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

August 11, 2021

Albuquerque, NM – The Hunt Institute is pleased to announce the convening of Cohorts 6 and 7 of the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows program on August 11-13 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The pandemic has shown a bright spotlight on education, and with federal funding at unprecedented levels, there is no better time for bipartisan state leaders to be gathering to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the education system.


As part of a network of 141 Fellows over seven cohorts, 37 high-ranking state leaders from Cohorts 6 and Cohort 7 will examine the teacher workforce, including preparation, diversity, evaluation, and compensation, as well as higher education access and completion. Sessions will engage Fellows in conversation with some of the nation’s leading experts in education, policy and politics.


“Convening each new cohort of Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows is a highlight of my work at The Hunt Institute,” said Institute President & CEO Dr. Javaid Siddiqi. “The pandemic’s impact on education has really heightened awareness and understanding of the stark challenges facing our education system, and I am hopeful that Fellows will come away from this experience with the requisite information they need to advocate for equitable change.”


Cohort 6 of the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows includes:

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


Cohort 7 of the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows includes:

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


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

  • Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond, President and CEO, Learning Policy Institute
  • Romy Drucker, Interim K-12 Education Program Director, Walton Family Foundation
  • Dr. Richard Ingersoll, Professor of Education and Sociology, University of Pennsylvania
  • Dr. Ryan Stewart, New Mexico Secretary of Education
  • Melody Schopp, Director of Education Industry Consulting, SAS
  • Dr. Tequilla Brownie, Executive Vice President, Strategy, Policy & Community Coalitions, TNTP
  • Dr. Cassandra Herring, President and CEO, Branch Alliance for Educator Diversity (BranchED)
  • Heather Harding, Senior Director, Education Grantmaking, Charles & Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies
  • The Honorable Bob Wise, CEO, Bob Wise, LLC; Coordinator – Global Science, Learning Education Network; Governor of West Virginia (2001-2005)
  • Dr. Leslie Fenwick, Dean Emerita and Professor of Education Policy, School of Education, Howard University
  • Keilani Goggins, Director of the Black Educators Initiative, National Center for Teacher Residencies
  • Senator Michael Lee, North Carolina
  • Brad Jupp, Senior Fellow, Aspen Institute
  • Dan Goldhaber, Director of the Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research, American Institutes for Research and Director of the Center for Education Data & Research, University of Washington
  • Laurie Sztejnberg, Director of Research and Senior Program Officer, Exceptional Educators, Overdeck Family Foundation
  • Scott Marion, Executive Director, The National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment
  • Peggy Brookins, President and CEO, National Board of Professional Teaching Standards
  • Jon Schnur, Chairman and CEO, America Achieves
  • Joel Vargas, Vice President, Programs, Jobs for the Future
  • Janet  Godwin, Chief Executive Officer, ACT
  • Wil Del Pilar, Vice President of Higher Education Policy and Practice, The Education Trust
  • Dr. Davis Jenkins, Senior Research Scholar, Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University
  • Nicole Washington, Principal, Washington Education Strategies LLC
  • The Honorable Dannel Malloy, Chancellor, University of Maine System and Governor of Connecticut (2011-2019)
  • Dr. Kim Hunter Reed, Louisiana Commissioner of Higher Education
  • Stefanie Sanford, Chief of Global Policy & External Relations, CollegeBoard
  • Dr. Michael Sorrell, President, Paul Quinn College
  • The Honorable Janet Napolitano, Former President of the University of California System and Governor of Arizona (2003-2009)
  • Chancellor James Milliken, Chancellor of the University of Texas System
  • Mushtaq Gunja, Vice President and Chief of Staff, American Council on Education
  • Tania LaViolet, Director, College Excellence Program, Aspen Institute
  • Oscar Sweeten-Lopez, President, College Success Tools, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation
  • M.C. Belk Pilon, President and Board Chair, John M. Belk Endowment
  • Dr. Dhanfu Elston, Chief of Staff and Senior Vice President of Strategy, Complete College America
  • Dr. Timothy Renick, Vice Provost and Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success, Georgia State University


“Bipartisan collaboration on behalf of our kids and families is always a priority, but never more so than now,” said Indiana Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch. “As we work to recover from the pandemic, I am excited for this opportunity to share and learn innovative approaches and strategies from this dynamic group of experts and Fellows.”


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 Governor Tom Kean (R-NJ), Governor Jim Douglas (R-VT), Governor Dannel Malloy (D-CT), Governor Susana Martinez (R-NM), Governor Janet Napolitano (D-AZ), and Governor Bob Wise (D-WV).


Many Fellows will be accompanied by a staff member, including policy advisors and chiefs of staff, further extending Fellows’ education capacity.


“Our latest cohorts of Fellows have unprecedented opportunity in the education space, and I look forward to working through issues with these leaders to improve education through thoughtful policy,” said the program’s co-founder, Governor Jim Hunt. “If we expect our education systems to recover and improve, we must be strategic and bold in our actions,” shared co-founder, Governor 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.

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



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