What is LESN?

Mission Statement

Legislative Education Staff Network exists to strengthen the capabilities of legislative education staff to support legislatures and individual legislators in developing P-20 education and workforce development state laws and policies, both fiscal and programmatic, which support student success.

The Legislative Education Staff Network is a coordinated network of professional and knowledgeable legislative staff from across the country who work on education policy. Since 1986, the LESN provides opportunities through meetings and online resources for education policy staff to:

  • Network with other legislative staff and with other local, state and federal education professionals.
  • Obtain professional development and training.
  • Access timely, focused, and comprehensive information, research, and professional development on targeted education policy issues.
  • Collaborate with education policy and finance experts and researchers.
  • Receive technical assistance from other legislative staff on education initiatives.
  • Partner with other education stakeholders to promote high quality education.

What does LESN do for me?

  • Sponsors in-person seminars and webinars on important education policy topics, enabling you to better serve your legislature.
  • Publishes Heads Up on Education Issues, a monthly compilation of recommended research and reading on critical public education issues.
  • Conducts several sessions specific to legislative staff at ECS and NCSL meetings.
  • Maintains a listserv to provide instant assistance from colleagues across the country.
  • Publishes an online membership directory that provides you education staff contacts in each state legislature.
  • Maintains a website devoted to keeping you up to date on education policy, including listserv archives, professional development opportunities, publications, online education staff contact list and more.
  • Access to technical support and resources from ECS and NCSL.

Who belongs to LESN?

All legislative staff who work on education policy. Members include bill drafters, fiscal staff, program evaluators, policy analysts and advisors and includes both partisan and nonpartisan staff. A steering committee governs the network. All members of LESN may participate in all of the network’s activities and vote at the annual business meetings.

How do I join LESN?

There is no formal application process. Simply email Emily Workman, ECS liaison to the Legislative Education Staff Network, or call her at 303-299-3655, or email Sara Shelton, NCSL liaison to the Legislative Staff Network, or call her at 303-856-1647. You also can contact Emily or Sara or a member of the LESN steering committee when attending a meeting sponsored by LESN.

How can I become involved?

It’s easy. Fresh faces and new ideas are always welcome. There are many ways to participate:

Working Groups: Volunteer to serve on one of the network’s working groups and help increase outreach or plan professional develop opportunities. Travel is not required as most committee and staff section business is handled by teleconference or e-mail. Interested? Contact Emily Workman, ECS liaison to the Legislative Education Staff Network, at (303) 299-3631 or or Sara Shelton, NCSL liaison to the Legislative Education Staff Network, at (303) 856-1647 or

Website: Get online to stay informed and find important information, meeting dates, and research tools.

Listserv: The LESN is a great opportunity to ask for and share information about education policy in other states. Whether you participate by asking, reading, or answering inquiries, you'll learn about the issues currently of concern to your colleagues.

Meetings: Attend ECS’ National Forum, NCSL’s Legislative Summit or the network’s fall professional development seminar to meet colleagues, refine your skills, and make connections.

Upcoming training opportunities?

June 28-29, 2014
Washington, D.C.
Seminar on college remediation

Dec. 12-14, 2014
Washington, D.C.
Seminar topic TBD

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