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MI EPFP Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Friday, June 19, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Shaina Cook
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Michigan Celebrates 40 Years of EPFP


June 10th was a momentous day for IEL’s Education Policy Fellowship Program – our Michigan site celebrated its 40th anniversary! In honor of this milestone, both the Michigan House of Representatives and Senate recognized the program’s history and the positive impact it has had on the state through special tributes.

Michigan EPFP was launched in 1975 as an opportunity to develop cross-boundary leaders for equity and opportunity. The program was founded by Carl Candoli, Lansing School District Superintendent, and Matthew Prophet, Candoli’s Deputy Superintendent and successor. Since 1975, Michigan EPFP has served 1,006 Fellows from across 225 sponsoring organizations: 473 from a wide range of state agencies; 176 from public and private schools and districts; 122 from independent school districts; 87 from college and universities; 69 from museums and non-profits; and 49 from associations, corporations, and policy centers. The Fellows represent a diverse group of leaders from across the education system and complementary sectors who are making a difference for children, youth, and families in Michigan. Today, the program is based at the Education Policy Center at Michigan State University under the leadership of Dan Schultz, Senior Program and Policy Advisor, and co-coordinator Brian Boggs, Outreach Specialist, both with the Office of K-12 Outreach at the MSU College of Education.

The power and longevity of the Michigan EPFP program is greatly attributed to the vision and leadership of its lead coordinator, Dan Schultz, who has for over 35 years helped make the program into the most recognizable and prestigious fellowship in the state.


The commitment and dedication of the current and past Michigan EPFP Coordinators was recognized at the 40th anniversary celebration. Over 100 alumni and friends representing 26 out of 40 fellowship years came together for this joyous reunion. In fact, there were three family teams of EPFP alumni in attendance: a father-son pair, Walker Beverly IV (1984-85) and Bryan Beverly (2013-14); a mother-daughter pair, Ruth Ann Hodges (2004-05) and Mary Head (2011-12); and a spousal pair, Chris Wigent (1998-99) and Catherine Wigent (2014-15).

The impact of Michigan EPFP was illuminated through a retrospective panel of alumni who shared their program experiences. The panel featured Michael Boulus (EPFP 76-77), Executive Director, Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan; Rossi Ray-Taylor (EPFP 79-80), President and CEO, Ray Taylor and Associates; Yvonne Caamal Canul (EPFP 90-91), Superintendent, Lansing School District, and former MI EPFP Coordinator (2004-06); Jacquelyn Thompson (EPFP 92-93), Principal, QueSe Consulting, LLC, and former MI EPFP coordinator (2000-10); Chris Wigent (EPFP 98-99), Executive Director, Michigan Association of School Administrators; and Kyle Guerrant (EPFP 07-08), Deputy Superintendent, Michigan Department of Education.

 MI EPFP alumni speak in a panel moderated by coordinator Dan Schultz

The panelists spoke of the transformational and lasting impact EPFP has had on their own professional and personal growth by introducing them to individuals and organizations that they would not have had access to otherwise, empowering and inspiring professional pathways, and broadening and enriching perspectives. Several panelists have gone on to sponsor dozens of Michigan Fellows over the years because they found the program to be essential to both their professional and organizational growth. As one panelist noted, “EPFP is a critical pathway for continuous learning in post-graduate work.” EPFP panelists also noted that the experience taught them the power of networks and networking and the importance of creating lasting relationships and partnerships. As one panelists concluded, “Relationships travel and have stood the test of time.”

The alumni panel’s comments affirm our research about EPFP—a clear focus on policy, leadership, and networking; a safe space and time to learn; a commitment and value to cross-disciplinary content and experience; and strong institutional support. As the EPFP study Preparing Cross-Boundary Leaders concluded, “Achieving almost any public sector goal requires leaders who can work effectively across boundaries to address and resolve public problems. Leadership development programs that help participants develop a broad understanding of public policy are an effective tool for developing such leaders. The programs in the EPFP study are designed to increase participants’ on-the-job performance, enhance their careers, and develop participants’ capacity for policy leadership. They also have important work-related benefits, both in the short run and over a participant’s career.”

The 40th anniversary also included congratulatory remarks from Donald Heller, Dean of MSU’s College of Education; William Schmidt, University Distinguished Professor and Co-Director of the MSU Education Policy Center, a long-time policy resource for the MI EPFP; and Helen Janc Malone, National EPFP Director.