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EPFP Launches Three New Sites for 2015-16 Cohort

Wednesday, October 7, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Shaina Cook
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CONTACT:    Shaina Cook, National EPFP Office

              , 202-822-8405 x135 


EPFP Launches Three New Sites for 2015-16 Cohort 

National Education Fellowship Welcomes Sites in Alabama, Louisiana, and North Carolina 

WASHINGTON—October 7, 2015—The Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP), a national program that develops a diverse and collaborative community of strategic leaders for effective public policy, is pleased to welcome three new sites for the 2015-16 cohort year.

The new sites—Alabama, Louisiana, and North Carolina-West—represent the continued growth of EPFP, which now has 17 sites across the country. This year, more than 320 Fellows are participating in the program—the largest cohort in EPFP’s 52-year history. The program’s alumni network continues to grow as well and includes 8,500 alumni across all 50 states.

“The Institute for Educational Leadership and the National EPFP office are pleased to welcome three new sites to our growing partnership across the country,” remarks Dr. Helen Janc Malone, National EPFP Director. “The growth of EPFP both within and across the sites is indicative of the need for spaces where people across the education system and across sectors can come together and explore challenging education issues, develop their leadership capacities, and broaden their professional networks.”

Alabama EPFP

The Alabama site (AL EPFP), which is based in Tuscaloosa, is a joint effort between co-coordinators Dr. Stephen Katsinas and Tyson Elbert. Dr. Katsinas is Director of the Education Policy Center at the University of Alabama, which studies federal education funding, the relationship between school failure and inequalities, pedagogical and curricular reform and innovation, and community empowerment and democratic reform efforts. Elbert, a Mississippi EPFP (MS EPFP) alum, is currently the coordinator of the MS EPFP site and a Research Associate at the John C. Stennis Institute of Government at Mississippi State University. The Stennis Institute integrates research, service, and teaching activities to improve government in Mississippi, and also serves as the sponsoring organization for MS EPFP. Like the MS EPFP site, AL EPFP will focus its efforts on serving community college leaders throughout Alabama.

“We are truly excited to be the 18th state participating in the Education Policy Fellows Program,” said Katsinas. “EPFP provides an unparalleled opportunity for advocacy, leadership, and networking to our Alabama participants. The Education Policy Center in the College of Education at The University of Alabama is pleased to partner again with the Stennis Institute of Government at Mississippi State University, and Institute of Education Leadership to deliver this outstanding program.”

Co-coordinator Elbert added, “We’ve had great success with EPFP in Mississippi, now having three community college presidents and a system leader among our alumni. We hope that the same results will soon be seen in Alabama and we are excited about this partnership with The University of Alabama.”

Louisiana EPFP

Led by coordinators Zakenya Perry Neely and Deirdre Johnson Burel, the Louisiana site (LA EPFP) is based in New Orleans and sponsored by the Orleans Public Education Network (OPEN). OPEN works with students, families, and others to build an informed, empowered community to drive equitable access to quality public education in New Orleans. LA EPFP will serve high-potential professionals from across the state to prepare them for positions of leadership in education and related fields. The LA EPFP cohort represents a diverse community of leaders from various sectors engaged in education and includes religious leaders, college and university instructors, and community engagement professionals.

"On behalf of the Orleans Public Education Network's Board of Directors and the LA Education Policy Fellowship Advisory Board, we are thrilled to bring EPFP to Louisiana,” said Deirdre Johnson Burel, OPEN’s Executive Director. “Now more than ever, our state needs strategically-aligned cross-sector leadership. Louisiana’s inaugural EPFP cohort represents the education, healthcare, higher academics, faith and social justice communities. Through their diverse backgrounds, skillsets and lived experiences, they are exactly the diverse group of leaders our state needs to examine and address the critical issues facing education in our state, and support sustained policy approaches. Our thanks to IEL for providing the ideal framework for our Fellows to develop into the leaders of tomorrow, both individually and as a network.”

North Carolina-West EPFP

North Carolina-West (NC-W EPFP), based in Boone, joins the Raleigh-based North Carolina-Central (NC-C EPFP) site to serve more education leaders throughout the state. NC-W EPFP is made possible through a U.S. Department of Education GEAR UP grant awarded to Appalachian State University. The site will focus on serving educators and leaders in 11 counties in Western North Carolina, many of which are rural, and will participate in joint activities with NC-C EPFP, such as visits to the state capitol and leadership retreats. Jennifer Wilson-Kearse, Executive Director of the North Carolina Appalachian Collaborative for Higher Education (NCACHE) at Appalachian State University, will serve as the inaugural coordinator for NC-W EPFP.

“We are very excited to kick-off the 2015-2016 year with our first NC-W EPFP cohort,” said Wilson-Kearse. “Education professionals in Western North Carolina are eager to participate in such a high quality, national leadership program. This opportunity enables educators to 'experience' education policy both in North Carolina and Washington, DC.”

“The Fellows are poised to make significant contributions to their states and the education field,” notes Malone. “We look forward to meeting all our Fellows in April at the 52nd Washington Policy Seminar!”

About EPFP

EPFP combines regular meetings and activities specific to each state-based site program with events of national scope to provide an enriching experience for participating Fellows. The national cohort is a diverse group of leaders which includes educators and school leaders, district administrators, higher education faculty and leaders, nonprofit professionals, government officials, and leaders from complementary sectors such as health and human services, business, and social services. Diversity across the national cohort and within sites brings unique perspectives to discussions among Fellows that enrich their experience in the program.

EPFP focuses on three pillars—policy, leadership, and networking—and throughout the 10-month Fellowship, participants build their skills and knowledge in each of these areas. In addition, several sites participate in regional leadership forums in the fall, and all Fellows come to Washington, DC, in April for the Washington Policy Seminar, EPFP's national capstone conference.

Launched in 1964, EPFP is a program of the Institute for Educational Leadership, based in Washington, D.C. Learn more about EPFP at and connect with the program on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn


The Education Policy Fellowship Program’s mission is to develop a diverse and collaborative community of strategic leaders for effective public policy.

The Institute for Educational Leadership’s mission is to equip leaders to better prepare children and youth for college, careers, and citizenship.

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