attention on the ways in which race, class, stress and technology are impacting life inside American classrooms. In 2014, she co-produced an award-winning Frontline episode about school resegregation.
Timely, prescient, and heavily reported, Spencer’s intensely readable pieces identify trends, spark controversy and generate conversation. She has a keen eye for detail and a striking understanding of why certain stories matter.
Spencer began her career as a college stringer for The New York Times while on staff at The Daily Tar Heel, the award-winning college newspaper at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 1991, she became a newspaper stringer in Eastern Europe. She filed pieces for The Miami Herald, The International Herald Tribune, and The European, focusing on the social and cultural shifts taking place after the fall of the Iron Curtain. She wrote about Polish theater companies grappling with their new artistic freedom, Europe’s burgeoning tech revolution for Newsweek International business supplements and the birth of private schooling in the Czech Republic for The International Herald Tribune.
Back in the states, she served as a reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer and The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina and was a contributing editor to Baby Talk magazine.
In 2012, Spencer wrote a series of stories for The New York Times about hyper-aggressive fundraising efforts at New York City’s well-to-do public schools, which launched a city-wide debate about public school inequity. The series was part of a crowdsourcing project she helped coordinate between WNYC Radio, The New York Times, and the education website SchoolBook.
Spencer has appeared on New York 1, The Brian Lehrer Show, The Talk of The Nation, and The Debrief with David Ushery. She speaks and moderates panels for public and private schools, annual education-related conferences, corporate workshops and non-profit events.
She is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir She’s Gone Country: Dispatches from a Lost Soul in The Heart of Dixie, which she published with Random House’s Vintage imprint. Reviewing the book, Publisher’s Weekly called it “honest and endearing.” Bust magazine called it a “rousing read.” And The Hartford Courant said that Spencer had produced “a witty and funny book about chasing your dreams and sometimes catching them.”