Seventh Cohort of Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows Announced

March 3, 2021

Immersive Educational Experience for Elected Officials Kicks off Virtually, with In-Person Convenings Scheduled for August and December

Cary, NC. – With COVID-19 having affected every aspect of the education system, from early childhood through postsecondary and the workforce, a nonpartisan convening of current and future changemakers couldn’t be more timely.

The launch of the seventh cohort in The Hunt Institute’s Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows program adds 30 senior-level elected officials to its ranks, bringing the total to 141, representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia, with six sitting governors having participated in the program: Governor Kate Brown of Oregon, Governor Kim Reynolds of Iowa, Governor Brad Little of Idaho, Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Governor Tate Reeves of Mississippi, and Governor Spencer Cox of Utah.

“Building leaders who are well-versed in education and ready to take action couldn’t be a more important task than at this moment,” said The Hunt Institute’s President & CEO Dr. Javaid Siddiqi. “We are eager to do our part to help this next cohort of Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows ensure that all students have access to a high-quality education, particularly as we navigate the long-term impacts on learning as a result of the pandemic.”

The 2021 Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows are:

  • Secretary of State Michael Adams (R-KY)
  • State Senator Dawn Buckingham (R-TX)
  • State Representative Ashton Clemmons (D-NC)
  • State Auditor Brian Colón (D-NM)
  • Governor Suzanne Crouch (R-IN)
  • State Treasurer Julie Ellsworth (R-ID)
  • Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D-FL)
  • Speaker of the House Jason Frierson (D-NV)
  • State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski (D-WI)
  • State Representative Toni Hasenbeck (R-OK)
  • State Senator Greg Hembree (R-SC)
  • Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D-AZ)
  • Governor Mike Kehoe (R-MO)
  • State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta (D-PA)
  • State Senator Kimberly Lightford (D-IL)
  • State Senator Louise Lucas (D-VA)
  • General Treasurer Seth Magaziner (D-RI)
  • State Auditor John “JB” McCuskey (R-WV)
  • Secretary of State John Merrill (R-AL)
  • Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig (R-IA)
  • Attorney General Dana Nessel (D-MI)
  • Governor Billy Nungesser (R-LA)
  • Governor Dianne Primavera (D-CO)
  • State Senator Gustavo Rivera (D-NY)
  • Governor Boyd Rutherford (R-MD)
  • Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R-AR)
  • Mayor Andre Sayegh (D-NJ)
  • State Treasurer Robert Sprague (R-OH)
  • State Superintendent Tony Thurmond (D-CA)
  • State Senator Bo Watson (R-TN)

“Education at all levels leads to opportunity and opens doors for those who pursue it, and contributes to our collective success as a nation,” said Lieutenant Governor Boyd K. Rutherford (R-MD). “Participating in the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows program will allow me to learn from those who have led successful education initiatives in other states, and bring best practices as well as lessons learned back to Maryland to plant seeds for the future success of our students.”

The cohort will initially convene virtually, joining Fellows past and present with a monthly webinar series running from February-August 2021. The series provides the opportunity for Fellows to learn from subject matter experts on a different topic each month across all parts of the education continuum, in addition to convening with each other. An in-person session is currently scheduled for August 11-13, 2021, focused on educator workforce and postsecondary policies. The second in-person session is scheduled for December 8-10, 2021, focused on early childhood and K-12 student learning policies.

“The pandemic has brought to light many issues in our education system, which means it can’t return to ‘business as usual’ once schools are able to reopen,” said Secretary Katie Hobbs (D-AZ). “I look forward to learning alongside this bipartisan group of Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows to build back better.”

Unique to this program, Fellows have access to The Hunt Institute’s bipartisan network of former governors who have established reputations for working across the aisle and improving public education, and in particular the program’s namesakes, Governor James B. Hunt, Jr. (D-NC), and Governor Tom Kean (R-NJ). “It warms my heart each time I get to meet and interact with a new cohort of Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows, dedicating their time and energy to the important topic of education,” said Governor Jim Hunt. “In these particularly polarizing times, it is encouraging to see that a group of bipartisan leaders can still come together in the service of children,” added Governor Tom Kean.


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:


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