Julie Davis Bell
Julie is the education group director for the National Conference of State Legislatures. She has been with NCSL for 21 years and has directed the Education Program for 19 years. In that capacity she oversees the 12 person Education Program staff and is responsible for setting Program priorities, responding to constituent needs and requests, developing new education projects, and interfacing with other national education policy organizations. She also serves as the program policy specialist for higher education issues. Julie received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California at Davis in 1986. Prior to joining NCSL she was a policy associate with the Center for Policy Research in Denver and taught political science courses at the University of Colorado.
Issue Areas: higher education
Phone number: 303-364-7700 x 1351
Josh Cunningham is an education research analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures. He manages NCSL's Education Bill Tracking Database and provides research assistance to legislators and legislative staff on numerous K-12 issues including charter schools, vouchers/tax credits, school safety, and bullying. Josh previosuly worked as a legislative aide for Colorado State Rep. Jack Pommer providing assistance on the annual long budget bill and school finance act. He was also the President and co-founder of Colorado Taxpayers for Effective Fiscal Policy, a Colorado-based issue committee dedicated to strengthening the role of the state legislature in setting state fiscal policy. Josh holds a B.S. in Marketing from Metro State College of Denver and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Colorado Denver.
Issue Areas: Accountability, alternative schools, bilingual education, bullying, charter schools, class size, compulsory education, curriculum, drug testing, homeschools, parental involvement, religion in schools, reading/literacy, school attendance, school discipline, school prayer, school safety/terrorism, school sports, standards, truancy, vouchers/tax credits, and weapons in schools.
Phone Number: 303-364-7700 x 1354
Sunny Deye is a program principal for the National Conference of State Legislatures. She manages NCSL's education technology / digital learning project and oversees NCSL's college and career readiness work including the NCSL Task Force on School Dropout Prevention and Recovery. Prior to joining NCSL, Sunny was a Senior Legislative Assistant in the Colorado General Assembly’s Office of Legislative Legal Services, assisting in researching and drafting education, human services, and criminal justice legislation. Sunny holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Oregon and a Masters in Politics and Public Policy from the University of Colorado Denver.
Issue Areas: dropouts, P-20 issues, middle schools, high schools, digital learning, education technology
Phone number: 303-364-7700 x 1469
Michelle Exstrom is a program principal at the National Conference of State Legislatures where she directs the Education Program's educator effectiveness, education finance, common core, and assessments projects, and staffs the Education Standing Committee. Michelle has been serving state legislators for over 15 years. Since joining NCSL in 1999, she has tracked and published annual reports on education legislation in all 50 states and numerous reports, books and magazine articles on education policy. Prior to NCSL, Michelle served as a Senior Legislative Assistant in the Colorado General Assembly’s Office of Legislative Legal Services. In this capacity, she assisted in drafting finance, taxation, and state and local government legislation and with legal research for the General Assembly. Michelle is a graduate of Colorado State University, Denver Paralegal Institute, and is completing her graduate studies at the Center for New Directions in Politics and Public Policy.
Issue Areas: educator effectiveness, assessments, NCSL Education Committee
Phone number: 303-364-7700 x 1564
Barbara Houlik has been associated with the National Conference of State Legislatures since 1984 and for the past nine years, a staff coordinator with the Education program. She previously worked with the Foundation of State Legislatures before joining the Children and Families program and working on the Child Care Project. Barbara has extensive experience in meeting planning, creating web documents and updating existing ones, all manner of correspondence and is support staff for the Standing Committee on Education. Within the Education program, she works on a variety of grant projects as well as with the Legislative Education Staff Network (LESN). She writes the program's monthly report, assists with technical assistance to states, maintains a variety of files and is a contact to advocates and legislative staff. Barbara is experienced in handling logistical situations, bulk mailings, editing reports and budgets.
Issue Areas: all manner of administrative support
Phone number: 303-364-7700 x 1429
Michelle Camacho Liu
Michelle Camacho Liu is an education policy specialist for the National Conference of State Legislatures covering higher education issues. Michelle tracks postsecondary education legislation and provides legislators and their staff resources and information on a variety of postsecondary issues including college access and success, and improving Latino student success. Prior to NCSL, Michelle worked with Colorado Youth Matter providing research and technical assistance on the sexual health of youth and science-based approaches to teen pregnancy prevention to community providers. She also worked and continues to volunteer with the Denver Scholarship Foundation, providing information to students and parents on preparing for college. Michelle holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Riverside and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Denver.
Issue Areas: higher education, college access and success, community college, veterans, workforce development, Latino student success
Phone number: 303-364-7700 x 1531
Senior Policy Specialist
Sara Shelton is a senior policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures. She manages NCSL's education leadership and governance work and staffs the Legislative Education Staff Network (LESN). During her time at NCSL, Sara has tracked a variety of education issues, overseen the program's legislative tracking and written several policy briefs on emerging topics. Prior to joining NCSL in 2004, Sara served as an AmeriCorps Team Leader and VISTA member in Montana. Sara has a Bachelor of Science in Forest Resource Management from the University of Montana and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Colorado at Denver.
Issue Areas: leaders, governance
Phone number: 303-364-7700 x 1647
Dan Thatcher previously covered education finance at the National Conference of State Legislatures from 2006 to 2010. Beginning September 2011, he returns to cover education finance, Common Core State Standards (CCSS), and education data systems. With funding from the Gates and Hewlett Foundations, he currently tracks how states most effectively reallocate scarce resources for education during an era of diminishing state revenues. Dan also tracks CCSS implementation and education data systems. Dan has worked with state legislators in a variety of capacities for ten years, including service as a Hinckley Intern in the Utah State Legislature in 2004. Dan received his BS in political science from the University of Utah and his law degree from the Sturm College of Law, University of Denver.
Issue Areas: education finance, education finance litigation, Common Core State Standards, data systems
Phone number: 303-364-7700 x 1647
Senior Policy Specialist
Ashley Wallace has been a senior policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures since 2008. Ashley is responsible for providing state legislators and their staff with research, technical assistance and opportunities to exchange ideas on out-of-school time legislation, as well as school calendar issues. She also provides technical assistance to statewide afterschool networks. Ashley draws on an extensive policy background. Prior to joining NCSL, she was the Manager of Public Policy and Advocacy for Save the Children’s U.S. Programs, working on afterschool and early childhood education. Ashley has also served as the Director of Federal Relations for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.). In that role, she also worked extensively with state affiliates and coalitions around state legislative agendas. For seven years, Ashley worked as legislative staff in the U.S. House of Representatives, working on various policy issues, including education and children’s issues. Ashley holds degrees in International Studies and Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs from Miami University.
Issue areas: afterschool, summer learning, school calendar issues, out-of-school time, extended school day/year, four day school weeks
Phone number: 303-364-7700 x 1655
WASHINGTON, D.C. OFFICE
Lee White Posey is a committee director working with the Education Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). She conducts NCSL lobbying activities in education, representing state positions and concerns to Congress and the Administration. Lee has been at NCSL since 1999. Her NCSL experience includes four years as committee director for the Human Services and Welfare Committee and the Agriculture and Energy Committee. Before coming to NCSL, Lee was a policy analyst for the Georgia Senate, focusing on education and child care issues. In that position, she staffed the standing Senate Education Committee and various interim education study committees. She also worked for the Education Development Division of the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget while in Georgia, performing research on education issues, analyzing budget requests from education agencies, assisting education agencies in implementing programs and policies, and analyzing state and federal legislation affecting education.She holds a Masters degree in Political Science from Georgia State University and a Bachelors degree from Davidson College.
Issue Areas: Federal education issues, NCSL Education Committee
Phone number: 202-624-5400 x 8196