Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill has been selected to participate in the seventh group of the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows program. This group of national leaders has been recognized for having the knowledge, skill and will to be effective education policymakers at the state level. The program is an initiative of The Hunt Institute, an education policy non-profit founded in 2001 by former North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt.
Merrill will join 29 other elected officials from across the country in Cohort 7, bringing the total number of Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows to 141, which includes Senate Pro Tem Greg Reed (Cohort 4) from Alabama. The program currently includes six sitting governors: Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Idaho Gov. Brad Little, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves and Utah Gov. Spencer Cox.
“Every student in this state deserves access to a high-quality education from a well-resourced school,” said Merrill. “I am honored to join this cohort of Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows aimed at strengthening education in our state. I am incredibly grateful to The Hunt Institute for this opportunity to assist our local communities.”
Merrill spent 16 years working as the director of community relations and community education for the Tuscaloosa County Board of Education and has been recognized by numerous children’s advocacy organizations for his dedication to serving and supporting our schools and students.
The fellows program is named for Govs. Jim Hunt and Tom Kean, who understood that education is the most important investment we can make to strengthen our nation’s economy and society.
“Our vision is to provide policymakers with the core knowledge they need to promote effective education agendas. By investing in America’s policymakers, the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows is building a cadre of informed and motivated educational change agents with the necessary influence to transform state education systems and improve outcomes,” said Dr. Javaid Siddiqi, president and CEO of The Hunt Institute.