|North Carolina Coordinators|
Joe is a nationally recognized expert in education innovation, including personalized learning models and emerging technologies in education. Before joining the Public School Forum, Joe spent nearly five years at Public Impact, a leading national education policy and management organization based in Chapel Hill, NC. He led project teams focused on a variety of education issues, including empowering teachers and school leaders through job redesign and strategic uses of technology, charter school quality and accountability, teacher and leader policy, education entrepreneurship, philanthropy in education, and school turnarounds.
Before joining Public Impact, Joe taught high school English with the Fulbright Program in Korea and started a family resource center at an underperforming elementary school as an AmeriCorps VISTA member with Communities In Schools of Durham. He received his B.A. with highest honors from Duke University, his master’s degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and his law degree with honors from Harvard Law School.
Joe has served as a strategic advisor to schools, philanthropic foundations, government agencies, and education-focused nonprofit organizations. He has authored or co-authored numerous detailed reports, policy briefs, white papers, case studies, and other publications at the intersection of policymaking and practice.
Jennifer Wilson-Kearse (EPFP 10-11)
Lauren Bock brings a plethora of policy, research, and communications experience to the Public School Forum. Lauren received her B.A. with honors from Wake Forest University and her master’s degree in public administration from North Carolina State University. After graduating from Wake Forest University, Lauren worked in Washington, D.C. for several years. During this time she served as Government Affairs Associate with Varian Medical Systems, Inc., and worked on the Government Investigations team at the law firm of King & Spalding LLP. After returning to North Carolina for graduate school, Lauren interned with the Financial & Business Services Division at NC DPI and served as Research Coordinator at the Wake Education Partnership. Lauren is a 2014 graduate of the NC Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP) and is an active volunteer with the Junior League of Raleigh and Boys & Girls Clubs of Wake County.
James Ford (EPFP 14-15)
Prior to joining the Forum in 2015, James E. Ford served as the 2014-15 North Carolina Teacher of the Year. Ford taught World History & Sociology at Garinger High School in Charlotte, NC starting in 2010. He began his teaching career in Rockford Public Schools in Rockford, Illinois. Ford earned a bachelor of science in mass communication from Illinois State University in 2003 and a master’s degree in teaching from Rockford University in 2009. Ford recently completed his certification in educational leadership from Wingate University.
Before deciding to become a teacher, Ford’s early career cemented his connection to children and youth. He worked as a truancy intervention specialist in high schools and director of a teen center that provided educational and after-school activities for youth at risk of dropping out of school. He considers his work to be his “life-calling” and has dedicated himself to serving his community through education. Ford is a husband, father, educator, activist, minister and musical artist. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. In addition to 2014-15 North Carolina Teacher of the Year, Ford was recognized as Charlotte Magazine’s Charlottean of the Year, and the National Alliance of Black School Educators’ Teacher of the Year.