Governor Jim Hunt

Governor Jim Hunt

Governor James B. Hunt, Jr. has devoted much of his life to his vision for education excellence. The son of a public school teacher, Gov. Hunt grew up in rural eastern North Carolina with imprints of his mother’s teaching that every student can learn and that all deserve a high-quality education. It is his vision and imprint that has guided him throughout his life to improve student performances and be nationally renowned as The Education Governor.

After more than 50 years of public service, including a historic fourth term as governor of North Carolina, Gov. Hunt continues to lead the way to rebuild America’s public education system, especially in these economically challenging times. He believes that America’s education system can rise to the top and compete globally if we prepare our children for success in college, career and the 21st century. In order to meet this challenge, education leaders at all levels must understand the issues and have clear and concise information.

To help achieve his mission, The Hunt Institute – or as it was officially branded at that time, The James B. Hunt, Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy – was established by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors in September 2001 as a nonpartisan center for educational policy and leadership. In 2008, the chancellor invited the Institute to become an affiliated center at UNC Chapel Hill, housed on campus at the Center for School Leadership Development. It was not long before we outgrew that location and relocated to our current office in Durham, North Carolina.

In 2016, the Institute became an independent, nonprofit entity and joined forces with Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy to pursue research, educational partnerships and events related to improving education policy.

Under the leadership of Gov. Hunt and Dr. Javaid Siddiqi, The Hunt Institute’s President & CEO, the Institute works effortlessly in a nonpartisan way to design strategy, shape policy, and drive educational improvements on the national and state levels. Using our depth and breadth of knowledge, we bring together resources and experts from across the country, inspiring visionary leadership and dialogue, and mobilizing strategic action to serve as a catalyst for transforming public education and securing America’s future through a quality public education for all. The Hunt Institute is the only organization in the nation exclusively dedicated to empowering governors, policymakers, and other educational leaders in the development and implementation of comprehensive strategies for the transformation of public education.

We have the power to change the educational achievement of our children and their future. And we have the ability to meet and overcome these challenges through continued education of others who can lead the vision.” – Governor Jim Hunt

Left Arrow Right Arrow

March 2001 – The University of North Carolina Office of the President received authorization to plan The James B. Hunt, Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy.

September 14, 2001 – The University of North Carolina System establishes The James B. Hunt, Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy.

November 27, 2001 – Articles of Incorporation filed with the Secretary of State of North Carolina.

February 2002 – First public activity co-sponsored with Duke University. The Education Leadership Summit. The Summit represents the first time that the current U.S. Secretary of Education and all five living former secretaries gathered together.

June 2002 – Dr. Judith A. Rizzo named first Executive Director and CEO.

June 2002 – The Hunt Institute Foundation Board of Directors is established.

December 1-2, 2002 – The Inaugural Governors Education Symposium.

November 19-20, 2003 – The Inaugural North Carolina Legislators Retreat.

September 21, 2005 – The Inaugural Lieutenant Governors Education Symposium

2006 – The launch of The Hunt Institute’s website,

2006 – The Hunt Institute launches inquiry into feasibility of high rigorous standards that are consistent from state-to-state.

October 2007 – The National Strategy Forum: Supporting & Staffing High-Needs Schools, co-sponsored with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and National Education Association.

December 1, 2007 – The first North Carolina Science Summit.

June 2008 – The inaugural Issue of Blueprint, the policy primer of The Hunt Institute.

2008 – The National Research Council completed a study of state level student achievement standards.

December 2008 – The State Legislative Leaders Education Symposium, co-sponsored with the State Legislative Leaders Foundation.

December 2008 – The inaugural issue of coNCepts, a state-specific policy primer of The Hunt Institute.

November 2009 – The Tri-State Summit: Meeting the Needs of Disadvantaged Youth in the Afterschool Hours, co-sponsored with the Georgia Afterschool Investment Council, the North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs, and the South Carolina Afterschool Alliance.

2010 – The inaugural issue of Did You Know?, the North Carolina education policy fact sheet of The Hunt Institute.

April 2010 – Connect to College: How States can use College Credit-in-High School to improve College Readiness for Underserved Students, co-sponsored with Jobs for the Future.

April 2011 – The first of the North Carolina Legislative Dinner Series.

November 2011 – Blueprint publication replaced by re:VISION.

May 2011 – Defining Alignment and Achieving College Readiness: The Roles of Higher Education Organizations and Leaders in the Implementation of the Common Core State Standards co-sponsored with the State Higher Education Executive Officers.

August 1, 2012 – The launch of The Hunt Institute’s blog, The Intersection. (

October 2012 – Advancing a Statewide College and Career Readiness Agenda, co-hosted with the Southern Regional Education Board in Atlanta, GA.

December 2012 – The 10th Annual North Carolina Legislators Retreat

December 2012 – The Hunt Institute renames the North Carolina Legislators Retreat the Governor Jim Holshouser Legislative Retreat.

2013 – The James B. Hunt, Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy is officially rebranded as “The Hunt Institute” to Celebrate 10 years of empowering policymakers and driving non-partisan educational improvement.

January 2014 – Launch of the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows program

May 5-7, 2014 – Readiness Matters | State Collaboration for Success, hosted by The Hunt Institute, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), and the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) in Atlanta, GA.

December 2014 – Inaugural meeting of Cohort 1 Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows

January 2015 – Holshouser Legislators Retreat

May 2015 – State Farm Scholar Announced

May 2015 – Hunt Institute Website Redesigned

August 2015 – Final meeting of Cohort 1 Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows.

November 2015 – Hunt Institute, Virginia House Education Committee, and UVA host 2nd Annual House Education Committee Summit –Nov. 9-10, 2015, Charlottesville, VA

February 2016 – Hunt Institute cohosts ESSA, Opportunities and Responsibilities: A First Look at the Every Student Succeeds Act with the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) and the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) – February 26-27, 2016, Atlanta

July 2016 – Hunt Institute Foundation becomes a 501c3 nonprofit organization – July 1, 2016

July 2016 – Hunt Institute becomes an affiliate of the Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy – July 2016

August 2016 – Dr. Javaid Siddiqi named Executive Director & CEO – August 1, 2016

January 2017 – Hunt Institute And WV Public Education Consortium host first West Virginia Legislators’ Forum on Education and the Economy – January 26-27, 2017, Morgantown, WV

Core Beliefs

An affiliate of the Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy, The Hunt Institute bases its work on the following core beliefs: