Gov. Jim Hunt Named Learning First Alliance’s Education Visionary Award Winner

May 29, 2014

Governor Jim Hunt

Governor Jim Hunt

DURHAM, NC – The Learning First Alliance (LFA) named The Hunt Institute Foundation Board Chair and former North Carolina Governor James B. Hunt, Jr. recipient of the 2014 Education Visionary Award for his decades of leadership and commitment to improving public education.

“Governor Hunt’s leadership and commitment to improving public education embodies the meaning and merits of the Education Visionary Award,” said Cheryl S. Williams, executive director of the Learning First Alliance. “His decades of service, both in North Carolina and across the nation, have positively impacted countless students and educators, and we commend him for his tireless work.”

LFA, a partnership of leading education associations with more than 10 million members dedicated to improving student learning in America’s public schools, held its annual award ceremony on May 15, 2014, at the National Education Association in Washington, D.C. LFA honors individuals who have exhibited exceptional leadership; tenacity in focusing on the needs of children from all environmental and economic backgrounds; respect for professional educators and a belief that they have the best interest of children; and a demonstrated belief that public education is the cornerstone of our democratic way of life and should be nurtured for the benefit of every American.

The Award was also presented to Linda Darling-Hammond, Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education at Stanford University and accomplished author; Jack Jennings, Center on Education Policy; and Richard W. Riley, former U.S. Secretary of Education.

Considered by many to be the nation’s first “education governor,” Governor Hunt is a nationally recognized leader in education and has been at the forefront of state and national education reform. During his four terms as governor (1977-1985 and 1993-2001), he focused on early childhood development and the improvement of quality of teaching. His Smart Start program received the prestigious Innovations in American Government Award from the Ford Foundation and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. In 1985, he co-chaired the “Committee of 50,” which led to the Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy and eventually to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. He has also provided education leadership as chairman of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, the National Education Goals Panel, and the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, as well as board vice chair of Achieve, Inc. In 2006, he was named one of the 10 most influential people in American education, along with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

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