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Home Page Photo Captions:  We Open Dialogue...  The final EPFP colloquium was held May 14 and featured Dr. Charles Knapp (left), Senator Fran Millar, and Dr. Bonnie Holiday in a discussion about the Governor's Education Reform Commission on which they all serve.  Knapp chairs the Commission.  We Build Capacity... The Class of 2016 was recently welcomed with a reception at Georgia Pacific. Ann Cramer, a Coxe Curry and Associates executive and a former Georgia Partnership Board Chair, provided opening remarks encouraging the Fellows to learn all they can and take that knowledge to work for the betterment of the state's public education system. Course director, Dr. Dana Rickman, looks on. 

Welcome to the Class of 2016!  

Twenty-two new Fellows have been named to Cohort #8 (2008-2016):

Tim Cairl - Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce

Michael 'Mike' Carnathan - Atlanta Regional Commission

Ellyn Cochran - Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students (GEEARS)

Elizabeth 'Liz' Davis - Woodruff Arts Center - Arts for Learning

Asenith Dixon - College Board

Shayna Gaspard - The SEG Group

Danielle K.C. Gray - R. Howard Dobbs, Jr. Foundation

Bridgett Johnson - Georgia School Boards Association

Jessica Johnson - The Scholarship Academy, Inc.

Katie Landes - Voices for Georgia's Children

Cynthia  Y. Lester - Georgia Perimeter College

Danielle LeSure - Leadership for Educational Equity

Akia D. Lewis - Georgia Family Connection Partnership

Claire Miller - Oconee County Schools

Kristina A. Morris - The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

Sherilyn Narker - Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

James Osanyinbi - Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement (GLISI)

Brian L. Pauling - 100 Black Men of America, Inc.

Yarbrah Peeples - Georgia College Advising Corps, University of Georgia

M. Catherine 'Cathy' Ramos - The Coca-Cola Company (Ret.)

Niambi Sampson - Junior Achievement of Georgia, Inc.

Nicole Tuttle - Drew Charter School

Former Fellow Alicia Thomas Morgan has been named executive director of Ivy Preparatory Academies, Georgia's first single-gender charter schools network.  She will no doubt use all she learned during her EPFP class.  Good luck, Alicia, we are proud of you.

Congratulations to 2015 Fellow Tracey-Ann Nelson who is leaving Atlanta to become the new director of the Arkansas Educators Association.  She previously served as the Director, Government Relations and Communications, Georgia Association of Educators.  Good luck, Tracey-Ann!

Program Funders

The Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education is grateful for the funding support of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company and Wells Fargo.

What is EPFP?

The Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP) is a national professional development program sponsored by the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) that provides potential leaders with the knowledge and networks to advance the core issues of education policy. Each participating state has autonomy over its program.

It is an initiative of the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education and is co-sponsored by the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University and the Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach at the University of Georgia. The program connects potential educational leaders with one another to build the capacity for our state to raise the bar for student learning and achievement.

The program addresses the need for an education leadership development program in the state to provide potential leaders with the knowledge and networks to advance the core issues of education policy. It serves as a critical resource for individuals, organizations and the state to increase the knowledge about education policy and linkages between policy and practice. Ultimately EPEP seeks to improve the chances of children and youth to succeed.

What is the value of the program?

Let these Fellows tell you themselves!


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Education Policy Fellowship Pgm

New Fellow Liz Davis, Manager of Education Services for the Woodruff Arts Center, accepts her first homework assignment with a smile upon leaving the welcome reception that officially opened the Class of 2016.

The Class of 2015

Fellows Pat Falotico, Robert Gaines, Amy Foust and Angela Hurtado explain in this short video the impact they feel the program makes, why they chose to participate and why others with an interest in education policy in Georgia should  apply.

Graduation (May 21)


The 20 graduates, family members and colleagues gathered at the Metropolitan Atlanta Chamber of Commerce Thursday, May 21 for the event that honored the Fellows' nine-month study program.


Guest speaker was Shan Cooper, Vice President and General Manager, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co.  She challenged the graduates to use their new-found expertise for the betterment of Georgia's education system.  She said the children of our state are counting on them.  (See the left side of the page for a complete list of graduates.)


Fellow Amy Fouse, Houston County ELA III Coordinator and President of the Georgia Association of Curriculum and Instructional Supervisors, was selected by her classmates to deliver remarks about the program and Class of 2015. She told the grads, "What you think you can't change, you just can't change - yet.  Change your perspective by continuing to lead and connect with those around you who may not seem so similar to you.


"Learn to listen and seek commonalities, learn the nuance art of compromise, learn to allow your opinions to evolve as you take into consideration the perspective of others, learn to shift the focus to the students in Georgia, our most priceless natural resource.  You are the one who can change the conversation about policies that shape public education in Georgia. 


"As Mahatma Gandhi said, 'Be the change you wish to see in the world.'  Students in Georgia deserve and will benefit from your advocacy."


Group Projects


At the end of the year, the Fellows are required to present their education policy research projects.  Usually working in groups and using much of the expertise gained during the year, the presentations are quite impressive.  Here are the 2015 project titles:

  • The Impact of the Georgia State Univ./Georgia Perimeter College Merger Will Have on Undocumented Students
  • Changing the Conversation Around Third-grade Reading
  • Establishing a Public School Tax Credit Fund for Students in Foster Care, Students Experiencing Homelessness and Students Living in Extreme Poverty in Georgia
  • Community Development Patterns and Implications for Poverty and School Outcomes
  • Charter Schools in Georgia - Who Do They Serve? Schools Versus Systems? Implications for the Most Vulnerable Students?
  • Opting-out of State Assessments
  • What Factors Within the School System Culture and School Climate Have the Greatest Impact on Principal Success?
  • The Impact of Family and Community Engagement in Education
  • The Impact of State Legislative Decisions on Student Success


Colloquium 7 - final (May 14)


The remainder of the group projects were presented before lunch.  An interesting discussion about the Governor's newly formed Education Reform Commission followed.  Panelists included Dr. Charles Knapp, Commission Chair and Funding Subcommittee; Dr. Bonnie Holiday, Executive Director, Georgia Charter School Commission; and Senator Fran Millar, Chairman, Senate Higher Education Committee, Georgia General Assembly.


Colloquium 6 (April 9)


The first half of the day was spent hearing from four groups that presented their end-of-class research projects. 

  • The Impact the GSU/GPC merger will have on undocumented students
  • Changing the conversation around third grade reading
  • Establishing a Public School Tax Credit Fund for students in foster care, students experiencing homelessness, and students living in extreme poverty in Georgia
  • Community development patterns and implications for poverty and school outcomes

The afternoon session focused on "Moving Forward:  Higher Education and Workforce Readiness," a presentation and conversation about the opportunities and challenges in Georgia's public postsecondary education system. 


Guest speakers included Brandee Tate, Office of Educational Access and Success, University System of Georgia, Joe Dan Banker, Executive Director, Academic Affairs, Technical College System of Georgia, and Jeffrey T. Ledford, Director of State Initiatives, Workforce Division, Georgia Department of Economic Development.


Colloquium 5 (March 12)


The Fellows gathered at KIPP STRIVE Primary School to look into the subject of High-Performing and Effective Schools: What Do They Look Like? How Do We Create Them?

Speakers included Dr. Will Rumbaugh, Dr. Patty Rooks, Dr. Paulette Richmond and Dr. Joanne Harper, all from the Georgia Department of Education. Dr. Tommy Welch, Principal, Meadowcreek High School, Gwinnett County Schools, added to the discussion.


The Fellows were treated to a school tour and then heard from Mini'imah Shaheed, Founding Principal, KIPP STRIVE Primary, and closed the day with a KIPP STRIVE Teacher/Leader Panel.

Colloquium 4 (February 12)

Dr. Beheruz N. Sethna, President Emeritus, University of West Georgia, has been taking time from his busy schedule since the beginning of EPFP to share his insights with the Fellows on Education in a Flattening World:  International Comparisons of Teaching and Learning.


Dr. Sethna's enthusiastic presentation is always one of the highlights of the program.  The Fellows asked many questions and engaged in informative conversation with the distinguished educator.


Class members also spent time working on group projects then ended the day viewing and discussing the film 2 Million Minutes as well as Tony Wagner's book, The Global Achievement Gap.


Colloquium 3 (January 15)

This meeting focused on "Critical Linkages to Education:  The Connections and Intersections of Policy Sectors."


Georgia Budget and Policy Institute speakers Claire Suggs and Wes Tharpe began the day with a presentation and discussion on "Tax Policy and Education Funding."  Evan Smith and Christina Perry from Purpose Built Communities followed with "Housing Stability: How Housing Policy Influences Child Outcomes."


The afternoon session had two presentations beginning with Rob Rhodes, Director of Projects, Georgia Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, who focused on "Reforming the Juvenile Justice System to Improve Children's Lives."  The day ended with Susan Bertonaschi's presentation and discussion on "The Health and Well-being of Georgia's Children: Increasing Access to Health Care and Improving School Readiness."  Bertonaschi is the Director of Health Promotion, United Way of Greater Atlanta.

Colloquium 2 (November 13, 2014)


Guest speakers throughout the day provided a look at "School Funding and Finance: Following the Money Stream" and "Georgia's Vision for Public Education."


Starting off the colloquium was Dr. Carolyn Bourdeaux, Associate Professor, Associate Director - Fiscal Research Center, Georgia State University Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, who provided "The Big Picture of Georgia's Public Budget."


Mr. Doug Eza, Chief Financial Officer (retired) Oconee County Schools, closed the morning session with "QBE from A to Z: Public School Funding 101."  Dr. Susan Andrews, Deputy Superintendent, Race to the Top Implementation, Georgia Department of Education, and Ms. Clara Keith, Associate Superintendent, Race to the Top Implementation, DOE, provided an inside look at "Race to the Top: Georgia's Education Reform Strategy."

Colloquium 1 (October 16)


The class members gathered for their first formal meeting of the year, "The Demographic Landscape of Georgia."  Leading off the discussion was Mike Carnathan, Atlanta Regional Commission, who provided a wealth of information on just how changing demographics is impacting our public education system.


The afternoon session featured Georgia House of Representatives Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, and Lauren Fralick, GeorgiaLink Public Affairs Group.  Both speakers provided unique insight "Toward a Better Understanding of the Policymaking Process in Georgia."  Closing out the day was a spirited discussion among the Fellows that underlined many of the key presentation points.


Check the Georgia Partnership's Facebook page for photos.


The Class of 2014 

Graduation Underlines Value of Program. Congratulations!

Where did the 9+ months go? That question was asked by the 21 Fellows who formally closed their 2014 EPFP class with a festive graduation ceremony held at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce May 21.

Guest speaker Ann Cramer, a Georgia Partnership former Board chair, joined Partnership President Steve Dolinger and program director Dana Rickman, in praising both the program that continuously increases the education policy expertise in Georgia and the Fellows who enthusiastically and energetically participated in the program.

The class selected Brinkley Serkedakis to provide reflections.  Using the theme "The Power of the Collective" to describe the expertise gained over the year, Brinkley left her classmates with a suggestion, "Now, it's up to us to go harness the power of the collective here in Georgia - and just maybe change our state for the better while we're at it."  Read her presentation here.

Check the Georgia Partnership's Facebook page for graduation event photos.

More About EPFP

The participants in the program,

  • Georgia State Legislature
  • Georgia Department of Education
  • State and local leadership programs
  • Businesses and corporations
  • Education organizations
  • Foundations
  • Non-profit sector
  • Local school districts
  • Media

What are the Requirements?

The Fellows commit nine months and concentrate on three program strands: public policy, leadership, and professional networking. They remain in their full-time positions and use their work environment as the context for examining important leadership and policy issues in Georgia.

What are the Personal Benefits?

The program provides Fellows with a unique personal development laboratory for applying new insights and for cultivating new skills. The participants will hear and discuss education policy with the most respected policy makers in the state and nation. At the end of a year, EPFP Fellows will be better informed, more skillful advocates for sound public policy.

What are the Benefits to Georgia?

With the implementation of the EPFP, the Georgia Partnership, the Andrew Young School of Public Policy, and the Office of the President for Public Service and Outreach at the University of Georgia cultivate strategic leaders who have the capacity to advocate for and create sound public policy to improve public education. Ultimately, EPFP seeks to improve the chances of children and youth to succeed.

Application Process

The application process for the 2015-2016 class has closed. The next open period will be announced in the spring of 2016.

For More Information

Dr. Dana Rickman, Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education Policy and Research Director, 404-223-2462.

2014 Educational Policy Fellows, "A unique, great opportunity" Video