About VM

Hello and welcome.portrait

My name is Vanessa McCray.

For 17 years, I’ve worked as a reporter at newspapers in Michigan, Ohio, and now in Georgia.

In 2017, I moved south to cover Atlanta Public Schools and join the education team at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I’m still getting to know this sprawling, dynamic city and searching for the most important and compelling stories to tell about the 50,000-student school district that is recovering from the nation’s largest cheating scandal.

My career started at the Escanaba Daily Press in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, followed by a decade of storytelling from the shores of Lake Michigan at the Traverse City Record-Eagle. I moved to Toledo, Ohio to work for The Blade in 2012, where I was the education reporter at the Pulitzer Prize-winning daily in Ohio’s fourth largest city. (Edit: Not my Pulitzer; Toledo’s population is 282,313 and falling.)

In 2001, I graduated from Hillsdale College, where I received a bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in journalism and a minor in classical studies. In 2006, I completed a graduate certification in historic preservation from Eastern Michigan University.

I’m a note taker, friend maker, and Great Laker.


During my years at The Blade, I covered both K-12 and higher education and spent a few years as a regional reporter covering northwest Ohio. These are a few of my favorite stories from my time in Toledo:

  • This seven-part series about the slow reversal of the Great Migration that grew out of a recent reporting trip to the Deep South.
  • A data-driven piece  comparing the stagnant graduation rates at Toledo Public Schools to gains made by other urban districts in Ohio.
  • A public records-based story describing how the University of Toledo used private dollars to furnish its new presidential house. (Gilded trefoil table, anyone?)
  • This feature story on Arcadia that was part of the newspaper’s 2012 presidential election series on small-town Ohio life.
  • Detailed, daily deadline reporting from a 2014 trip to the tobacco fields and migrant camps of North Carolina.