By STEVE LENOX
PATERSON, NJ – Mayor Andre Sayegh is hoping his efforts to improve educational outcomes in the City of Paterson will get a boost following his selection as a Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellow, an initiative of The Hunt Institute founded in 2001 by former North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt.
Launched in 2014, the program, named after Hunt and former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean, both known as education governors, is recognized as one whose participants form “an elite group of national, senior-level policy leaders who have the knowledge, skill, and will to be effective, reform-minded education policymakers at the state level.”
According to the Fellowship’s website, Hunt and Kean believe that education is the most important investment we can make to strengthen our nation’s economy and society. They recognize that senior, state-level policymakers have enormous influence over our complex education system, and that all too often these leaders are required to assume massive responsibilities with limited background in education policy.
“I am honored to join a distinguished group of leaders,” Sayegh said of being tapped to be in the seventh cohort of Fellows. “I look forward to learning and sharing strategies for an effective education policy while working with education experts on complex policy issues.”
Each cohort convenes for two in-person sessions during the 12-month program covering foundational issues in education policy: standards, assessments, accountability, school choice, and teachers and school leaders. During these three-day gatherings fellows engage with each other, as well as national leaders in a variety of learning experiences and opportunities including hearing from high-level policymakers or former policymakers who connect with Fellows on the broad policy issues, smaller group discussions, strategy breakouts, and site visits.
Fellows are further engaged throughout the year with monthly hour-long strategy calls designed to provide them with a summary of research and state policy considerations on topics not formally addressed at the in-person sessions. Each call is supplemented with suggested pre-reading and follow-up resources. Previous topics include early childhood education, third-grade reading, postsecondary education, and data systems.
“We see the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows program as an important investment in the future of our country. The program already boasts over 100 Fellows representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and five sitting governors. By providing policymakers with the core knowledge they need to promote effective education agendas, The Hunt Institute is building a cadre of informed and motivated educational change agents with the necessary influence to reform state education systems and improve outcomes,” said Dr. Javaid Siddiqi, President & CEO of The Hunt Institute.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal was part of the previous cohort of Fellows while Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter (D-Paterson) is a Fellow from the fourth. New Jersey State Senator Teresa Ruiz (D-Newark) part of the 2015 Inaugural Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows Cohort.