This week, the Public School Forum hosted its newest class of North Carolina Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP) Fellows for a three-day retreat in Raleigh. The Forum welcomed 52 new Fellows, including, for the second year, a significant number of Fellows from counties in Western North Carolina, supported through a US Department of Education GEAR UP grant awarded to Appalachian State University.

The fall retreat began Wednesday with a visit to the historic state capitol, where lawyer and North Carolina constitutional scholar Ann McColl led fellows, alumni, and guests through a session of her Constitutional Tales. Fellows stepped back into history, playing the roles of historical figures and reenacting the 1868 Constitutional Convention, sitting in the same seats where their characters sat almost 150 years ago.

The retreat continued with speakers Gerry Hancock, a Raleigh-based attorney who has been instrumental in the landmark Leandro ruling guaranteeing every North Carolina child’s right to a sound, basic education; Dr. Jim Johnson, Professor of Strategy & Entrepreneurship at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School; Dr. Dudley Flood, Former Specialist in School Desegregation and Race Relations for the NC Department of Public Instruction; and Liz Bell, Researcher and Reporter for EducationNC. Speakers introduced the new class of fellows to the history and context of education policy in North Carolina.

This year’s EPFP class is led by Co-Coordinators Lauren Bock, the Forum’s Research Director; Joe Ableidinger, the Forum’s Senior Director of Policy & Programs; Jennifer Wilson-Kearse, Executive Director of NCACHE and Director of GEAR UP at Appalachian State; and James E. Ford, the Forum’s Program Director and 2014-15 North Carolina State Teacher of the Year.

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