The NCSL Blog


By Alison May

Early Learning Fellows logoThe NCSL Early Learning Fellows program is at it again. This is the fourth year of the program and NCSL Early Care and Education project staff are excited to kick off the program and to meet the newly appointed group of fellows at the first meeting of the year, Aug. 2-3, 2015, in Seattle.

The Early Learning Fellows program is designed to support legislators and legislative staff who are experienced or emerging leaders on early childhood and early learning issues.

  • The program is specifically designed to:
  • Build knowledge among legislators and staff about new research and policy
  • Promote exchange of ideas and solutions related to early learning, the early achievement gap, and many other issues.
  • Introduce and connect legislators to other legislative leaders.
  • Provide fellows with a practical early learning plan they can use in their state.
  • Facilitate access to leading researchers and policy experts.

The selection process for the 2015 Early Learning Fellows began in mid-April 2015 as letters and nomination requests were sent to legislative leader’s offices in almost every state and chamber. If you are interested in learning more about the nomination, application and selection process visit the Early Learning Fellow Selection Process on our website.

The 2015 NCSL Early Learning Fellows class is composed of legislators and staff from 16 states.

The fellows are: 

  • Representative Raumesh Akbari (D-Tenn.)
  • Councilmember Charles Allen (D-D.C.)
  • Representative Sarah Buxton (D-Vt.)
  • Senator Danny Carroll (R-Ky.)
  • Representative Joyce Chandler (R-Ga.)
  • Representative Cathy Connolly (D- Wyo.)
  • Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Mass.)
  • Representative Mary Franson (R-Minn.)
  • Representative Cedric R. Hayden (R-Ore.)
  • Representative Mark S. Kinner (R-Wyo.)
  • Representative Susan Lontine (D-Colo.)
  • Liz Mahn, research associate from New Jersey
  • Senator Carla Nelson (R-Minn.)
  • Representative Garry Piiparinen (R-Wyo.)
  • Senator Arnie Roblan (D-Ore.)
  • Senate Minority Leader Quinton T. Ross, Jr. (D-Ala.)
  • Senate Assistant Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz (D-N.J.)
  • Matthew Simon, legislative research analyst from Arizona
  • Representative V. Lowry Snow (R-Utah)
  • Senator Alan Solano (R-S.D.)
  • Dorothy Spence, deputy legislative director Office of Speaker of the House from Oregon
  • Senator Howard Stephenson (R-Utah)
  • Assemblyman Lynn D. Stewart (R-Nev.)
  • Representative Kelly Townsend (R-Ariz.)
  • Representative Susan Westrom (D-Ky.)

Fellows are expected to participate in two face-to-face meetings and two webinars during the course of the program. The face-to-face meetings will take place in Seattle and Denver in early August and October respectively, and the webinars will each follow one month after the face-to-face meetings.

Be sure to visit the 2015 Early Learning Fellows Web page that will be periodically updated with meeting materials and specific work being done by fellows in the states to improve the lives of children and their families. Additionally, NCSL staff will blog about the meetings shortly after their conclusion.

NCSL’s Early Learning Fellows program is made possible by grants from the Alliance for Early Success, the Bezos Family Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Heising-Simons Foundation and Mattel Inc.

Alison May is a staff coordinator with the NCSL Children and Families Program.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.