The Hunt Institute Announces Fourth Cohort of the North Carolina Hunt State Policy Fellows Program

May 13, 2024



Contact: Moriah Martin | (240) 272-3379

The Hunt Institute Announces Fourth Cohort of the North Carolina Hunt State Policy Fellows Program

Innovative Program Develops Education Expertise of Local Policymakers

Cary, N.C. – The Hunt Institute is pleased to announce the members of its fourth cohort of the North Carolina Hunt State Policy Fellows program. The program aims to provide a bipartisan group of future education policymakers and aspiring state and local elected officials in North Carolina with the resources, space, and expertise needed to develop thoughtful positions on a variety of education policy issues. To do so, The Institute has gathered leaders from across the state including county commissioners, school board members, mayors, and city councilors.

“The Hunt State Policy Fellows program provides local policymakers and community leaders with an introduction to current policy challenges and opportunities across the education continuum,” said Dr. Javaid Siddiqi, CEO & President of The Hunt Institute. “I’m looking forward to meeting our newest cohort and am excited to follow their journeys as policymakers in the years to come.”

From May through September, participants will meet for three sessions, with each focusing on a different sector of the education continuum – early childhood, K-12 and higher education. Each meeting will take place over two days and offer Fellows the opportunity to learn, engage in constructive dialogue, and build relationships with one another and with policy experts across the state. In so doing, Fellows will grow their capacity to advocate for North Carolina’s students.

“Each cohort of Hunt State Policy Fellows brings together a dynamic group of dedicated local leaders eager to delve into education policy,” continued Dr. Siddiqi. “I am enthusiastic about the impact this program will have on their future work and am eager to witness how it shapes their careers. This initiative seamlessly aligns with The Hunt Institute’s mission of collaborating with senior state officials across the country and cultivating education-focused policymakers within our state.”

The 2024 North Carolina Hunt State Policy Fellows cohort is:

  • Kathey Aldridge, Board Member, Avery County Schools
  • Karen Alexander, Mayor, City of Salisbury
  • Kevin Austin, County Commission Chair, Yadkin County
  • Carly Cooke, County Commissioner, Guilford County
  • George Dunlap, County Commissioner, Mecklenburg County
  • Melinda Fagundus, Board Member, Pitt County Schools
  • Sheila Franklin, Mayor Pro Tem, Town of Fletcher
  • Dontario Hardy, Mayor, City of Kinston
  • Brian Helms, County Commissioner, Union County
  • Chadwick Howard, County Commissioner, Craven County
  • Matt Hughes, Commissioner, Town of Hillsborough
  • Christina Jones, City Council Member, City of Raleigh
  • Terry Locklear, Board Member, Public Schools of Robeson County
  • Robert Queen, Board Chair, Cleveland County Schools
  • Steve Rao, City Council Member, Town of Morrisville
  • Rebecca Salmon, Mayor, City of Sanford
  • Emily Sharpe, Mayor, Town of Elon
  • Kyle Shipp, Mayor, Town of Pittsboro
  • George Sieburg, Board Chair, Asheville City Schools
  • Stephanie Walker, Board Member, New Hanover County Schools
  • T.J. Walker, City Council Member, City of Rocky Mount
  • Rob Walter, Board Member, Cabarrus County Schools
  • Dr. Malishai Woodbury, County Commissioner, Forsyth County


About The Hunt Institute

The Hunt Institute, an affiliate of the Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy, is a recognized leader in the movement to transform public education. Marshaling expertise from a nationwide partner network since its establishment 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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