The Hunt Institute Announces Third Cohort of ElevateNC

August 16, 2022

ElevateNC: Higher Education Program Equips Participants to Drive Higher Education Policy Change 

Cary, NC. The Hunt Institute is pleased to announce the members of its third cohort of the ElevateNC: Higher Education program. Designed to enhance leadership capacity as well as provide a forum for the development of strategies that increase postsecondary attainment, The Institute has gathered prominent leaders from a variety of sectors including state policymakers, K-12 superintendents and teachers, higher education administrators and faculty, members of the business community, advocacy organizations, and local government representatives.  

ElevateNC: Higher Education is hosted in partnership with myFutureNC, who provides expertise on how cohort members can drive progress toward the statewide postsecondary attainment goal: to have two million North Carolinians achieve a degree in postsecondary by 2030.  

“ElevateNC offers higher education advocates the opportunity to learn from experts in the field and from one another. This initiative provides a forum to collectively share and innovate new ways of supporting students as they pursue short-term credentials and college degrees,” said Cecilia Holden, President & CEO of myFutureNC. “Having a network of dedicated community and state leaders is critical to reaching the state’s educational attainment goal of 2 million by 2030.” 

Over the next year, beginning in August, participants will meet for four sessions: 

  • August 29-30, 2022: Today’s Higher Education Landscape, Asheville, NC  
  • November 14-15, 2022: Access to Higher Education  
  • February 6-7, 2023: Supporting Postsecondary Student Success, Wilmington, NC  
  • May 8-9, 2023: Ensuring Postsecondary Completion and Attainment, Durham, NC   

Sessions will take place over two days and cover different topics and policy issues, as well as offer ways for leaders to move from learning to implementing in their home communities. During each meeting, participants will hear from leading practitioners, students, elected officials, and state and national resource experts. 

“I’m excited to welcome Cohort Three of ElevateNC and grateful to our partners at myFutureNC for their help in making this work happen,” said Dr. Javaid Siddiqi, president & CEO of The Hunt Institute. “This program is critical for leaders to collaborate and think creatively about preparing students to attain the credentials and degrees they need to be successful in today’s economy.”   

The 2022 ElevateNC: Higher Education cohort members are: 

  • Dr. Angela Alvarado Coleman, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, North Carolina Central University 
  • Senator Sydney Batch, State Senator, North Carolina General Assembly 
  • Nimasheena Burns, Commissioner, Durham County  
  • Senator Kevin Corbin, State Senator, North Carolina General Assembly 
  • Senator Sarah Crawford, State Senator, North Carolina General Assembly 
  • Dr. John D. Denning, Senior Advisor, John M. Belk Endowment 
  • Dr. Andrea DeSantis, Policy Advisor, Office of Governor Roy Cooper 
  • Abraham Dones, Vice President, Chief Student Services Officer, Durham Technical Community College 
  • Dr. Kim Evans, Program Coordinator, PEPSC, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction 
  • Jon Harris, Policy Director, Office of the Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson 
  • Representative Zack Hawkins, State Representative, North Carolina General Assembly 
  • Tai Huynh, Town Councilmember, Town of Chapel Hill 
  • Bruce A. Johnson, Dean of Mathematics & Sciences, Central Piedmont Community College 
  • Dr. Shonda Jones, Executive Director of Academic Programs, Wake Forest University 
  • Dr. Chris Marsicano, Assistant Professor of Educational Studies, Davidson College 
  • Dr. Ashley McMillan, American Indian Liaison to the Chancellor & Director, American Indian Heritage Center, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke 
  • Dr. Brian S. Merritt, President, McDowell Technical Community College 
  • Chris Rivera, Executive Director, GuilfordWorks 
  • Corinne Smith, Director of CAP Operations and GEAR UP, Appalachian State University 
  • Representative Raymond E. Smith, Jr., State Representative, North Carolina General Assembly 
  • Maureen Stover, High School Science Teacher, NC Virtual Public School 
  • Emily Thomas, Policy Analyst, EducationNC 
  • Representative David A. Willis, State Representative, North Carolina General Assembly 




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 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:

About myFutureNC

myFutureNC is a statewide nonprofit focused on educational attainment that includes some of North Carolina’s most influential education, business, and civic leaders. The organization was formed with the goal to create a stronger, more competitive North Carolina. myFutureNC is working across sectors and in communities throughout the state to close gaps in the education pathway, to promote alignment between educational programming and business/industry needs, and to ultimately improve educational opportunities for all North Carolinians. Join our efforts, stay in touch and help champion success for our state and all of its people. Visit

Share This