The Education Writers Association announced winners of the annual National Awards for Education Reporting yesterday, and The Education Business: Teachers Missing At the Top, by Helen Zelon, was among them.

Zelon earned a “special citation” in the Small Media – Feature, News Feature or Issue Package category from the Washington-based professional association, whose judges reviewed 334 entries this year.

Upon publication last June, the article generated buzz in education and government circles for finally describing – and examining the implications of – a major change that many education observers had noticed under current Department of Education Chancellor Joel I. Klein. That is, a change in the traditional background of the city’s top public education officials from education to business.

Leo Casey, a vice president of the United Federation of Teachers, was quoted in the article as saying of Klein’s team: “Their theory of change is one that distrusts educators. You don’t work with people in schools, but impose various frameworks upon them and experiment. … These folks aren’t educators. They don’t know how to have education conversations. They’re lawyers and MBAs who never spent a day in the classroom or running a school.”

Zelon, a Brooklyn resident, serves as Contributing Editor for Education and Child Welfare for City Limits, and is the chief author of two issues of City Limits magazine: “Exit Strategy: Sizing Up NYC’s Dropout Challenge,” published in Winter 2008, and the current issue, “Hope or Hype In Harlem?” which evaluates the effectiveness of the Harlem Children’s Zone.