First Hunt-Kean Leadership Cohort Primed to be Education Catalysts of Change

August 28, 2015

Back row: Fellows Jamie Woodson, Bob Ferguson, Adam Putnam, Brad Little, Brian Bosma, Mike Johnston, Mark Herring, Spencer Cox; Front row: Angela McLean, Governors Jim Hunt, John Hickenlooper, Tom Kean, Jim Douglas, and Ted Kulongoski

DURHAM, NC – With the complex issues facing public education today, policymakers need core knowledge to promote effective public education agendas. To that end, 15 high-ranking state officials and political leaders from across the country have successfully completed the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows program, a nine-month immersion in state-level education policy. The inaugural cohort completed its final session this month in Denver, Colo.

The Fellows program, named for renowned education governors Jim Hunt (D-NC | 1977-1985; 1993-2001) and Tom Kean (R-NJ | 1982-1990), was launched in December 2014 by The Hunt Institute – a nonpartisan center of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“By investing in America’s policymakers, the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows program will build a cadre of informed and motivated educational change agents with the necessary influence to reform state education systems and improve outcomes,” said Governor Hunt.

The 2015 Inaugural Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows Cohort includes:

• Speaker of the House Brian Bosma, R-Indiana
• Governor Kate Brown, D-Oregon
• Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox, R-Utah
• Attorney General Bob Ferguson, D-Washington
• Attorney General Mark Herring, D-Virginia
• State Senator Mike Johnston, D-Colorado
• Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb, R-Oklahoma
• Lieutenant Governor Brad Little, R-Idaho
• Former Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nevada
• Lieutenant Governor Angela McLean, D-Montana
• Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, R-Florida
• Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves, R-Mississippi
• Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds, R-Iowa
• State Senator Teresa Ruiz, D-New Jersey
• Former Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Jamie Woodson, R-Tennessee

The bipartisan cohort engaged in a curriculum designed to help them understand the issues involved in developing successful schools and advancing sound strategies to improve teaching, learning and student achievement.

“Policymakers across the U.S. are confronting these issues on a daily basis,” said Dr. Javaid Siddiqi, director of the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows program. “It is vital that our leaders be exposed to and immersed in key education policy issues as early as possible in their political careers.”

The cohort engaged with high-caliber resource experts in education, policy and politics through two on-site sessions and a variety of webinars, school visits and panel discussions.

“It is our goal for Fellows to complete the program armed with the best information and resources available to make sound education policy investments as they consider many of the fundamental structures of public education,” said Governor Kean.

“The Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows program leads a timely and compelling conversation around the most critical issues in education. I have appreciated the opportunity to converse with policy leaders across the country and ultimately bring new ideas back to Montana. Most important, The Hunt Institute considers education perspectives from all the states and takes the time to bring political balance to the dialogue,” said Montana Lt. Governor Angela McLean.

The program is also led by a bipartisan advisory board of 16 former governors who have put education at the center of their agendas. Fellows receive mentoring from the governors and learn from their practical experiences utilizing gubernatorial leadership as a lever to make systemic change to improve student achievement.

Speaking about her experience in the program, Iowa Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds said, “Transformational education is a driving force behind having robust state economies, developing talented human capital pipelines, and competing in the global marketplace. The Hunt Institute understood this when it launched the Fellows program in 2014. I am honored to be an alumna of the program and value its relevancy to policy development and educational leadership.”


Media Contact:
Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins, Ph.D.
Director of Policy, Program & Communications


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