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About the Center

About the Center for Education Policy and Leadership (CEPL)

Leadership, Knowledge, Impact. 

Established in 2005, the Center for Education Policy and Leadership (CEPL) is part of the Riley Institute at Furman. CEPL’s work centers on the belief that every child in South Carolina should have access to a quality public education that prepares them for success in the highly competitive knowledge-based economy. The Center works in South Carolina and nationally to promote discussion and understanding of important education issues; to expand research-based, effective education practices; to build leadership capacity among public education supporters and future leaders; and to bring together stakeholders in education, business, politics, and the public to create meaningful and sustainable change on the ground.

CEPL has worked with such national and local foundations and organizations as the Chalsty Family Foundation, Duke Endowment, KnowledgeWorks, C.S. Mott Foundation, Sylvan Laureate Foundation, the, South Carolina Department of Education, South Carolina Education Oversight Committee, Self Family Foundation of Greenwood, TransformSC, United States Department of Education, and more.


LEADERSHIP  CEPL helps build leadership capacity in public education through the national White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellowship. It engages and educates future leaders through its Emerging Public Leaders and Advantage Scholars programs.





CREATING AND SHARING KNOWLEDGE  CEPL’s landmark Hewlett Foundation-funded study of public education created a “road map” for what public education needed to be and do in South Carolina. The WhatWorksSC web-based tool connects that study’s high-consensus findings to effective practices already on the ground in the state. The annual Dick and Tunky Riley award spotlights excellence in education initiatives in South Carolina. The Center’s growing research and analysis work supports the expansion of effective education practices in South Carolina and nationally.


IMPACT  CEPL partners with KnowledgeWorks and education leaders in the state to build a statewide network of college access- and STEM-focused New Tech schools. It supports the spread of quality project-based learning in South Carolina by working with four colleges of education in the state to create coursework for an add-on teaching credential for project-based learning. It enhances the teaching of government in South Carolina by annually taking a group of middle and high school teachers for an intensive summer institute in Washington, DC. It improves afterschool opportunities for children across the country by teaching education leaders how to advocate for supportive policies.

For information about the Riley Institute’s education policy programs call Riley Institute associate director and Center for Education Policy and Leadership leader Jacki Martin at 864.294.3578 or email