The Arts Education Partnership (AEP), a national coalition of more than 100 education, arts, business, cultural, government and philanthropic organizations, has selected Jane Best as its new director. AEP is a national center within the Education Commission of the States with a mission to ensure that every child receives a complete and competitive education that includes the arts.

AEP serves as a partner to state policymakers by providing arts education research, reports, personalized support and opportunities to convene within states and across states to interact and learn from one another. The National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. Department of Education fund AEP’s operations and are active members of its national coalition.

“I’m delighted Jane is going to be leading the AEP team,” said Ayanna Hudson, director of Arts Education for the National Endowment for the Arts. “Her wealth of knowledge will help AEP move forward while continuing to serve as the nation’s hub for individuals and organizations committed to making high-quality arts education accessible to all U.S. students.”

Prior to joining AEP, Best served as the chief strategy officer for McREL International, an educational research and development nonprofit organization, and as chief development officer for My Student Survey. She has served as an expert and researcher on education policy in a variety of roles, including as a senior policy associate for Learning Point Associates. Best started her career as a French and English language arts teacher, has a minor in Art History and obtained her Ph.D. in education policy from Vanderbilt University.

“Jane’s passion and vision really stood out during the interview process. I’m confident her leadership will bring high-level insight and energy to AEP,” said Doug Herbert, special assistant and team leader for the Arts in Education program at the U.S. Department of Education.

Established in 1995 by the National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. Department of Education, AEP analyzes and disseminates research and policy information, fosters dialogue about what works in arts education and supports states for improved education policy and practice in the arts.

“It’s quite evident Jane’s leadership qualities are a natural fit to lead AEP,” said Pam Breaux, CEO of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. “Jane’s presence will be essential to AEP’s commitment to providing key research and information while creating collaboration opportunities between arts disciplines.”

A national search was conducted for the director with the search committee led by arts education experts from AEP partner organizations. Organizations included the National Endowment for the Arts, U.S. Department of Education, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, National Association of Elementary School Principals, Grantmakers for Education, Afterschool and Community Learning Network and Education Commission of the States.

“Working with a full range of education leaders will be a necessity and Jane’s wide range of experience in education policy as well as the arts will be a huge asset to the organization,” said Jeremy Anderson, president of Education Commission of the States.

Best will assume her role as director on April 4, 2016. AEP became a policy center with Education Commission of the Sates at the start of 2016. Believing that informed policymakers create better education policy, Education Commission of the States provides state leaders with unbiased policy research and reporting, targeted technical support and the opportunity to learn from peers in other states. Visit AEP online at aep-arts.org. Visit Education Commission of the States online at ecs.org


 PUBLISHED: March 21, 2016

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