Education Policy Fellowship Program

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Education Policy Fellowship Program

While in Washington DC last April for the annual Institute for Educational Leadership’s National Policy Seminar, the Georgia Fellows were able to visit the offices of Senator Johnny Isakson and Congressman John Lewis.  Here, Congressman Lewis spends a few moments with his visitors before returning to the House chamber for an important vote.

The Class of 2017 has been announced.  See the left side of this page.

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?

Here are two recent graduates - Brian Pauling and Mike Carnathan - who talk about the value and impact of the program both professionally and personally.

Here's more from 2015 Fellows Pat Falotico, Robert Gaines, Amy Foust and Angela Hurtado. They 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. Learn more from the 2014 Fellows!

The Class of 2016

Graduates (Graduation May 19)

Cohort 8:
Colloquium 7 - May 12

The remainder of the Fellows presented their end-of-class projects.  Topics included Teacher Retention; City Schools; Early Care and After School Access; Access to Quality Early Learning; School Board Effectiveness; and How a Bill Becomes Law.

Traditionally, the final class session features representatives from the Alliance of Education Agency Heads who provide insight in how various state education agencies coordinate their work for the overall good.  This year, Jennifer Rippner, AEAH coordinator, and Martha Ann Todd, executive director, Governor's Office of Student Achievement (GOSA), addressed the Fellows.

Colloquium 6 - April 21

This Colloquium might be the beginning of the end, as in graduation day.  Two groups of Fellows presented their end-of-year projects to classmates. Group 1 followed with a look at school nutrition with an interesting look at from "Farm to Table."  Group 2 followed with an equally interesting presentation on "Finish in 4," achieving the dream of college completion on schedule.  One more colloquium followed by graduation day in May will close the Class of 2016.

The afternoon session featured a panel discussion: "Moving Forward: Education and Workforce Readiness."  Participants included Barbara Wall, Director, Career, Technical and Agricultural Education, Georgia Dept. of Education; Ben Hames, Deputy Commissioner, Workforce, Georgia Department of Economic Development; and Robert Todd, Office of Educational Access & Success, University System of Georgia. 

National Washington Policy Seminar - April 12 - 15

This annual four-day excursion to the national's capital gave the Fellows an opportunity to see the bigger picture when it comes education policy and how Georgia fits in. Several meetings and presentations, combined with exciting opportunities to meet with Senator Johnny Isakson and Congressmen John Lewis and Rick Allen, made the trip an invaluable experience.

Colloquium 5 - March 17

Field Trip!  The Fellows spent the day at Drew Charter School - East Lake YMCA as they took a look at "High Performing & Effective Schools: What Do They Look Like? How Do We Create Them?"  The morning session featured presentations and a panel discussion on "Turning Around the Lowest Performing Schools In Georgia."  A specific look at Drew Charter and Purpose Built Communities followed in the afternoon.  The Fellows were treated to a tour of the Drew Campus after the last presentation.

Speakers included:  (Morning) Dr. Will Rumbaugh, Director, Division of School and District Effectiveness, GA DOE; Joann Hooper, Division Program Manager, GA DOE; Phillip Luck, North Area Program Manager, GA DOE; Sam Taylor, Metro Area Program Manager; and Patty Rooks, South Area Program Manager, GA DOE. (Afternoon) Cynthia Kuhlman, Director of Educational Achievement, CF Foundation and Aliya Bhatia, Special Projects Manager, Purpose Built Schools.

Colloquium 4 - February 18

This is always a popular meeting.  Dr. Beheruz N. Sethna, President Emeritus, University of West Georgia, presented his "Preparing our Students for a 'Flattening' World" briefing that is an eye opener.  Where do U.S. students stand in relation to their international counterparts?  How does our society today value education?  What does it mean for the future?  Lively debate always accompanies Dr. Sethna's briefings.

The Fellows rounded out their day by meeting in their project groups and viewing and discussing the film "2 Million Minutes," a documentary "calculating the educational divide."

Colloquium 3 - January 21, 2016

The first meeting of the new year brought the Fellows back to their normal meeting room at the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.  The gathering today concentrated on "Critical Linkages to Education:  The Connections and Intersections of Policy Sectors."

Guest speakers included:

Ashley Rivera, Principal Planner, Atlanta Regional Commission - Neighborhood Planning: How Housing Policy Influences Child Outcomes

Rob Rhodes, Director of Projects, Georgia Appleseed, Center for Law and Justice - Effective Student Discipline: Keeping Kids in Class

Dr. Seema Csukas, Medical Director, Maternal and Child Programs - Health Care Policy in Georgia:  The Intersection of Health and Student Readiness

The Fellows also shared their thoughts after attending the formal Education Reform Commission's presentation of the Commission's recommendations to Governor Deal in December.

Colloquium 2 - November 19

The November meeting was held at the Department of Education's headquarters so the Fellows could attend Gov. Deal's Education Reform Commission meeting in the afternoon.  This second session of the year concentrated on "School Funding and Finance: Following the Money Stream" and "Toward a Better Understanding of Policymaking."  Guest speakers included Dr. Carolyn Bordeaux, Associate Professor, Director - Center for State and Local Finance, Georgia State University, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies; Claire Suggs, Senior Education Policy Analyst, Georgia Budget and Policy Institute; Stacey Abrams, Georgia House of Representatives Minority Leader; and Margaret Ciccarelli, Director of Legislative Affairs, Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE).

Colloquium 1 - October 15

The Fellows gathered for their first colloquium of their year in the Georgia Chamber of Commerce Board room.  First speaker was Mike Alexander, Atlanta Regional Commission, who presented "The Impact of Changing Demographics on Georgia's Education System."  The afternoon session featured Ms. Tomeka Hart, Vice-President of Programs, Southern Education Foundation, who presented "A New Majority - Impacts in the South and Across the Nation."  Before wrapping up for the day, the Fellows discussed "The Five Georgias:  What Policymakers Need to Know."

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 2017-2018 cohort will be held May 2017. 

For More Information

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

The Class of 2015 - Graduation Day (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."