The Hunt Institute Announces Fourth Cohort of ElevateNC

August 16, 2023

Cary, NC – The Hunt Institute is thrilled to announce the selection of participants for the upcoming fourth cohort of the ElevateNC: Higher Education program, set to launch in August 2023. This program is specifically designed to equip individuals with the necessary tools and knowledge to drive meaningful policy changes in the field of higher education. 

The Institute has curated an exceptional group of influential leaders from various sectors, including state policymakers, K-12 superintendents and teachers, higher education administrators and faculty, business community members, advocacy organizations, and representatives from local government. By bringing together such diverse perspectives, ElevateNC fosters collaboration and encourages the development of innovative strategies aimed at increasing postsecondary attainment. 

In partnership with myFutureNC, ElevateNC: Higher Education is dedicated to supporting the statewide postsecondary attainment goal of having two million North Carolinians earn a degree by 2030. Through myFutureNC’s invaluable expertise, cohort members will gain insights and guidance on how to drive progress towards this ambitious target. 

“Cross-sector collaboration is vital to North Carolina meeting the State’s educational attainment goal of two million by 2030.  Achieving the goal is essential to addressing the state’s workforce needs and ensuring access to family-sustaining wages,” said Cecilia Holden, President & CEO of myFutureNC. “By uniting diverse stakeholders through their time in ElevateNC, we can develop comprehensive solutions, harnessing a wide range of expertise, resources, and perspectives, to create a seamless pathway for individuals to thrive in today’s economy.” 

Commencing in August, the fourth cohort of ElevateNC: Higher Education will engage in four immersive sessions throughout the year. These sessions will be held on the following dates: 

– August 21-22, 2023: North Carolina’s Higher Education Landscape  

– November 13-14, 2023: Equity in Access to Higher Education 

– February 5-6, 2024: Institutional Support to Ensure Postsecondary Persistence 

– April 15-16, 2024: Efforts to Advance Postsecondary Attainment  

Each session spans two days and encompasses a diverse range of topics and policy issues. Participants will have the opportunity to learn from leading practitioners, students, elected officials, as well as state and national resource experts. Additionally, the sessions will offer practical strategies for implementing the knowledge gained in participants’ respective communities. 

“We are immensely grateful for our partners at myFutureNC and to be welcoming our newest group of talented leaders in this fourth cohort of ElevateNC,” said Dr. Javaid Siddiqi, President & CEO of The Hunt Institute. “Together, through this program we empower individuals with the knowledge, skills, and opportunities they need to unlock their full potential, pursue rewarding careers, and make meaningful contributions to society.” 

The fourth cohort of ElevateNC: Higher Education represents a remarkable group of individuals who are poised to drive positive change in the field of higher education: 

  • Yolanda Adams, Family Resource Coordinator, Watauga County Schools 
  • Dr. Margaret Annunziata, President, Isothermal Community College 
  • Dr. Gary Brown, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Interim Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement, Student Affairs, Elizabeth City State University 
  • Monica Clark, Deputy Director, The Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research 
  • Superintendent Dr. Eisa M. Cox, Superintendent, Ashe County Schools
  • Dr. Mark D’Amico, Professor of Higher Education, University of North Carolina at Charlotte 
  • Jamey Falkenbury, Director of Government Affairs, Department of Public Instruction 
  • Crystal Folger-Hawks, Program Director of Surry-Yadkin Works, Surry Community College 
  • Dr. Eric Fotheringham, Assistant Vice President for Transfer Student Success & Partnerships, UNC System 
  • Angel Garcia, Assistant Director, Centro Hispano, University of North Carolina Wilmington 
  • Kate Groat, Director of Corporate Philanthropy, Live Oak Bank 
  • Perry Harker, Vice-President, Corporate and Community Education, Carteret Community College 
  • Commissioner Viola Harris, County Commissioner, Edgecombe County 
  • Keisha Jones, Associate Vice President, Student Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer, Davidson-Davie Community College
  • Dr. Caleb Marsh, Dean of Ashe Campus, Wilkes Community College 
  • Commissioner Todd McNeill, County Commissioner, Ashe County 
  • Dwight Miller, Impact Officer, John M. Belk Endowment  
  • Dr. Heather Miller, Senior Vice President & Chief of Staff, Wingate University 
  • Senator Natalie Murdock, Senator, North Carolina General Assembly 
  • Representative Lindsey Prather, Representative, North Carolina General Assembly 
  • President Melissa Singler, President, Robeson Community College 
  • Dr. Johnny Smith, Vice President for Instruction and Student Support, Robeson Community College  
  • Representative Frank Sossamon, Representative, North Carolina General Assembly 
  • Gina Zhang, Research and Data Analysis Manager, myFutureNC 


About The Hunt Institute 

An affiliate of the Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy, The Hunt Institute is a recognized leader in the movement to transform public education. Marshaling expertise from a nationwide partner network since its establishment in 2001, The Institute brings together people and resources that help build and nurture visionary leadership, and mobilize strategic action for greater educational outcomes and student success. For more information, please visit:  

About myFutureNC 

myFutureNC is a statewide nonprofit focused on educational attainment that includes some of North Carolina’s most influential education, business, and civic leaders. The organization was formed with the goal to create a stronger, more competitive North Carolina. myFutureNC is working across sectors and in communities throughout the state to close gaps in the education pathway, to promote alignment between educational programming and business/industry needs, and to ultimately improve educational opportunities for all North Carolinians. Join our efforts, stay in touch and help champion success for our state and all of its people. Visit 


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