Keel Hunt

President, The Strategy Group

Keel Hunt is president and founder of The Strategy Group, a public affairs consulting business established in Nashville in 1993. Prior to establishing The Strategy Group, Mr. Hunt was affiliated with The Ingram Group for four years. He has extensive consulting experience and has consulted to some of Tennessee’s largest institutions – from Ingram Industries and BellSouth, to Vanderbilt University and The Frist Foundation. He has advised important initiatives like the Meharry-General Hospital merger in 1994, the campaign for the “School Improvement Plan” in 1998, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts which opened in 2001, the new Schermerhorn Symphony Center, the forthcoming downtown ballpark for the Nashville Sounds, and the proposed Museum of African American Music, Art and Culture. He is a trustee of the Country Music Foundation, serves on the board of directors of the Center for Nonprofit Management, and is a member of the CABLE Advisory Council. In addition to consulting, Mr. Hunt has served as the staff director (executive vice president) of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and as a high-level state official in Tennessee, including positions such as the special assistant to the Governor, coordinator of the Governor’s Policy Group, and executive director of the Tennessee State Planning Office. He received his M.S. from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, and attended the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

Julie E. Koppich

President, J. Koppich & Associates

Julia Koppich is a San Francisco-based education consultant and president of J. Koppich & Associates. Her areas of specialization include education policy analysis and public sector labor relations. Dr. Koppich is the author of numerous articles and co-author of two books: A Union of Professionalsand United Mind Workers: Unions and Teaching in the Knowledge Society. Her prior experience includes teaching at the University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University, the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, and Claremont Graduate University. She has also served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Education, the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, National Governors’ Association, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the National Alliance of Business, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and the National Science Foundation. Dr. Koppich holds a Ph.D. in Educational Administration and Policy Analysis from the University of California, Berkeley.

Omar López

Founder/CEO, Corporation for Public School Education K16

Omar López is the founder and CEO of the Corporation for Public School Education K16 (CPSE). Dr. López was the Director for the College Success Initiative at the non-profit Just for the Kids – now a partner of the National Center for Educational Accountability. His directive focused on increasing student college participation and success in Texas public universities and colleges. He has also served in policy research positions at all three Texas government agencies that oversee education: the Texas Education Agency (TEA), the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC), and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (CB). While in those positions, Dr. López completed a landmark study on teacher and student factors that directly influence educational productivity in elementary classrooms. He also designed and managed the Accountability System for Educator Preparation (ASEP) – the only higher education accountability system of its kind in the United States today. More recently, his study on the relationship between the Texas high-school curriculum and college success led to the justification of the Texas law making the college-preparatory high-school program the default for all incoming freshmen. Dr. López received an MBA from the University of California at Irvine, and an MSBA in strategic planning from the University of Southern California. He also earned his PhD in strategy and educational policy from The University of Texas at Austin.