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March 2016

The Hunt Institute officially leaves UNC-Chapel Hill and becomes an independent entity – but not for long.

After an extensive review of UNC System centers The Hunt Institute decided to leave the UNC System on amicable terms. At the time, we didn't know where we’d end up – if we would connect with a university outside the UNC system or become an independent nonprofit – but we were excited for the future.

With grace upon leaving, Governor Hunt said, “While these actions will allow us to implement an even more ambitious agenda for our future, this has been a very difficult decision.”


Stancill, J. (2016 March 26). UNC, Hunt Institute End Their Affiliation. The News And Observer, 2A.

June 2016

About three months after leaving UNC-Chapel Hill we find a new home eight miles down the road, and joined forces with the Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy. The school’s namesake, Governor Terry Sanford, advised Governor Hunt’s campaign in 1984 for U.S. Senate.

In The News & Observer, Governor Hunt is quoted: “It was (former Gov.) Terry Sanford’s advocacy and commitment to improving public education for all that’s always been a driving force for me. It’s the same commitment that The Sanford School brings to education today and why I think this alliance is the perfect fit.”

Jim Hunt with Terry Sanford at Hunt’s second inauguration, January 1981. Photo from James B. Hunt: A Legacy of Leadership.


(2016 June 17). Hunt Institute moves to Duke University. The News & Observer. 3A.

January 2017

The annual Holshouser Legislators Retreat is held in Pinehurst, North Carolina. This year, for the first time, the Retreat is kicked off by our current President and CEO Dr. Javaid Siddiqi. As always, the Retreat covers the full education continuum, giving legislators the opportunity to learn about the most pressing issues in education.

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January 2017

Our State Legislators Retreat model continues to branch out to new states: In 2017, we hold the first West Virginia Legislators' Forum on Education and the Economy. In recent years, West Virginia had suffered an economic decline, due to converging factors including the financial crisis, loss of manufacturing jobs, and the recent downturn of the coal industry. Leaders from West Virginia University, the State of West Virginia, and Marshall University made the decision to come together to identify solutions to lead to a bright future for the state.

Intuit Chairman and CEO Brad Smith delivers the keynote. Sessions include discussions on excellent teachers, how learning impacts the economy, and funding models.

May 2017

“I know the people of North Carolina and I know how they feel. I know what their aspirations are. I know what their goodness is. And I just want to see us do our very best.” - Governor Hunt

The Herald-Sun, a newspaper based in Durham, North Carolina, publishes a feature story on Governor Hunt. In it, the governor describes public education, especially in a child’s earliest years, as "the great equalizer." Backing up the mission of The Hunt Institute, he expresses the need for state leaders to work across the aisle to make investments in education.


(2017 May 28).Gov. Hunt. The Hearld-Sun. 3A.

June 2017

The Governors Education Symposium is held in Denver, Colorado, co-hosted with the National Governors Association. Six governors from across the United States, along with high-ranking officials from ten additional states attend, sessions to provide governors context on a number of key education issues. Governors Dan Malloy (Connecticut), Roy Cooper (North Carolina), Jim Hunt (North Carolina), Asa Hutchinson (Arkansas), Brad Little (Idaho), and Kenneth Mapp (U.S. Virgin Islands) join us and have the opportunity to learn about "ideas that work," in order to bring meaningful education change to their states.

Ellen Galinsky of Bezos Foundation, who to this day remains a collaborator with The Institute on all things early childhood education, joins us for the early learning session. Other conversations center on reading proficiency, preparing teachers, and building a strong workforce.

2017 GES PowerPoint.pdf

December 2017

The Virginia Education Summit is held at Virginia Commonwealth University. Specific attention is placed on English language learners and growing enrollment in the state and across the United States. A session also focuses on public-private partnerships and ways to innovate education, an idea that would become tremendously important in just a few years, as the country would be faced with a global pandemic.

2017 VA Ed Summit Agenda_Final PDF.pdf

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February 2018

Our first blog in collaboration with myFutureNC is posted. In November of the previous year, the myFutureNC Commission brought together leaders in education, business, philanthropy, and faith-based and nonprofit communities from across the state to discuss challenges related to increasing higher education attainment. The Hunt Institute and myFutureNC formed a strong partnership based on the similar belief that postsecondary education is the key to economic mobility and improved life outcomes. We continue to collaborate with myFutureNC on a variety of initiatives, including the John M. Belk Impact Fellowship.

MyFutureNC has a goal of two million North Carolinians with a higher education degree or credential by 2030. Learn more about this initiative by scrolling through the hashtag, #2millionby2030 on Twitter.

March 2018

Tom Campbell cites The Hunt Institute in a post titled, Help Wanted: North Carolina's real economic development problem only 34 percent of North Carolina residents 25 and older have an associate's degree or higher, 45 percent have a high school degree or less, and the remaining 20 percent have some college but not a degree. Campbell underscores the role of community college in economic development, as these institutions can give students practical skills needed for jobs that pay well. He concludes by stating, "The question before our state is whether we will accept the challenge to help our workforce learn necessary jobs skills or be so late coming to that realization that these companies with help wanted signs decide to move elsewhere. This is the real economic development issue for North Carolina."

March 2018

The 2018 Holshouser Legislators Retreat: Elevating Education in North Carolina is held in Pinehurst, NC from March 19-20. Though resource experts discuss the entire continuum as usual, special emphasis is placed on educational attainment in the state, due to the recent convening of the myFutureNC Commission.


October 2018

The Virginia Education Summit is held at Virginia State University, a historically black institution south of Richmond, Virginia. Senator Steve Newman and Delegate Steve Landes lead the meeting, along with Hunt Institute Board Member Laura Fornash and VSU President Dr. Makola Abdullah. Members of Virginia's Senate Education and Health Committee and House of Delegates Education Committee join for two days of sessions.

The sessions cover early childhood education, teacher development and retention, school leadership development, school funding, liberal arts education in the 21st century, career pathways, and continuing education.


December 2018

The fifth cohort of Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows meets in Washington, D.C. December 5-7. In addition to hearing from resource experts about education policy, the cohort also has the opportunity to visit Two Rivers Public Charter School.

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January 2019

Our Education Policy Retreat, aimed at preparing newly elected legislators to better understand the state of education in North Carolina, takes place in Research Triangle Park. Resource experts join us to discuss strategies for increasing early childhood access; standards, assessments, and accountability; teacher preparation; access to postsecondary education; teacher compensation; building leadership pipelines; school choice; and education funding.

As an organization, we began creating data packets for all states participating in our State Legislators Retreat Model. Graphics like the one below begin to appear at all SLRs. Unifying data in this way helps give a better picture of the diversity in different states and systems across the country.

November 2019

After building a strong partnership in 2017 for the first West Virginia Legislators' Forum, we make our way back to The Mountain State to talk about all things education with the West Virginia Public Education Collaborative.

December 2019

The Virginia Education Summit is held December 9 - December 10 at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. A session titled, "Broadband and the New Virginia Economy," examines the need for scalable and affordable broadband infrastructure." In just a few months, in March of 2020, this conversation would become a very important one with the start of the pandemic and widespread remote learning.

December 2019

On December 9, Governor Roy Cooper signs Executive Order No. 113, "Establishing the Task Force to Develop a Representative and Inclusive Vision for Education." Governor Cooper announced the new DRIVE task force at our DRIVE Summit, held at N.C. State University in partnership with the North Carolina Business Committee on Education.

In issuing the executive order, Governor Cooper cited research revealing the benefits of students of color learning from a teacher that reflects their own backgrounds and experiences.

Later in the month, James E. Ford, executive director of the Center For Racial Equity in Education (CREED), wrote a piece for the News & Observer describing the gaining momentum around equity in North Carolina.

To conclude the piece, Ford said, "Here's to making the next decade one where we embrace the demographic shifts in our state and run hard toward equalizing opportunity for all."


The News & Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina). NC Launches Effort to Recruit Minority School Teachers. 17 December 2019.


The News & Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina). Year ahead: Center for Racial Equity in Education's director. 31 December 2019.


February 2020

Less than a month before the country shut down due to the coronavirus, we travel to Miami, Florida for the 2020 Governors' Advisors Retreat. Gubernatorial staff and key state advisors from 22 states joined us for the convening titled, "Leveraging State Leadership to Support Workforce Development." The focus is forming partnerships between leaders in business, state and local government, and education to create a brighter future for students.

“Advisors who are informed about the issues, strategic about their coalitions, and results-oriented are a governor’s best tool.” - Governor Don Carcieri (Rhode Island), Hunt Institute Board Member

March 2020

About ten days after the start of the pandemic, we announce a new mapping tool to help policymakers make sense of actions being taken around the country to keep education leaders, teachers, and students safe during a time when so little was known about the virus. The map, which gives visitors real-time information on actions across the continuum, caught the attention of NPR and The New York Times. Both news organizations honed in on the impact of the pandemic on child care providers.

Our early childhood providers ended up being some of the hardest hit by the pandemic. At the time this is being written, nineteen months after the pandemic began, early childhood centers and providers are struggling to pay and retain their educators.

May 2020

We host the first (virtual) gathering of the New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department's Transition Committee. With a planned July 1, 2020 launch, there is much to discuss in terms of challenges and coordination of the state's prenatal-to-five programs. The Department, the nation's only Cabinet-level departments dedicated to early childhood, prenatal to five, had been created the previous year, thanks to the leadership of Gov. Lujan Grisham, Sen. Michael Padilla, and Rep. Linda Trujillo.

Leading up to the meeting, we publish a brief highlighting a child's early years as a crucial development window. Evidence points to the fact that investments in early childhood translate to long-term savings that minimize the need for taxpayer-funded educational, social service and criminal justice interventions.

July 2020

Recognizing the need to address the systemic racism that exists in the education system, we reveal a new webinar series, Race And Education. The creation of the series represents an important step for The Institute — our President and CEO Dr. Javaid Siddiqi expressed a desire to do more to address then structural racism that prevents so many students from receiving a quality education in the United States.

Our first episode, “Challenging Racism in State and Local Education Systems,” is moderated by Board Member Denise Forte and airs on July 28.

September 2020

We announce two new programs this month. ElevateNC: Higher Education brings together policymakers, K-12 superintendents and teachers, higher education administrators and faculty, members of the business community, advocacy organizations, and local government representatives with the main goal of increasing postsecondary attainment.

The second program, The John M. Belk Impact Fellowship, made possible by the John M. Belk Endowment, is based on the idea that talent is universal but opportunity is not. Fourteen students from colleges and universities across the state are selected for a 10-month, hands-on experience working for a North Carolina nonprofit focused on educational equity.

"We want to work to make this vision that you have for a strong, qualified, effective, diverse educator workforce in North Carolina that will help us complete my mission statement for North Carolina, which is a state where people are better educated, healthier and have more money in their pockets." Governor Roy Cooper, upon being presented with the final report

December 2020

The Developing a Representative and Inclusive Vision for Education (DRIVE) Task Force votes to approve its plan created for Governor Roy Cooper, an amazing feat considering the Task Force only met virtually since it began its work in May 2020.

A year prior, Governor Cooper created the initiative through Executive Order 113, and charged the Task Force with creating a plan to increase racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity within North Carolina’s educator workforce.

Head to our website to learn more about this work or read the final report here.


(2020 Dec 9). NC panel wants changes to lure more minority teachers. The News and Observer, A6.