Hunt-Kean Leadership Cohort 2 Completes Education Policy Fellowship

August 22, 2016

DURHAM, N.C. – Sixteen 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 second cohort completed its final session on August 12, 2016, in Portland, Oregon.

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 – an affiliate of the Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy.  

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

The 2016 Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows Cohort includes:

  • Attorney General Hector Balderas
    D-New Mexico
  • State Treasurer John Chiang
  • Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer
  • Former Auditor of Public Accounts Adam Edelen
  • Auditor General Eugene DePasquale
  • Former Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann
  • Senate Minority Leader Aaron Ford
  • Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea
    D-Rhode Island
  • State House Delegate Tag Greason
  • Secretary of State Tre Hargett
  • Secretary of State Jon Husted
  • Attorney General George Jepsen
  • Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey
  • Former Speaker of the House Hannah Pingree
  • Attorney General Alan Wilson
    R-South Carolina
  • State Treasurer Walker Stapleton

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. “Exposing state leaders to key education policy issues at this point in their careers is vital to ensuring that when the time comes to make decisions, they are equipped to lead a conversation about real change in their states.

During the course of nine months, 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 personalized in-state meetings.

“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 program is a real source of learning and helps good leaders become even better leaders,” said California State Treasurer John Chiang. “I am elated to be a part of this group, and I’m looking forward to applying my newfound skills as we set out to tackle challenges, craft policies, and provide better tools to help improve our state education systems.”

The program is also led by a bipartisan advisory board of 15 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 his experience, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said, “The Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows program works with the leaders of today and tomorrow from all over the country. The year-long program was transformational and probably one of the best professional development programs I have undertaken, one which I am sure will have a lasting impact.”

Cohort 2 will now join the distinguished group of Fellows from the first cohort as program alumni. The Hunt Institute continues to serve as a resource for alumni, fostering this growing, bipartisan network of state leaders as they continue on in their careers.

For more information about the Hunt-Kean Fellows, please visit


About The Hunt Institute

The Hunt Institute is a recognized leader in the movement to transform public education. Marshaling expertise from a nationwide partner network, The Institute connects leaders with the best strategies for developing and implementing policies and programs to improve public education. It specifically focuses on bringing together people and resources that help build and nurture visionary leadership and mobilize strategic action for greater educational outcomes and student success. The Hunt Institute is an independent, nonprofit affiliate of the Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy.

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