Texas Tech University

Texas Tech Welcomes Education Policy Fellowship Program 2023-24 Cohort

Lauren Brownell

August 25, 2023

Education Building

The 11 members will participate in a 10-month intensive professional development program for emerging and mid-level leaders in education and education-related fields.

Texas Tech University is pleased to welcome its fifth cohort of the Texas Education Policy Fellowship Program (TX-EPFP), a professional development program coordinated by faculty in the College of Education within the Center for Innovative Research in Change, Leadership, and Education (CIRCLE). Its purpose is to support education professionals who seek to enhance their knowledge of education policy, build their policy leadership skills, and expand their networks in the education policy space in Texas.

“This is a special moment as we welcome our fifth cohort of fellows to the Texas site of the Education Policy Fellowship Program,” said Rebecca Hite, founding director of the TX-EPFP and associate professor of STEM Education in the College of Education. “We welcome this opportunity to equip, enhance and amplify the great work of these curriculum and instructional leaders as they learn and apply their knowledge, leadership and networks to state and national level education policy activities.”

The TX-EPFP is affiliated with the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) in Washington, D.C. The Texas state site has been coordinated by the College of Education at Texas Tech since 2019. Hite acts as director with associate professors Hugo García and Jessica Gottlieb serving as co-directors.

The members of the 2023-24 class of TX-EPFP fellows are:

  • Jasmine Booker of Hockley, Dean of Instruction at Yes Prep Public Schools
  • Nancy Cruz Rodriguez of Grand Prairie, Elementary Teacher at Grand Prairie ISD
  • Tiffany Ekpete of Plano, Director of SEL Development (7 Mindsets Academy, LLC) and Instructional Leader (Gateway Charter Academy)
  • Shkela King of Rosharon, Teacher Project Lead at Houston ISD
  • Adlena Jacobs of Wills Point, Director and Coordinator of CTE/CCMR at Wills Point ISD
  • Lisa McNeill of Katy, Accelerated Learning Program Lead at The Varnett Public School
  • Loni Lawson-Abron of Alvarado, Special Education Teacher at Dallas ISD.
  • Sara Lewis of Mansfield, Science Instructional Coach at Mansfield ISD.
  • Alaina Peppard of Lubbock, Teacher at Lubbock ISD.
  • Rohit Walthare of Nashville (Tennessee), Data Scientist.
  • Kaleesa White of El Paso, Elementary Science Teacher at Ysleta ISD. 

To read fellows' biographies and leadership statements, please visit the TX-EPFP website and click on the “meet the 2023-2024 TX-EPFP fellows” link.


The program provides rich and robust experiences to both educate and empower participants in their work for sound education policy and practice in Texas. Fellows participate in a variety of independent, small- and large-group activities to enhance their knowledge of education policy, build leadership skills and expand professional networks. The program features leadership and policy meetings and two major events, where fellows have the opportunity to interact with top education officials.

The 2023-24 cohort of TX-EPFP fellows will meet regularly from August through May and will participate in a fall retreat in Austin and a Washington Policy Seminar in the spring coordinated by IEL in Washington, D.C. Fellows will join a network of 10,000 alumni in all 50 states, including state legislators, university presidents, school superintendents, state teachers of the year and leaders of nonprofits and foundations.