Eight from the RCOE Participate in the Education Policy Fellowship Program

Eight faculty and staff in the Reich College of Education (RCOE) will be participating in the Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP): Dr. Ashley Carpenter, Dr. Shanan Fitts, Dr. Julie Hasson, Gillian Hill, Gloria Medina, Rachel Nave-Lewis, Doug Thompson, and Holly Weaver. The EPFP program, hosted by the Public School Forum, is designed to help participants learn more about education policy in North Carolina.

Learn more about each of the participants and how this opportunity will help them here at the RCOE.

Carpenter, an assistant professor of higher education, hopes that by participating in EPFP she will be able to have some hands-on experiences learning about North Carolina policies and also have the opportunity to network with other scholars, educators, and policymakers.

Her ultimate goal is to be in an upper administrator role at an institution. “It is important to be knowledgeable of how policies can impact the students, institutions, and communities that I engage with,” she noted. 

Fitts, a professor and program director of the teaching emergent bilingual populations graduate certificate and curriculum specialist master’s programs, hopes to build on her networking skills and her ability to advocate for public education and the teaching profession with this fellowship. 

“I have strongly held beliefs about how policies can benefit or harm teachers and students, but taking action can be overwhelming, and sometimes one can feel like their voice does not matter,” said Fitts. “I hope that participating in this institute will equip me with knowledge and skills that will improve my ability to advocate for public education, as well as be able to transmit and share the energy and empowerment I gain through the institute with aspiring and practicing teachers.”

Hasson, an assistant professor of school administration who teaches and works with students who are seeking either principal or superintendent licensure, hopes this opportunity will help her integrate policy more fully into her courses. 

“This program will help me better support school and district administrators in navigating the complex policy systems in North Carolina,” said Hasson. “It will also provide opportunities for me to advocate for educators in our partner districts.”

Hill serves as the assistant principal for the App State Academy at Middle Fork and has over 30 years of experience in education. She would like to find ways to “turn wishes and dreams into visible realities.”

“This fellowship will assist me in viewing education policy from a wider perspective and more fully understand both overt and hidden forces at work in our state and national policy creation and implementation,” said Hill. “I hope to connect with colleagues in the RCOE and discuss ways the lab schools can collaborate with our university partners to create meaningful and powerful experiences for our students.”

Medina serves as the program director for Appalachian College Advising Corps and is excited about what the fellowship will provide for her. 

“This opportunity will provide me with connections to other dedicated educators across the state who may be potential future partners for the Appalachian College Advising Corps,” she said. “This opportunity will also allow me to gain a new perspective on my work and have a better understanding of how the work of RCOE, College Access Partnerships, and AppCAC interact with the larger educational policy landscape of the state and country.” 

Nave-Lewis, interim assistant director of curriculum and instructional design of GEAR UP, is honored to be selected among many educators across North Carolina.

“Through understanding our past, we can better advocate for our scholars and create systemic change,” she noted. “I believe that this opportunity will allow me valuable insight to better serve our K-12 educators. Equipping myself in regards to policy and reform, will inevitably result in my ability to advocate and spread awareness, fostering the change we need in North Carolina to create lasting change.

Thompson, the interim associate director of the GEAR UP program, hopes that the fellowship will give him the chance to interact and learn from other educators within the field as well as sharpen and strengthen his voice for advocacy and teacher rights in North Carolina. 

“EPFP empowers educators and professionals serving within the education community giving them a deeper understanding of how state and national policy impact our work,” he noted. “I also hope to become a voice for change and eventually elevate my leadership within RCOE.” 

Weaver, an Empowering Teacher Learning navigator for the College Access Partnerships, hopes the fellowship will help to deepen her understanding of North Carolina’s educational history. 

“This opportunity will connect me to resources that I can use to continuously educate myself about North Carolina's history and political structures,” she noted.