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The Institute Celebrates 10 Years!

This poster commemorates our 10th anniversary. As you can see, the chainlink logo we still use today appears for the first time.

January 2011

The 8th Annual North Carolina Legislators Retreat focuses on preparing students for the workforce. Panelists talk to legislators about postsecondary credentials and success, the “leaky” education pipeline, the evolving student population, and Race to the Top funding. Panelists represent the Southern Regional Education Board, California State University Long Beach, North Carolina Community College System, National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, State Higher Education Executive Officers, Guilford Technical Community College, North Carolina Central University, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, North Carolina State Board of Education, and more.

A one-pager created for the event explains that by 2018, 59 percent of jobs in the state would require some education beyond high school. Graphs in the document show that from 2007 to 2009, the unemployment rate for those without a high school diploma hovered around 18.2 percent. For high school graduates that rate was 11.3 percent and for those with at least some postsecondary experience, the rate was 6.3 percent.

DYK Number 1 - FINAL.pdf

January 2011

Governor Hunt writes an article for The Anniston Star, an Alabama newspaper, praising the state for their interest in launching a nonprofit dedicated to improving public schools and sustaining economic development. Former Alabama Governor Bob Riley had looked to The Hunt Institute as a model for a possible education nonprofit for his state. Governor Riley had attended our first Governors Education Symposium back in 2002.

In the article, Governor Hunt discusses the value of an organization that can take education policy and the jargon that comes with it and explain it to policymakers and the wider public. He also discusses The Institute’s participation in Governor Bev Perdue’s Southern Regional Education Board Middle Grade’s Commission and her Education Transformation Commission, which had been charged with oversight of the state’s Race to the Top grant.

The Anniston Star (Anniston, Alabama). 23 January 2011.

March 2011

In partnership with the State Legislative Leaders Foundation, we host “Making the Grade: Preparing Today’s Students for Tomorrow’s Economy.” The convening focuses on key strategies states can utilize to ensure children receive the high-quality education they deserve and graduate prepared for careers or postsecondary education. Presenters join us from Data Quality Campaign, Kentucky Department of Education, University of Maryland Baltimore, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Community Training and Assistance Center, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, Tennessee Department of Education, Colorado Department of Education, The Education Trust, and Florida Virtual School.

Takeaways from the meeting include:

  1. Rapidly changing demographics and population growth are posing new challenges to public schools.

  2. Higher education is more important than ever for economic success.

  3. More rigorous standards are needed to prepare students to succeed in college and careers.

  4. Strong evaluation systems are key to identifying and supporting effective teachers.

  5. The rapid development of new technologies and digital learning is transforming the teaching and learning experience.


May 2011

The seventh Governors Education Symposium, and the third in partnership with the National Governors Association, is held in Cary, North Carolina. The convening is titled “Making Education Dollars Work.” The governors discuss strategies for advancing education with limited resources, improving postsecondary completion, preparing students for jobs or postsecondary education, and evaluating effective teachers.

In recent years, substantial investments had been made in education, but progress leveled off, with little difference in education outcomes noted over the past 30 years. As the country emerges from the Great Recession, it’s important for education leaders and policymakers to consider how to build resilient education systems that graduate more students ready to pursue postsecondary education or the workforce. This would improve the nation’s economic output.

To accomplish this, public schools would need high quality teachers capable of teaching curricula to students. Once in higher education, students would need more flexibility and direct paths to certificates or degrees.

GES IssueBrief FINAL(singlepage).pdf

"These are programs that have a great impact on North Carolina moving up among the states in learning and getting scores among the top tier in the nation."


July 2011

Budget cuts challenge the public education system in North Carolina. In a News & Observer story, Governor Hunt laments the budget cuts made to several programs created to increase the effectiveness of teachers in public schools. One of those programs, the N.C. Teaching Fellows program, had given students a free ride to college if they spent four years teaching in North Carolina classrooms upon graduation.

The N.C. Teaching Fellows program, created in 1986, aimed to increase the number of male teachers and teachers of color in classrooms. The program gave future teachers an inside look at teaching across the state – students attended weekly seminars and took part in service projects around the state.


The News & Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina). 21 July 2011, page A10.


"He's a legend."


August 2011

Governor Hunt meets with university presidents, former cabinet secretaries, legislators, and a couple hundred additional attendees to offer words of encouragement and sign copies of his biography.

During the event at the NC Museum of History, Governor Bev Perdue offers kind words about the education governor, and Governor Hunt returns the kind remarks.


The News & Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina). 10 August 2011.

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January 2012

The ninth annual North Carolina Legislators Retreat is held in Pinehurst, North Carolina. Dr. Judith Rizzo, Governor James E. Holshouser, Jr. and Governor James B. Hunt, Jr. introduce the convening, titled, "Education North Carolina: Early Learning to Postsecondary Completion."

Discussions on teacher quality no longer focused on degrees, licenses, and subject competency. Instead, teacher quality had started to be measured by outputs: How good is the teacher when it comes to advancing student achievement? To better measure teacher quality, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction had started work to define parameters to measure student achievement.

During postsecondary discussions at the convening, resource experts discussed college readiness. A recent ACT study had found that only one-third of students in North Carolina who took the ACT were prepared for college courses. Once at college, these students would need remedial courses, which would mean additional tuition costs and decreased likelihood of graduating with four years.

Lastly, panelists at the NCLR discussed early literacy. At the time, states like Massachusetts and New Mexico were beginning to enact legislation to better identify students needing additional help learning to read and better prepare students to teach reading.

Organizations in attendance included: National Council on Teacher Quality, Community Training an Assistance Center, Urban Superintendents Program at Harvard University, Lumina Foundation, NC Community College System, and National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University. Education leaders also joined from Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Tennessee, Texas, California, and North Carolina.


March 2012

In a News & Observer feature story about the Dixie Classic, a famous North Carolina college basketball tournament, author Bethany Bradsher mentions tournament fan Governor Hunt. On the final day of the 1958 tournament, Governor Hunt's wife was about to give birth to their first child. Not one to miss a basketball game, Governor Hunt made it to the basketball stadium and back to the hospital in time for his daughter’s birth.


April 2012

The 2012 Governors Education Symposium is held in Cary, North Carolina. Attendees to the symposium, titled, "Advance America | A Commitment to Education & The Economy," are introduced by Governor Jim Hunt and Governor Jen Bush (FL).

Former U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, Carnegie Corporation's Andrés Henríquez, and future U.S. Secretary of Education John King speak on panels during the two-day event.

Topics of discussion include:

  • Preparing for the workforce

  • Education data mining

  • New English language arts and mathematics standards

  • Math Standards

  • Technology and Digital Learning

  • Developing and Measuring Effective Teaching

  • Assessments and Accountability


Listen to our conversation with Secretary Margaret Spellings on The Hunt Institute's podcast: As Yet Untold.


August 2012

The K-12 Education Reform Summit is held in Richmond, Virginia. The convening covers more than kindergarten through high school, however. Governor Hunt introduces the convening with a discussion on the state of pre-K in Virginia – in recent years, pre-K enrollment had expanded by 40 percent. The education governor described early childhood education as a game changer in education – increasing readiness in the elementary years and overall life outcomes.

This convening was held just one month after the Virginia Department of Education released their new reading and math objectives for public schools. The commonwealth established “proficiency gap groups,” designed to identify and support students who “historically had difficulty meeting the commonwealth’s achievement standards.”

December 2012

Representative Gene Arnold becomes chair of the North Carolina Public School Forum. Representative Arnold co-wrote the ABCs of Public Education Act, which raised standards and created a teacher bonus program. In addition to having served on the NC Public School Forum’s board for many years, Representative Arnold also served on our board here at The Institute.

Representative Arnold went on to receive the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 2018. This award is one of the most prestigious conferred by the governor of North Carolina.


Staff Reports (2012 Dec. 12). Arnold set for board leadership. Rocky Mountain Telegram, 1.


December 2012

At the end of 2012, at 75 years of age, Governor Hunt leaves his post at the largest law firm in North Carolina, Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice. In addition to focusing his time here at The Hunt Institute and at his other institute – The Institute for Emerging Issues – Governor Hunt says he is excited to spend more time on the family farm in Wilson County, North Carolina.


Ogburn, T (2012 Dec. 16). Legislators to hear about urban concerns. The News & Observer, 3B.


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January 2013

We celebrate a decade of the North Carolina Legislators Retreat with the 10th retreat convening in Pinehurst, North Carolina. During this special anniversary NCLR, we honor Governor Holshouser by renaming the webinar after him.

Legislators hear about digital learning and online assessment, STEM, teacher preparation, merit pay pilot programs, and teacher tenure reform.

During the 2009-2010 school year, about 1.8 million K-12 students had enrolled in distance-education courses. While online learning provided high-quality content and more flexibility to students, studies did show that students who received only online instruction didn’t perform as well as students who received a mix of both online and in-person instruction. Flash forward to today and North Carolina is one of the states that will continue to offer virtual academies to students who aren’t ready to return after the pandemic.

In terms of merit pay pilot programs, at the time, North Carolina had looked at the benefits of alternative compensation plans. That is, compensating teachers for earning advanced degrees, teaching in hard-to-staff subjects, or having students who perform well on standardized tests. Many of these ideas are still up for discussion today. In fact, during a discussion on teacher compensation at this year’s Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows meeting, Senator Michael Lee said that he believed that the National Board of Professional Teaching Certification is the one true way to know that students are getting a quality teacher.


February 2013

A blog post on our website features the progress made in preparing and equipping school leaders for work in low-performing urban and rural school districts. Through the Race to The Top Grant, which North Carolina won in 2010, the state allocated $17.5 million toward these leadership programs.

North Carolina’s Race to the Top plan had acknowledged the need for high-quality leadership in low-achieving schools – one part of the plan emphasized the need to increase the number of qualified principals prepared to teach in low-performing schools located in both rural and urban areas. In response, North Carolina created three Regional Leadership Academies, and allocated RttT funding for school leadership development.

The three principal preparation programs in the state at the time include: Northeast Leadership Academy (today the NC State Principal Preparation program), Piedmont Triad Leadership Academy, (today the North Carolina Leadership Academy), and the Sandhills Leadership Academy.

Regional Leadership Academies Presentation-Anna Brady.pdf

March 2013

“Governor Hunt’s dedication to improving public education is renowned in North Carolina and nationwide,” said NASBE Executive Director Kristen Amundson.

Governor Hunt receives the honor of National Education Policy Leader of the Year from National Association of State Boards of Education. Governor Tom Kean, who represents one-half of our Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows founders had previously received the award. Governor Hunt went on to receive his award at NASBE’s national annual conference in Arlington, Virginia in July of 2013.

June 2013

This year’s Governors Education Symposium, titled, “Advance America | A Commitment to Quality Education,” is held in Chicago, Illinois. Governors Hunt, Malloy (CT), and Branstad (IA) kick off the discussions, opening the floor to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Secretary Duncan speaks on the Obama Administration’s early learning initiatives and commitment to preparing students for higher education and/or the workforce.

The sessions include discussions on strategies for achieving college and career readiness, building partnerships to advance education, supporting effective teachers and leaders, and allocating resources to increase opportunity. Throughout the discussions, participants have the opportunity to hear from state policymakers and leaders about ways their states were advancing education.

2013 GES Issue Briefs (e).pdf

June 2013

After his death, Governor Jim Holshouser, the namesake of our Holshouser Legislators Retreat, is remembered by Governors Pat McCrory, Jim Hunt, Mike Easley, and Beverly Perdue. Governor Holshouser was the first Republican elected governor in North Carolina since 1896 – he served from 1973-1977. During this time, he consulted with Governor Hunt on proposals and plans to expand kindergarten in state education systems.

Governor Hunt remembered him by stating, “He was a man who worked with everybody, and he understood that you don’t get ahead by just cutting here and cutting there and setting people against each other.”

In January 2013, the NCLR was renamed the Holshouser Legislators Retreat.


AP (2013 June 22). Memorial held for Holshouser. The Signal (Santa Clarita, CA), 14. https://www.newspapers.com/image/338528348/?terms=governor%20hunt&match=1

August 2013

In response to the newly implemented Common Core State Standards, The Institute leads a collaboration with National Network of State Teachers of the Year and Teachers Ignite, in partnership with National Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, and National PTA, to provide administrators, teachers, and parents with a clearer understanding of the new standards.

Through the collaborative, The Ignite Show, which explained CCSS, airs on Georgia Public Broadcasting. The show uses teaching demonstrations, peer-to-peer evaluations, and discussions on instruction and curriculum. Through the television program, the organizations hope to set a stage for larger discussions about new standards.

Learn about the last episode of 2013 to the left. You can view all episodes of The Ignite Show on Vimeo.

"You are capable of greatness. North Carolina is capable of leading the way. That is both our story and our future. Go forth and do great things."


August 2013

Governor Hunt delivers the UNC School of Public Policy’s sixth annual Thomas Willis Lambeth Lecture. Thomas Willis Lambeth had served as the executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation until 2000. Governor Hunt had crossed paths with Lambeth while working for Governor Terry Sanford’s campaign – Lambeth went on to become Governor Sanford’s administrative assistant.

Governor Hunt’s speech, titled, “We Are Underinvesting in Education,” explains that the future rests on everyone’s shoulders – we are all capable of greatness, we just need to ensure everyone has the opportunity to succeed in the classroom, no matter their background.

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January 2014

Ginny Holshouser Mills, daughter of the late Governor Holshouser introduces the first official Holshouser Legislators Retreat (HLR). Before the convening got underway, Governor Hunt presented a plaque to Ginny Holshouser Mills, honoring all of the work her father did for education.

“Jim Hunt is a hero of mine, he’s a mentor of mine, and the state has been so fortunate to have him in leadership in so many different ways.” – Governor Pat McCrory

Following the HLR, The News and Observer publishes a story on Governor Pat McCrory’s vision for education in the state. During the convening, Governor McCrory had underscored the need for international education standards and pay increases for teachers. Though they agreed with Governor McCrory’s ideas, the Democratic legislators were concerned with the actual implementation – for example, where would funds come from to increase teacher pay?

HLR AgendaFinal-1-10-14.pdf

February 2014

To supplement our work in explaining and implementing the new student standards, we produced a series of videos for our YouTube channel, including the ones below.

December 2014

Toward the end of the year, The Hunt Institute becomes one of 34 centers and institutes within the UNC System under review by the board of governors. Centers and institutes at Appalachian State University, East Carolina University, Elizabeth City State University, N.C. A&T State University, N.C. Central University, N.C. State University, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC Greensboro, UNC Wilmington, Western Carolina University, and Winston-Salem State University all faced an uncertain future.

We didn't know it at the time, but The Hunt Institute would soon enter a new era.

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January 2015

The 2015 Holshouser Legislators Retreat gathers North Carolina educators, national education experts, and leaders from business and higher education to talk strengthening North Carolina education.

Michael Horn, co-founder and executive director of education at the Clayton Christensen Institute talks about his new book, Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools. His book examined at the power of blending online learning models with traditional classroom settings, arguing that by mixing the two, students have access to more personalized instruction centered around their needs.

Other panelists, like Geoff Lang from MetLife, explain that students not only need to be high achieving, but they also need to be problem solvers. They need to enter the workforce – whether that be after high school or college graduation – ready to think about innovative solutions to problems.

A major theme of discussions at the convening is teacher preparation and retainment. Because of the idea that teachers determine student success more than any other in-school factor, it’s important to have a pipeline of educators ready to and excited about teaching students. However, from 2011-2013, there had been a drastic drop in the number of teachers in preparation programs across the University of North Carolina system. At many of our convenings today, we still work to address issues related to the teacher pipeline – we especially hope to make the teacher pipeline more diverse.

Lastly, attendees at the 2015 HLR heard from one of our partners, Business for Educational Success and Transformation (BEST NC). The nonpartisan coalition of business leaders engage individuals across the states in efforts to improve aspects of education such as teacher recruitment, preparation and compensation, early childhood education, standards and assessment, technology and infrastructure, and school funding.


November 2015

Once again, we reach out to our neighbors to the north in support of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s 2nd Annual House Education Committee Summit. University of Virginia President Dr. Teresa Sullivan, Delegate Steve Landes, and Governor Jim Hunt introduce the session’s discussions, held at the University of Virginia. Discussion topics include current needs of public education in the commonwealth, early childhood education research, higher education, high performance leadership, virtual learning, public charter schools and more.

Former Virginia Secretary of Education Jim Dyke, Jr. delivers the closing keynote. Dyke, who grew up attending segregated schools, served as the Commonwealth’s first Black education secretary. He attended Howard University, a historically Black college and University for undergraduate education and law school. In addition to serving as Virginia’s education secretary, Dyke also helped create the federal Department of Education.

Photo by McGuire Woods Consulting

December 2015

In 2015, we host not one, but two Holshouser Legislators Retreat. This meeting focuses on current North Carolina policy focus areas and how policymakers can help produce effective implementation of policies. Specifically, the convening examined how successful policies are crafted and how they can set conditions for effective administration.

Issues of focus include early childhood education, effective school leaders, digital learning innovation, quality assessments, and the impact.