Missouri Legislators Dive Into Education Policy Issues at Third Annual Retreat

February 25, 2021

Jefferson City, MO – With the COVID-19 pandemic having shed light on the myriad issues facing public education, the third annual Missouri Legislators Retreat, taking place virtually on February 25-26, 2021, could not be more timely.

The four co-chairs of this year’s Retreat are Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, Senator Cindy O’Laughlin, Chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee, and Representative Chuck Basye, Chair of the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee. 38 legislators will gather to discuss topics across the full education continuum, including investment in child care, K-12 school funding, teacher retention and recruitment, accountability, school choice, and the digital divide.

“We are excited to see our partnership with the State of Missouri continue to grow,” said Dr. Javaid Siddiqi, The Hunt Institute’s President & CEO. “In addition to this being our third annual retreat, we are pleased to add another Missouri leader to our Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows program, with Lt. Governor Kehoe joining Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick and Secretary Jay Ashcroft in our upcoming cohort. We also continue to support the work of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as they think through long-term COVID-19 response.”

In addition to some of the state’s top superintendents and principals, legislators will hear from a variety of resource experts and education leaders, including:

  • Rebecca Gomez, Program Officer, Heising Simons Foundation
  • Mario Cardona, Chief Policy Officer, Child Care Aware America
  • Pam Thomas, Chief of Early Learning, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Jeriane Jaegers-Brennek, Interim Early Childhood Administrator, Missouri Department of Social Services
  • Rick Hess, Director, Education Policy Studies, AEI
  • Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick, State Treasurer of Missouri
  • Darrion Cockrell, 2021 Missouri State Teacher of the Year
  • Desmond Blackburn, CEO, The New Teacher Center
  • Ericka Lembke, Dean, University of Missouri- Columbia School of Education
  • Commissioner Zora Mulligan, Commissioner of Higher Education, Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development
  • Commissioner Margie Vandeven, Commissioner of Education, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Jacqueline Erickson Russell, Senior Program Officer, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
  • Robert Sheffield, Director, Quality Schools & Districts, WestEd
  • Gary Ritter, Dean, St. Louis University School of Education
  • Shanika Harris, Charter School Program Specialist, University of MO- Columbia
  • Nina Rees, President & CEO, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
  • Secretary Jay Ashcroft, Secretary of State, Missouri
  • Jared Joiner, Director, Educational Practice, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
  • Tracy Hinds, Deputy Commissioner, Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education
  • Vikki Katz, Associate Professor of Communication, Rutgers University
  • Sheri Gonzales, Director, KC Rising
  • Danette Howard, Senior Vice President & Chief Policy Officer, Lumina Foundation
  • Vickie Robinson, General Manager, Microsoft Airband Initiative

“I’m very appreciative of The Hunt Institute and their commitment to work with me in Missouri,” Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft said. “When I became a Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellow in 2018, bringing The Institute’s expertise to Missouri was my dream. After hosting the Retreat with them for three years, I believe we can all work together to make sure every child in Missouri has an opportunity for a challenging education.”

“Working with The Hunt Institute to develop this program has been eye-opening for me. There is so much to address in the field of education to get our children to where they need to be,” said Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe. “Through this Retreat and participation in the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows program, I look forward to arming myself with all of the tools necessary to rebuild our systems stronger than they were before.”


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. For more information, please visit: http://www.hunt-institute.org/


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