October 31, 2019Event Recap

The Results for America State Education Fellows Reconvene in DC

State/ State Education Fellows/ 2019/

On October 2-4, 2019, Results for America’s State Education Fellows reconvened for the third time this year in Washington, DC to participate in RFA’s What Works to Advance Economic Mobility Summit, where participants heard courageous ideas about how to improve the lives of kids, families, and their communities from national data and evidence “champions.” Following the Summit, Fellows gathered for a second day to share and discuss progress each state team has made toward accelerating the use of data and evidence to drive improvement in their districts and schools.


During the convening, Fellows were joined by current and former State Education Agency (SEA) chiefs to discuss why the use of evidence is important and how, when properly harnessed, it can advance states’ equity goals. Said former New Mexico Chief Christopher Ruszkowski, “Using data and evidence upped my ‘batting average’ when it came to wins for kids.” In addition, Fellows explored topics such as effective strategies for managing change in complex and often changing systems, and tools to strengthen cross-sector data sharing and collaboration in service of better outcomes for youth and their families. 

Featured speakers included:

  • Hanseul Kang, State Superintendent of Education, District of Columbia, Office of the State Superintendent of Education
  • Candice McQueen, CEO, National Institute for Excellence in Teaching and Former State Chief, Tennessee Department of Education
  • Christopher Ruszkowski, Distinguished Policy Fellow, Stanford University and Former State Chief, New Mexico Department of Education
  • Sam Quinney, Director of The Lab @ DC, Executive Office of the Mayor, Washington, DC
  • Nick Rodriguez, Director, Delivery Associates
  • Lindsay Fryer, Vice President, Penn Hill Group and Former Senior Education Policy Advisor to Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) on the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee
  • Dawn Hagness, Assistant Superintendent, Humboldt County School District
  • Karen Holley, Coordinator, State and Federal Programs, Nye Schools, Nevada
  • Lynn Jennings, Senior Director of National and State Partnerships, The Education Trust
  • Gabby Lamarre, Title I Director and Federal Liaison, Nevada Department of Education

Fellows also participated in the release of RFA’s 2019 Invest in What Works State Standard of Excellence which showcases 125 leading and promising data-driven, evidence-based practices, policies, programs, and systems from 33 states. The number of leading and promising education examples increased by 300% between 2018 and 2019 – growth that can be attributed to state education agencies’ (SEA) increased attention to, and investments in, building and using evidence to improve results for students.

During the convening, RFA released “Shifting Dollars to Improve Student Outcomes: Five Ways to Prioritize Evidence in State and Local Spending Decisions,” a roadmap states and school districts can use to guide local efforts to make evidence more central to their budgeting and spending decisions. This report is a companion to a new and soon-to-be publicly released case study featuring the Nevada Department of Education’s comprehensive and successful efforts to drive improved student outcomes by leveraging ESSA to redirect more than $200 million annually in federal and state funding toward evidence-based programs and practices. 

Results for America’s State Education Fellowship program, founded in December 2017, is helping 27 state education agency officials from 13 leading states leverage opportunities under ESSA to make data and evidence more central to their efforts to improve outcomes for their students.

Learn more about RFA’s work to help education leaders use and build evidence to improve student outcomes here.