State Leaders Begin Bipartisan Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows Program in Education Policy

December 10, 2019

Washington, D.C.– As the 2020 Election ramps up, education is once again recapturing the spotlight at the national and state level. Debates on teacher pay, college access and affordability and school choice continue to dominate headlines. While it is easy for discussions on education to quickly become partisan, there is another way.

Instead of focusing on this division, The Hunt Institute’s Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows program leaves politics aside for a nine-month immersion program that examines state-level education policy. Joining a network of 90 Fellows over five cohorts is 23 high-ranking state leaders who will begin the program Dec. 11-13 in the nation’s capital.

During their time together in D.C., Cohort 6 Fellows will examine the importance of K-12 standards and assessments, school funding, early learning, school choice, and effective teachers and school leaders along with some of the nation’s leading experts in education, policy and politics. Fellows will also participate in a local school visit to Thurgood Marshall Academy.

The 2019-20 Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows includes:

  • Delegate Lashrecse Aird (D-VA)
  • State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler (R-ND)
  • State Sen. Deanna Ballard (R-NC)
  • State Superintendent Jillian Balow (R-WY)
  • Gov. Mandela Barnes (D-WI)
  • State Sen. Regina Barrow (D-LA)
  • Gov. Susan Bysiewicz (D-CT)
  • Gov. Geoff Duncan (R-GA)
  • Board of Regents Fred DuVal (D-AZ)
  • Gov. Pamela Evette (R-SC)
  • State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick (R-MO)
  • Gov. Mike Foley (R-NE)
  • Gov. Garlin Gilchrist (D-MI)
  • Attorney General Gurbir Grewal (D-NJ)
  • State Rep. Ken King (R-TX)
  • State Sen. Dave Lent (R-ID)
  • State Treasurer Fiona Ma (D-CA)
  • Gov. Howie Morales (D-NM)
  • Gov. Matt Pinnell (R-OK)
  • State Sen. Patricia Rucker (R-WV)
  • Gov. Juliana Stratton (D-IL)
  • State Senator Billie Sutton (D-SD)
  • State Sen. Max Wise (R-KY)

“Education is the catalyst for success that has the ability to expose us to new thoughts, new ideas, and new opportunities,” said Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist. “I’m excited to follow in Governor Whitmer’s footsteps as a Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellow as we deepen our investment in education in Michigan. It has never been more important than it is right now to continue to create opportunity for every child – no matter what side of the aisle you stand in.”

Each session brings together some of the top education policy and research leaders. During the program, Fellows will hear from:

  • Jeremy Anderson, President, Education Commission of the States
  • Justin Barra, Director, Education, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
  • Kenya Bradshaw, Vice President, Community Engagement and Policy, TNTP
  • Andy Cole, Education Consultant, The Wallace Foundation, Board Member, The Hunt Institute
  • Rick Cruz, Chair, DC Public Charter School Board
  • Denise Forte, Senior Vice President for Partnership and Engagement, The Education Trust
  • Jackie Gran, Chief Policy & Evaluation Officer, New Leaders
  • Heather Harding, Director of Policy and Public Understanding for Education, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation 
  • Dr. Myra Jones-Taylor, Chief Policy Officer, Zero To Three
  • Lizzette Gonzales Reynolds, Vice President of Policy, ExcelinEd
  • Dr. Junlei Li, Saul Zaentz Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Michael Petrilli, President, Thomas B. Fordham Institute
  • Nina Rees, President & CEO, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
  • Pedro Rivera, Secretary of Education, Pennsylvania
  • Jeana Ross, Secretary, Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education
  • Dr. Marguerite Roza, Director, Edunomics Lab at Georgetown University
  • Elliot Steinberg, Director, Saul Zaentz Charitable Foundation
  • Dr. Margie Vandeven, Commissioner of Education, Missouri

“I’m looking forward to exploring our complex education system with nationally recognized experts and bringing these insights back to North Carolina,” said Sen. Deanna Ballard. “We have much work to do in our state and I’m eager to get started.”

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. The governors joining the Fellows during the program include Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ); Gov. Jim Douglas (R-VT); Gov. James B. Hunt, Jr. (D-NC); Gov. Tom Kean (R-NJ); Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-MD); and Gov. Bob Wise (D-WV).

For the first time, many Fellows will be accompanied by a staff member, including policy advisors and chiefs of staff, further extending Fellows’ education capacity.  

“Launching the next group of Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows is always motivating as we welcome a new group of influential state leaders who are determined to challenge the status quo in education,” said The Hunt Institute’s President & CEO Dr. Javaid Siddiqi. 

Counted among Fellow Alumni are Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon, Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa, Gov. Brad Little of Idaho, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Gov.-Elect Tate Reeves of Mississippi and U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada. Four Fellows are currently running for governor – Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox (UT-Cohort 1), Attorney General Tim Fox (MT-Cohort 5), Attorney General Mark Herring (VA-Cohort 1) and Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin (AK-Cohort 3).

“We are looking forward to working with our sixth cohort of Fellows – a group of leaders who share the goal of improving education through thoughtful policy,” said the program’s co-founder, Gov. Hunt. “If we expect our education systems to improve, we must be strategic and bold in our actions,” shared co-founder, Gov. Kean.

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