Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows – Cohort Eight August Convening

August 19, 2022

On August 10-12th, 2022, The Hunt Institute hosted the second and final convening of the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows’ eighth cohort in San Diego, CA.

Hunt staff gather around the Hotel Del Coronado sign, waving their arms and smiling at the camera.The Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows program – unlike any other Fellowship in the nation – provides these leaders with the knowledge they need to cultivate smart and effective education agendas. This convening brought together elected officials from across the country to hear from resource experts and panelists on topics of educator workforce and higher education. The first convening, held in December 2021, in Washington, DC, centered around early childhood and K-12 student learning policies.


Wednesday, August 10

After guests arrived at the Hotel Del Coronado, we opened the week with a discussion on educator workforce policy and practice, moderated by The Honorable Michael Lee. Resource experts Dr. Richard Ingersoll of the University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Lynn M. Gangone of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education spoke to Fellows about how the teaching profession has changed over time, the advocacy and political influence of educators, and the major issues facing the workforce.

We then took a deep dive into the current challenges and opportunities with teacher compensation in a session moderated by Dr. Melody Schopp, the Director of Education Industry Consulting at SAS. In this session, Policy Director Chad Aldeman of Edunomics Lab and The Honorable John Chiang of California explored the education labor market and various strategies for retaining teachers across the country.

After a quick networking break in the Del courtyard, Fellows gathered to hear from Associate Professor Dr. Travis Bristol of the University of California Berkeley and our very own Dr. Ashlee Canty, the Director of Equity Initiatives at The Hunt Institute. This conversation, titled Recruiting and Retaining a Diverse Educator Workforce, was moderated by Dakarai Aarons of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiatives and gave Fellows the opportunity to consider ways to improve diverse teacher pipelines in their individual states, in addition to considering the major current factors for teacher turnover, specifically teachers of color.

Governors pose with the resource experts from the "Professional Perspectives" session in front of the Hotel del Coronado.

Governors pose with the resource experts from the “Professional Perspectives” session in front of the Hotel del Coronado.

Fellows and staff then gathered on the Vista Terrace to hear from teachers and principals during the “Professional Perspectives” session. Before dinner, Cohort 8 was able to hear from and engage directly with teachers and school leaders in Professional Perspectives, all with a glorious view of the Pacific Ocean. Educators from Arizona, Virginia, California, Texas, and New York sat in small groups with Fellows, their staff, and former governors to share their day-to-day experiences and answer questions about the challenges and opportunities they face.

Governor Susana Martinez, New Mexico 2011-2019, speaks to Fellows before dinner at Hotel del Coronado.

Governor Susana Martinez, New Mexico 2011-2019, delivering the keynote address.

We brought Day 1 to a close right on the beach for a sunset dinner. Dr. Javaid Siddiqi opened the floor for our Keynote speaker The Honorable Susana Martinez, who spoke about the importance of this leadership work, and the opportunities each Fellow has to influence education in their states.

Dinner at the Hotel del Coronado.

We enjoyed a beautiful sunset overlooking the beach at Hotel del Coronado.

Thursday, August 11th

To start things off on Day 2, Isla Young, the Former Executive Director of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Workforce Innovation, sat down with Jon Schnur, America Achieves CEO and Chairman, and Joel Vargas, the Vice President of Programs at Jobs for the Future. This morning session focused on the importance of aligning workforce needs and educational offerings, closing equity gaps, and how state leaders can ensure their states are competitive in future years.

As the morning rolled along, The Hunt Institute’s Dr. Madeline Smith, Director of Higher Education, moderated an in-depth discussion on the importance of secondary and postsecondary education systems working together to ensure students access postsecondary credential pathways. Dr. Dhanfu Elston, Chief of Staff and Senior Vice President of Strategy at Complete College America, and Dr. Harry Williams, President & CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund shared their insights and expertise before Fellows, their staff, and former governors broke for a networking lunch at the Del.

Dr. Wil Del Pilar, Vice President of Higher Education Policy and Practice at The Education Trust, speaks during the "Ensuring Affordable Access to Postsecondary Education" session.

Dr. Wil Del Pilar, Vice President of Higher Education Policy and Practice at The Education Trust

Chief Executive Officer Janet Godwin of ACT then took the floor with VP of Higher Education Policy and Practice Dr. Wil Del Pilar from The Education Trust and Kristin Hultquist of HCM Strategists. This session made space for Fellows to consider the importance of creating equitable pathways to postsecondary education for all students and providing students with those requisite academic and financial supports.

For Thursday’s final session, President of The Campaign for College Opportunity Michele Siqueiros opened the conversation for Dr. Archie Cubarrubia, Deputy Director, Postsecondary Success at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Dr. John Garcia, Senior Advisor at the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy. This session was a wonderful way to bring Day 2 to a close, as Fellows heard from these experts on best practices for holistically supporting students and ensuring they persist toward a degree or credential.

Dinner on Thursday night took place at Coasterra restaurant, giving Fellows the chance to reflect on what they gleaned from Day 2’s conversations.


Friday, August 12th

Our final morning in San Diego was the perfect way to wrap-up Cohort 8’s time in San Diego as Fellows engaged on the topics of innovation, adaptation, and what it means to be an education leader.

The panelists discuss a question during the "Armchair Discussion with University & System Leaders: Adapting and Innovating in 2022" session.

The panelists discuss a question during the “Armchair Discussion with University & System Leaders: Adapting and Innovating in 2022” session.

Stefanie Sanford, the Chief of Global Policy and External Relations at College Board, led the first panel, which gave University and System Leaders space to reflect on the successes and challenges of their careers. The Honorable Stephanie Rodriguez, Secretary of the New Mexico Higher Education Department, Deputy Chancellor Dr. Daisy Gonzales of California Community Colleges, and President Dr. Wayne Lewis, Jr. of Houghton University discussed how colleges and universities have adjusted to the conditions brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. They also provided insight into what colleges and universities must do in the current and post-pandemic eras to create the conditions for an affordable, equitable, and supporting environment for all higher education students.

Kent McGuire, Program Director, Education at William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, moderates the "Governors Panel" session.

Kent McGuire, Program Director, Education at William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, moderates the “Governors Panel” session.

Before Fellows and their staff departed, Cohort 8 had the esteemed privilege to hear from The Honorable Neil Abercrombie, The Honorable Jim Douglas, The Honorable Susana Martinez, and The Honorable Bob Wise as they shared their wisdom on the challenges of being their states’ education leaders. Dr. Kent McGuire, The Program Director of Education at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, moderated this discussion, which gave Fellows the perfect opportunity to reflect on their time with The Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellowship and consider their next steps as they traveled back to their states.

Congratulations to Cohort 8 on their completion of the program! We look forward to seeing the positive impacts on education each of them have in their states in the coming years.

Learn more about the program here.


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