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Home Page Photo Caption: We Build Capacity... The Georgia Partnership recently celebrated the graduation of its latest EPFP cohort.  The next class is scheduled to begin in late August.  Congratulations to our latest Fellows! 

Congratulations to the Class of 2014-2015!

Twenty-one Fellows representing education, business, civic and government communities have been named for the program's sixth cohort.  Meet them now.

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.

Congratulations to the Class of 2013 - 2014!

Twenty-one Fellows began the sixth cohort in September.  The latest class has representatives from the education, business and civic communities.  Congratulations to all!

Meet the 2013 - 2014 class:

Lori Heemann Bodine - Managing Director, Great Promise Partnerships, GA Department of Community Affairs
Laura M. Bollman - Director of Planning and Implementation, CF Foundation
Whitney Luallen Butts - Communications and Policy Manager, Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students (GEEARS)
Pedro Cherry - Vice President, Community and Economic Development, Georgia Power
Lynita Darcilyn Jackson - Training and Support Coordinator, Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA)

Laura Ann James - Associate Vice President, Academic and Student Affairs Operations, Georgia Gwinnett College
Allison Konter - Teacher/Department Chair, Savannah-Chatham County Schools
Elise Langan - Assistant Professor, School of Education, Middle Georgia State College
Lindsey Luczynski - Director of Strategic Partnerships, Charles R. Drew Charter School
Ryan Mahoney - Vice President, Public Policy and the Center for Competitiveness, Georgia Chamber of Commerce

Courtney Montague - Director of Programs, Digital Learning Programs, Computers for Youth
Courtney Murray - Associate - District, School, Community Partnerships, Teach for America - Atlanta
Eric Parker - Principal, Shiloh High School, Gwinnett County Public Schools
Cyndee Phillips - Assistant Superintendent for Teaching, Learning, and Student Services, Franklin County School System
Valley J. Rogers - Associate Professor of Education, Bainbridge College

JaKathryn F. Ross - Executive Director, Youth Entrepreneurs Georgia, Georgia Pacific
Brinkley Serkedakis - Senior Campaign Manager, Coxe Curry & Associates
Mini'mah R. Shaheed - Principal KIPP STRIVE Primary School, KIPP Metro Atlanta
Sandra S. Stone - Vice President, Academic Affairs, Dalton State College
Sheneka M. William - Assistant Professor, Education Leadership, University of Georgia
Yvonne N. Whitaker - Foundation Administrator, NCR Corporation

Here is the press release announcing the new class.

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The Georgia Partnership’s Board Chair, Shan Cooper, Vice President and General Manager Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., greets the new Education Policy Fellowship Program participants and challenges them to be ready to put into practice all they learn this year because we all have a stake in our education system.

The Class of 2014 

Graduation Underlines Value of Program. Congratulations!

Where did the past 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.

Colloquium 7 (May 7)
Traditionally, the last colloquium of the year features guest speakers from the Alliance of Education Agency Heads to review "Where is Education in Georgia" from their perspectives.  Speakers this year included AEAH director, Amy Mast; Ron Jackson, Commissioner Technical College System of Georgia; Tracy Ireland, President, Georgia Student Finance Commission; and Kristin Bernhard, representing the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning.

The rest of the day was devoted to the presentation of several end-of-class presentations.  For a photo review of the day, visit the Partnership's Facebook page.

Colloquium 6 (April 16)
This next to last session focused on "Moving Forward: Higher Education and Workforce Readiness."

Guest speakers included Arianne Weldon, Director, Get Georgia Reading - Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Atlanta (Grade Level Reading: Foundation for Future Success) and three speakers who led a conversation about the opportunities and challenges in Georgia's public postsecondary education system: Dr. Josephine Reed-Taylor, Deputy Commissioner, Technical College System of Georgia; Brandee Tate, Office of Educational Access and Success, University System of Georgia; and Ben Hames, Deputy Commissioner, Workforce Division, Georgia Department of Economic Development.

An hour and a half was devoted to the presentation of group projects.

Colloquium 5 (March 19)
The Fellows met at KIPP STRIVE Academy for a day that focused on "High-Performing and Effective Schools: What Do They Look Like? How Do We Create Them?

The morning session featured a panel discussion led by Avis King, Deputy Superintendent for School Improvement, GA DOE, and Michelle Sandrock, Parent Engagement Program Manager, Outreach Programs Division, GA DOE.  Sandrock served as moderator for the panel that included Dr. Grant Rivera, Principal, West Lake H.S., Fulton County Schools, Jason Allen, Family Engagement Specialist, Atlanta Public Schools, and Capucine Pansy, 2013 Georgia Parent Leadership Award Winner and State School Superintendent's Parent Advisory Council Member, Douglas County Schools.

David Jernigan, Executive Director, KIPP Metro Atlanta, led the afternoon discussion: KIPP Metro Atlanta: How Does a Charter School Achieve Excellence?  Following that presentation, the Fellows were treated to a tour of KIPP STRIVE Primary School.

Colloquium 4 (February 19)
Group projects in the morning was followed by the screening of the film "2 Million Minutes."  The movie compares how high school students in India, China, and the U.S. are prepared for college

The afternoon session will feature University of West Georgia President Emeritus Dr. Beheruz N. Sethna - Preparing Our Students for a 'Flattening' World, followed by a question and answer session.

Colloquium 3 (January 15)
Critical Linkages to Education:  The Connections and Intersections of Policy Sectors
Claire Suggs - Georgia Budget and Policy Institute: Tax Policy and Economic Distress
Greg Giornelli - Purpose Built Communities: Housing Stability - How Housing Policy Influences Child Outcomes
Sharon M. Hill - Georgia Appleseed Center for Law and Justice: Reforming the Juvenile Justice System to Improve Child's Lives
Susan Bertonaschi - Annie E. Casey Foundation: The Health and Well-being of Georgia's Children: Increasing Access to Health Care and Improving School Readiness

Colloquium 2  (November 13)
School Funding and Finance: Following the Money Stream and Toward a Better Understanding of Policymaking
Dr. Carolyn Bourdeaux - Fiscal Research Center, Georgia State University Andrew Young School of Policy Studies:  The Big Picture of Georgia's Public Budget
Doug Eza - Oconee County Schools (Retired): QBE from A to Z: Public School Funding 101
Group Activity - Diving in Deeper to School Funding
Fran Millar, Georgia State Senate Youth and Education Committee, and James A. McDonald, Government Relations and State Policy Group, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough: Toward a Better Understanding of the Policymaking Process in Georgia

The new class of Fellows began their 9-month course of instruction with Colloquium 1 (October 16)
Opening the first session was Mr. Mike Alexander, Research and Analytics Div. Mgr., Atlanta Regional Commission, who presented a look at "The Impact of Changing Demographics on Georgia's Education System."  The Fellows then broke into groups to research the topic "The Five Georgias: What Policymakers Need to Know." 

The groups were assigned counties that offered a variety of education challenges.  They analyzed them then prepared briefings for visiting Georgia policymakers (other groups played those roles) underlining what their counties had and what they needed to reach their full education potential.  Before the session ended, a group discussion was held to examine the question, "Demographics as Destiny?" 

2014 Fellow Eric Parker, principal of Shilo High School in Snellville, had a story published in the February edition of Principal Leadership magazine.  The article, "Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing," takes a look at the all important subject of school culture.  Eric asks the question, How can school leaders build a positive culture when facing endless initiatives and limited budgets?  Read it now. 

Congratulations to the Class of 2013! 

Each year class members select one Fellow to deliver "Reflections" at their graduation ceremony.  This year, Meca Mohammed, Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement, represented the Fellows.  She said, "Just as our actions have consequences so, too, does our inaction. As Congressman John Lewis once asked: If not us, then who? If not now, then when?

"Classmates, this program provided the information and inspiration to enhance our work within and across our diverse fields. It is up to us to use them so that we may do even more to enrich the lives of others through our leadership."

Here are her "Reflections."

2012 - 2013 Fellows and Activities

Meet the former Fellows!

Colloquium 7: Final meeting of the year.  Last group policy projects were presented.  Afternoon session:  A Conversation with the Alliance of Education Agency Heads (AEAH). (May)

Guest speakers:  Amy Mast, AEAH Director; Kristin Bernhard, Governor Nathan Deal's Education Policy Advisor; and Kelly Henson, Director, Professional Standards Commission.

Annual Trip to Washington D.C. to attend The Institute for Educational Leadership National Policy Seminar was conducted in April.

Colloquium 6:  Presentation of Group Policy Projects and Moving Forward: Higher Education and Workforce Readiness (April)

Guest speakers:  Dr. Josephine Reed-Taylor, Deputy Commissioner, Technical College System of Georgia; Brandee Tate, Office of Educational Access and Success, University System of Georgia; and Kristen Laarhoven, Director of Programs, Governor's Office of Workforce Development.

Colloquium 5:  High-Performing & Effective Schools: What Do They Look Like?  How Do We Create Them? (March)

Guest speakers: Morning session -   Jill Joplin, Director of Communications, KIPP Metro Atlanta and Mini'imah Shaheed, Founding Principal, KIPP STRIVE Primary - KIPP Metro Atlanta:  How Does a Charter School Achieve Excellence?

Afternoon session: Cayanna Good, State Director, Office of School Improvement, Georgia Department of Education, Scott John, Principal, Henry County High School, and Keith Simmons, Principal, Griffin High School - Panel Discussion:  Improving Educational Opportunities for Students:  Turning Around Schools & Sustaining Excellence

Colloquium 4:  Education in a 'Flattening' World: International Comparisons of Teaching and Learning (February)

Guest speaker:  Dr. Beheruz Sethna, President, University of West Georgia - Preparing Our Students for a "Flattening" World.  Film presentation, 2 Million Minutes, followed by discussion of the film and Tony Wagner's The Global Achievement Gap book.

Colloquium 3:  Critical Linkages to Education:  The Connection and Intersections of Policy Sectors (January)

Guest speakers:  Taifa Butler, Georgia Budget and Policy Institute - Why Health, Housing, and Criminal Justice Matter to Education; Carol Naughton, Purpose Built Communities - Housing Stability: How Housing Policy Influences Child Outcomes; Camile Smith, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Susan Bertonaschi, Director of Health Promotion, Annie E. Casey Foundation - Atlanta Civic Site - The Health and Well-being of Georgia's Children: Increasing Access to Health Care and Improving School Readiness; and Sharon M. Hill, Executive Director, Georgia Appleseed Center for Law and Justice - Reforming the Juvenile Justice System to Improve Children's Lives.

Colloquium 2:  School Funding and Finance: Following the Money Stream and Toward a Better Understanding of Policymaking (November)

Guest speakers:  Dr. Carolyn Bourdeaux, Associate Professor.  Associate Director - Fiscal Research Center, Georgia State University Andrew Young School of Policy Studies - The Big Picture of Georgia's Public Budget;  Dr. Dennis Fordham, former teacher and public school superintendent - QBE from A to Z: Public School Funding 101; Fran Millar, Georgia State Senate, Chair, Education and Youth Committee and Marcus Downs, Director of Government Relations, Medical Association of Georgia - Toward a Better Understanding of the Policymaking Process in Georgia.  Question and asnswer sessions and group discussions followed the presentations.

Colloquium 1: The Demographic Landscape of Georgia (October)

Guest speaker:  Mathew Hauer, Governmental Services and Research, Center for Applied Demography, University of Georgia - The Impact of Changing Demographics on Georgia's Education System.  Discussion followed on "The Five Georgias: What Policymakers Need to Know" and "Demographics as Destiny?"

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 2013-2014 class will open in late spring.  It will be announced here.  If you would like to be informed when applications are being accepted drop us an E-mail.

Read the brochure

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