How Do EPFP Alumni Describe the Program?
From the perspective of an urban public school district official, the EPFP Program was an invaluable resource of relevant and timely information; providing invaluable perspective on a wide variety of key educational issues. More importantly, however, the EPFP Program entirely transformed my behavior as a citizen; compelling me to advocate for my beliefs and empowering me to engage the political process with zeal and fervor.
Dr. Robert W. Culp (EPFP 2010-2011)
Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction
Allentown School District
As a person who has entered the field of public education through an unusual path, the EPFP was an invaluable source for me to get in touch with the issues, the jargon and the complexity of public education. Meeting so many bright and interesting Fellows has brought a huge diversity to our discussions and helped me see our issues from many perspectives. Now, when I am sitting in leadership meetings in our school district, I am able to add positively and knowledgeably to the conversation. Finally as an Art Director, I was able to help other districts who might have been struggling with their programs and show them how to create new opportunities for students. It was a great journey and I feel like I am part of a very exclusive club.
Mark A. Stutz (EPFP 2012-2013)
Director of Visual and Performing Arts
Parkland School District
The opportunity to network with top educational professionals across the state is not one to be missed. Having said that, the most valuable benefit to the Fellowship Program was the complete analysis of education in Pennsylvania. Highly qualified panelists present about K-12, Higher Education, Education/Community Partnerships, and Governmental Affairs as they pertain to education in Pennsylvania. This is a must for educational and governmental leaders across the state.
Dr. Erin Carlin (EPFP 2012-2013)
YTI Career Institute
As a Fellow, I have been encouraged to take a broader view of education and the components that impact state and national education policy.
Dr. Phyllis Miller (EPFP 2011-2012)
Education Certification Coordinator
The EPLC program has far exceeded my expectations. Not only has the program kept me informed and up-to-date with the latest educational policy news, it has afforded me the opportunity to gain the perspective of and work directly with people I otherwise would not have had the opportunity to work with on crucial educational issues affecting the Commonwealth. EPFP has been, by far, one of the most valuable programs in which I have invested my time.
Michael R. Wilson (EPFP 2011-2012)
Special Assistant to the Secretary
Pennsylvania Department of Education
Each Fellow has a vested interest in education, and EPLC provides the resources and tools to further enhance your ability to improve education for all Pennsylvanians.
Eric R. Holtzman (EPFP 2012-2013)
Tuscarora School District
The speakers’ expertise and the quality of the Fellowship Program have been inspiring. The Program has opened my eyes to the importance of electing state and local leaders who value education. It has also been a wonderful experience to work with other educators on group policy projects to attempt to tackle real world educational problems.
Edward Garcia Fierros, Ph.D. (EPFP 2012-2013)
Associate Professor and Chairperson, Department of Education and Counseling
I knew the Fellows Program would be a professional “stretch” for me. It has not disappointed and I have learned a great deal about the inner-workings of our educational systems.
Dr. Steven T. Williams (EPFP 2012-2013)
Associate Professor of Mathematics and Coordinator of the Secondary Mathematics Education Program
Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania
PA EPFP has provided me an eye opening opportunity to learn about state and national educational policy which ultimately impacts Human Capital management efforts throughout the U.S. Because I believe that children and young people are America’s greatest asset and that public education is the key to creating and maintaining a great and civil society, it’s critical to understand how government and politics impacts education policy and programs. It’s been a privilege to participate with so many dedicated professionals who are truly committed to the importance of education in the U.S.
Colonel Julie Manta (EPFP 2005-2006)
Director, Human Resources Management
U.S. Army War College
The Fellowship Program has been an extremely worthwhile experience, which far exceeded my expectations. It gave me a greater understanding of the factors that shape and/or change education policy in Pennsylvania. The networking and relationships that I established with the other Fellows in the program was tremendous and will be very valuable to me throughout the remainder of my career.
Keith Ramsey (EPFP 2009-2010)
Chief of Finance and Operations
Eastern Lancaster County School District
The EPLC Fellowship Program is truly one of the most powerful learning experiences in the study of state educational policy that one can find anywhere. The presentations from state education policymakers combined with a highly diverse group of fellowship program participants create a program that is rich in program content and rewarding in the new friendships established.
Jim Buckheit (EPFP 2004-2005)
Pennsylvania State Board of Education
The Fellowship Program is an excellent opportunity to learn from the leaders and policy makers in Pennsylvania and Washington whose decisions impact the students in our classrooms every day. The exchange of ideas, the knowledge and commitment of the staff, and the relationships built throughout the year offer a rich and varied learning experience unlike any other.
W. Gerard Oleksiak (EPFP 2011-2012)
Pennsylvania State Education Association
The EPLC program is, by far, the most valuable professional development experience that I have attended in my 15 years in public education. I have formed networks with professionals outside of public education that I did not expect to find. I have explored topics and contemplated problems that I did not expect to encounter. I have stretched my mind in ways that have caused me to open myself up to new ideas and new ways of thinking.
Amy Stewart (EPFP 2005-2006)
Director of Technology / Information Management
Warren County School District
The EPFP provides young leaders with the opportunity to learn policy, fellowship with key educational leaders around the Commonwealth and develop necessary leadership skills that will impact and influence their community.
Lisa Waller (EPFP 2005-2006)
Director, SciTech High School
Harrisburg School District
I thoroughly enjoyed my experience this year. I have grown so much as a leader, from the presentations and the group interaction. I feel much more secure in my new role as a school leader.
Camilla Kasales (EPFP 2009-2010)
Administrative Support and Curriculum Manager
Commonwealth Connections Academy
During my year as a fellow in the EPLC, my eyes were opened to the critical importance of educator involvement in policy processes. I specifically recall hearing Dr. Jerry Zahorchak and Dr. Bob Feir speak of serving as School Board Directors. As a direct result of this learning on my part, I made a personal commitment to “practice what I preach” and to follow in their footsteps. I ran for a school board position in the Brentwood Boro School District in November, 2004. I won the seat, and now serve as a Board Director for the Boro of Brentwood. Further, I am presently the Chairperson of the Policy Committee and the PSBA Representative for the board. Through serving in these capacities, I seek to contribute to the students, parents, and community members of my district and of the Commonwealth. None of this would have happened were it not for my fellowship in the EPLC.
Dr. Claudia A. Balaich (EPFP 2003-2004)
Teacher Quality Enhancement Project Director
Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
The Fellowship Program provides a forum for a variety of people in the education field. It was eye-opening to see issues from so many points of view.
Jennifer Waltz (EPFP 2005-2006)
The EPLC Fellowship program brings together a diverse group of education stakeholders who discuss and debate issues that are important to the field of education. It is a stimulating learning experience for all participants.
James R. Weaver (EPFP 2001-2002)
Pennsylvania State Education Association
This program has not only provided me the impetus to become more proactive in the development of policy for Higher Education but has re-kindled my motivation as a public servant. Thank you for this opportunity.
Aimee Alapack (EPFP 2004-2005)
Assistant Vice President, Technology Services Research and Policy Analysis, AES/PHEAA
As a public school teacher, I sometimes feel isolated in trying to meet all of my student’s needs. The Fellowship Program has shown me that there is a wonderful network of support for my students and me. When teachers, administrators, education agencies, school board members, and the army work together, the synergism is incredible. This year provided me with one of the best professional and personal growth opportunities of my career.
Ann Schweighofer (EPFP 2004-2005)
Instructional Support Teacher
Wayne Highlands School District
The EPFP program and cohort model has been one of the most significant and relevant educational experiences I have had in my educational career of over 40 years. Being surrounded by colleagues whose expertise spans political, educational, social and civic acumen and advocacy has enabled each participant to self-reflect on their ability to become real change agents for beneficial social and political policy. I am honored and privileged to have had the opportunity to participate is such a synergistic program.
Al Grande (EPFP 2004-2005)
Assistant Professor of Educational Administration
The EPFP brings the educator to the next level and converts conversation into commitment. No educator’s training is complete without this experience.
Tom Chapman (EPFP 2004-2005)
Reading School District
The EPFP immerses Fellows in a unique blend of education policy, analysis, national networking and leadership training. As a direct result of EPFP, I’ve developed relationships with Fellows throughout Pennsylvania and in several other states (including program alumni). Anyone serious about education policy and leadership will find EPFP benefits far exceed the required investment.
Brian Petula (EPFP 2003-2004)
There is no better way to gain a more thorough and integrated understanding of policy options in Pennsylvania’s complex educational systems than to participate in the Education Policy Fellowship Program. It is a superb way to break down barriers of geography, specialization, and life experience in order to focus on the needs of 21st Century students.
Representative Mark Cohen (EPFP 2002-2003)
Chairman, House Democratic Caucus
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
I have participated in numerous professional development programs during my 30 years as an administrator and none of them have provided me with so much relevant information that could be immediately applicable to my administrative position.
Dr. Mary Frances Archey (EPFP 2002-2003)
Dean of Arts and Sciences
Community College of Allegheny County – South Campus
The EPLC Fellows program has been educational, motivational, and the best professional development experience of my life. It enhanced my role as a state leader and gave me the opportunity to network with so many people who believe in public education and the future of children in Pennsylvania.
Carol S. Ritter (EPFP 2002-2003)
President, Pennsylvania PTA
Board Member, Northampton School District
This program provided a wonderful opportunity to listen and learn from different perspectives as we work together to improve educational results for all children.
Dr. Frances Warkomski (EPFP 2002-2003)
Director, Bureau of Special Education
Pennsylvania Department of Education