Hunt-Kean Leadership Cohort 4, Begins Education Policy Fellowship in Washington

December 6, 2017

Former Governors Mentor Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows on Education Policy

Washington, DC – The Hunt Institute continues to invest in America’s political leaders, welcoming its fourth cohort of Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows this week. Twenty high-ranking state officials and political leaders from across the country will begin the nine-month immersion in state-level education policy.

The 2017-2018 Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows include:

  • Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft
  • Fmr. U.S. Representative Dan Boren
  • Attorney General Mark Brnovich
  • Fmr. State Senator Jason Carter
  • Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long
  • Lt. Governor Jenean Hampton
  • State Senator Jeff Hayden
  • Attorney General Maura Healey
  • Comptroller Glenn Hegar 
  • State Senator Mike Hilgers
  • Attorney General Curtis Hill
  • State Senator Jennifer McClellan
  • State Senator Greg Reed
  • Director of Veterans’ Affairs Cameron Smith
  • Attorney General Josh Stein
    D-North Carolina
  • Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter
    D-New Jersey
  • State Senator Gray Tollison
  • State Representative William Tong
  • Secretary of State Mac Warner
    R-West Virginia
  • State Representative Monica Youngblood
    R-New Mexico

The bipartisan cohort will be joined by leading minds in education, policy, and politics to discuss the importance of rigorous standards, aligned assessments, and strong accountability systems. The Fellows will also explore charter schools and the merits and challenges of school choice reform.  Over the nine months, Fellows will be exposed to a variety of policy mechanisms and program exemplars that collectively can improve outcomes for students.

“It’s an honor to be selected for the 2017-2018 cohort of Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows,” said Kentucky Lt. Governor Jenean Hampton. “I’m looking forward to engaging, informative discussion with other Fellows and Hunt Institute personnel, and hope to learn innovative options for supercharging Kentucky’s efforts to become a leader in education.” 

Unique to this program, Fellows also have access to the Institute’s bipartisan network of former governors who have established reputations for working across the aisle and improving public education. The governors joining the Cohort this week are: Gov. Jim Douglas (R-VT); Gov. Bob Taft (R-OH); Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA); Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) and Gov. Jim Hunt (D-NC).

“There can be little doubt that strong leadership at the state level is vital to ensure equitable educational opportunities for all students,” said Dr. Javaid Siddiqi, President & CEO of the Hunt Institute. “Yet all too often, these leaders find themselves at crucial decision points without the background they need to act decisively. By participating in this program, Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows have a head start in setting their vision for education and acquire a bipartisan network of colleagues and experts to call on in the years ahead.”

Highlights from this week’s program include discussions with former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Fordham Institute President Mike Petrilli, and National Alliance for Public Charter Schools President Nina Rees, as well as a tour of Capital City Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. Before the second convening in August 2018, Fellows will have the opportunity to participate in regional visits to innovative programs, state-specific briefings in their home states, and distance-learning opportunities, such as webinars.

“As an educator and Lt. Governor, I have made it a priority to focus on the growth and success of all of our students in Delaware,” said Delaware Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long.  “My journey in education greatly impacted my desire to promote and work for all who seek to succeed through education. I am very excited to be part of the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows program and actively work with the Hunt Institute to explore more resources, strategic ideas and cultivate my passion for education.”

Gov. Jim Hunt added, “Every child in America deserves to have a high-quality public education, and leaders with the political will and policy knowledge can make it happen. I am hopeful about all of the great work the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows will do across our country to make education—and children—our number one priority.”

Since its launch in 2014, the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows program has established a network of over 70 Fellows representing 44 states. To date, ten Fellows have announced 2018 gubernatorial runs across the nation, and two Fellows currently serve in gubernatorial roles – Governor Kate Brown of Oregon and Governor Kim Reynolds of Iowa – both from the inaugural cohort.


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About the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows
The Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows program seeks to partner with senior-level political leaders who have the knowledge, skill, and will to be effective, reform-minded education policymakers at the state level. Named for renowned education governors Jim Hunt (D-NC | 1977-1985; 1993-2001) and Tom Kean (R-NJ | 1982-1990), the national, nonpartisan Fellowship launched in the fall of 2014. Through the Fellowship, the Institute’s vision is to help political leaders develop a deeply rooted vision for educational improvement.  For more information about Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows, please visit

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 it was established 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.

Media Contact: Michele Jordan,  Chief of Staff
984.377.5049 |

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