Introducing The Skillman Visionary Awards
K-12 Education

Punita Dani Thurman Appointed to Education Commission of the States

Punita ThurmanSkillman Foundation Vice President of Program and Strategy, Punita Dani Thurman, has been appointed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer to serve as a Commissioner with the Education Commission of the States. The Commissioners provide critical leadership for the Education Commission of the States, as well as their own states’ education agendas. As one of seven Commissioners from Michigan, Punita is recognized as a key figure in education policy in our state and will have the ability to inform policymakers on the issues that matter most to students and parents.

The Education Commission of the States serves as a partner to state policymakers and education leaders by providing personalized support, unbiased information and opportunities for collaboration. Through the organization’s programs and services, education leaders gain the trusted insight and experience needed to create a more effective education policy. The organization is non-partisan and serves policymakers in all 50 states.

As a partner to state policymakers, the Education Commission of the States provides support through the following methods:

  • Research: Compiling information on education policies ranging from early childhood through postsecondary education and workforce to empower state policymakers to make informed decisions.
  • Report: Regularly issuing relevant and timely reports providing education leaders with concise, factual overviews on the full spectrum of state education policies.
  • Counsel: Providing unbiased advice on policy plans, consulting on proposed legislation and testifying at legislative hearings and interim committees as third-party experts.
  • Convene: Bringing together education leaders within their state and across states to interact, collaborate and learn from one another.

Commissioners also play an active role in facilitating two-way communication between the state of Michigan and the Education Commission of the States. These responsibilities will include:

  • Assisting in the identification and sharing of key state policy issues with the Education Commission of the States.
  • Sharing Education Commission of the States’ resources with colleagues to increase awareness of the Education Commission of the States’ research, reports, counsel and convenings.
  • Encouraging engagement among fellow Commissioners in their state.
  • Attending and participating in the Commissioners business sessions held twice a year during the National Forum on Education Policy and the Winter Commissioners Meeting.

In this new role, Punita joins a talented team of leaders from across the state. Current members of the Education Commission of the States include:

  • Gretchen Whitmer, Governor, State of Michigan
  • Sheila Alles, Interim State Superintendent, Michigan Department of Education
  • Pamela Hornberger, Chair, House Education Committee, Michigan House of Representatives
  • Emily Laidlaw, Policy Director, Office of the Governor, State of Michigan
  • Kim LaSata, Chair, Universities and Colleges Subcommittee, Michigan Senate
  • Punita Dani Thurman, Vice President of Program and Strategy, The Skillman Foundation
  • Casandra E. Ulbrich, President, Michigan State Board of Education

The Skillman Foundation is honored to have Punita serve in this exciting new role and we look forward to supporting her work as she continues to advocate for Michigan students and families.

The Skillman Foundation

The Skillman Foundation is a grantmaking organization established in 1960 by Rose Skillman. We have granted out more than $730 million and have served as a vocal advocate to strengthen K-12 education, afterschool programming, child-centered neighborhoods, youth and community leadership, and racial equity and justice.

We are in the process of developing a new strategic framework, co-designed with Detroit youth and their champions.

Comments (2)

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  • Denise Butcher

    This display of information is excellent and is something that many other states should be adopting. I found out about the Skillman Foundation through reading the sponsors of a Skillman Foundation grantee, Bme Communities headed by Trabian Shorter whose video on ” Who Do You Think We Are”, was excellent. We are a Philadelphia-based organization working with some of our cities marginalized youth and are preparing a documentary. Does the Skillman Foundation fund projects outside of Detroit?

    • NFotias

      Hi Denise, Thanks for writing! The Skillman Foundation is focused on improving conditions and outcomes for Detroit kids specifically.

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