From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

ExcelinEd (EE), formerly registered as the Foundation for Excellence in Education, is a Florida-based 501(c)(3) non-profit founded by former Florida governor Jeb Bush in 2008. EE works "with partners and education leaders across the country to change lives through policies that prioritize early literacy, empower families with education choice, expand innovation, strengthen school performance and prepare students to transition from education to the workforce."[1]

EE is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council and an associate member of the State Policy Network (SPN).

News and Controversies

Special Interests Use ExcelinEd as a Backdoor Lobbying Vehicle

ExcelinEd supports the adoption of digital learning in public schools, which the Washington Post called "a costly transition that often requires new software and hardware". The publication also noted, "Many of those digital products are made by donors to Bush’s foundation, including Microsoft, Intel, News Corp., Pearson PLC and K12 Inc."[2]

Jeb Bush and ExcelinEd support Common Core standards. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a top EE donor, is the primary funder of the campaign.

Other policy goals of the foundation include:[2]

  • A-F report cards for schools
  • Tax vouchers for private schools
  • Expanding charter schools
  • Encouraging online learning and virtual charter schools

These policy goals are shared by ALEC's education agenda.

Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

As of December 2019, EE was a non-profit member of the American Legislative Exchange Council.[3]

Promoting Corporate Funders' Interests and Work With ALEC

In 2013, privatization watchdog In the Public Interest released emails from several states revealing correspondence between ExcelinEd and another Jeb Bush-founded group, Chiefs for Change, which consists of former and current state education leaders who support Bush's education privatization goals.[4]

In the Public Interest describes how ExcelinEd's promotion and production of laws, regulations, and executive orders on state education benefit corporate donors' profit opportunities and closely resemble the ALEC's education agenda.[4] EE arranged "Chief for Change donor meetings" where education officials collaborated with corporations profiting from providing education materials and technologies that policies promote. Legislation edited by EE and originally written by ALEC has already been proposed in Maine and Florida. The Maine legislation which would eliminate class size caps and student-teacher ratios, allowing public dollars to flow to online schools and classes and prevent local school districts from limiting access to virtual schools. The Florida legislation has increased the use of a proprietary test which is provided by Pearson, an FEE donor.[4]

Additionally, ExcelinEd and ALEC share staff members and collaborate on the annual ALEC education “report card” which grades states’ adherence to ALEC priorities."[4]

Dave Myslinski, the former State Policy Director for Digital Learning Now! (an operation of ExcelinEd), is the former Staff Director on ALEC's Education Task Force.

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our ExposedbyCMD.org site.


ExcelinEd is not required to disclose its funders but major foundation supporters can be found through their IRS filings. Here are some known contributors:

Other known funders include:

Core Financials


  • Total Revenue: $9,312,355
  • Total Expenses: $9,230,317
  • Net Assets: $11,272,003


  • Total Revenue: $8,826,097
  • Total Expenses: $9,419,734
    • Total Lobbying Expenditures: $9,000
  • Net Assets: $10,192,093


  • Total Revenue: $11,216,090
  • Total Expenses: $10,289,381
    • Total Lobbying Expenditures: $36,000
  • Net Assets: $10,537,312


  • Total Revenue: $7,399,472
  • Total Expenses: $10,576,454
  • Net Assets: $8,936,680


  • Total Revenue: $8,433,886
  • Total Expenses: $10,542,940
    • Total Lobbying Expenditures: $50,046
  • Net Assets: $11,760,911


  • Total Revenue: $11,884,963
  • Total Expenses: $12,608,835
    • Total Lobbying Expenditures: $15,373
  • Net Assets: $13,760,911


  • Total Revenue: $11,416,212
  • Total Expenses: $10,355,530
  • Net Assets: $14,640,889


  • Total Revenue: $10,056,650
  • Total Expenses: $5,949,477
  • Net Assets: $13,599,985



As of April 2021:[1]

  • Patricia Levesque, Chief Executive Officer
  • Deena Reppen, Chief Operating Officer
  • Jennifer Diaz, Vice President, Communications
  • Lizzette Gonzalez Reynolds, Vice President, Policy
  • Tom Greene, Vice President, Advocacy
  • Jess Langhaim, Vice President, Development
  • Tim Abram, Associate Policy Director, Educational Opportunity
  • Liya Amelga, Managing Director, Strategy and Operations
  • Madeleine Ashour, Senior Advocacy Associate
  • Sarah Bishop-Root, Policy Director, Next Generation Learning
  • Jess Boyd McCullough, Deputy Director, State Communications
  • Brandi Brown, Director, External Affairs
  • Kymyona Burk, Ed.D, Policy Director, Early Literacy
  • Cara Candal, Ed.D., Managing Director, Policy
  • Melissa Canney, Policy Director, Innovation
  • Raquel Cisneros, Associate Director, Development
  • Nicole Costello, Executive Operations Manager
  • Ashley DeMauro Mullins, Senior Director Regional Advocacy, Northeast
  • Sam Duell, Policy Director, Charter Schools
  • Zach Eckert, Regional Advocacy Director, Midwest
  • Mike Ferro, Data Transformation Manager
  • Joe Follick, Director, State Communications
  • Katie Dauphinais, Regional Advocacy Director, West
  • Pam Griggs, Director, Finance & Compliance
  • Adriana Harrington, Policy Director, Innovation
  • Christy Hovanetz, Ph.D., Senior Policy Fellow, Accountability
  • Carrie Jenkins-Kelly, Director, Administrative Services
  • Matthew Joseph, Policy Director, Funding
  • Scott Kittel, Associate Policy Director, Florida
  • Lily Landry, Senior Advocacy Associate
  • Kristin Lock, Director, Marketing & Digital
  • Lowell Matthews, Jr., Policy Director, College & Career Pathways
  • Danielle Mezera, Ph.D., Senior Policy Fellow, Innovation
  • Debbie Mortham, Regional Advocacy Director, Florida
  • James Mosteller, Senior Advocacy Associate
  • Katherine Munal, Regional Advocacy Director, Gulf
  • Alice Neira, Senior Advocacy Associate
  • Meghan Presnell, Deputy Director, Marketing & Digital
  • Lisa Raguso, Events Manager & Arts for Life! Program Director
  • Matt Robinson, Associate Policy Director, Innovation
  • Barbara Ross, National Director, Communications
  • Jody Shughart, Operations Manager
  • Heather Slager, Operations Manger
  • Jesse Stickle, IT Manager
  • Divya Sridhar, Ph.D., Policy Director, Digital Equity
  • Quentin Suffren, Senior Advisor, Innovation Policy
  • Josh Thomas, Regional Advocacy Director, Southeast
  • Kayla Ward, Policy Analyst

Board of Directors

As of 2021:[1]

  • Janet Ayers, President, The Ayers Foundation
  • Reginald J. Brown, Partner, Kirkland & Ellis LLP
  • Jeb Bush, Chairman
  • Eric Cantor, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Moelis & Company, & former House Majority Leader
  • Chris Cerf, Former New Jersey Commissioner of Education
  • Gary Chartrand, Executive Chairman of Acosta & Board Chair of KIPP: Jacksonville Schools
  • Cesar Conde, Chairman, NBCUniversal International Group and NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises
  • F. Philip Handy, CEO of Winter Park Capital & former Chairman of the Florida State Board of Education
  • Dee Bagwell Haslam, CEO, Haslam Sports Group and Partner/Executive Producer, RIVR Media
  • Allan B. Hubbard, Co-founder and Chairman, E&A Industries & former Director, National Economic Council
  • Joel I. Klein, Chief Policy and Strategy Officer of Oscar Health & former Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education
  • Susana Martinez, 31st Governor of New Mexico
  • Bruce Rauner, 42nd Governor of Illinois

Former Directors

  • Fonda Anderson, Chief Development Officer
  • John Bailey, Executive Director of Digital Learning Now!
  • Elizabeth DeVos, Director
  • Elizabeth Emery, Office Manager, Washington, DC
  • Jaryn Emhof, National Director of Communications
  • Carrie Jenkins, Chief Financial Officer
  • Laureen Jobs, Director
  • Kay Kammel, Chief of Staff
  • Mary Laura Bragg, National Director of Policy/Implementation
  • Patricia Levesque, CEO
  • Dave Myslinski, State Policy Director for Digital Learning Now!
  • William Oberndorf, Treasurer
  • Sarah Powell, Operations Manager
  • Erin Price, Marketing Director
  • Susan Rehwinkel, Operations Manager for CEO
  • Condoleezza Rice, Director
  • Charles Schwab, Director
  • William Simon, Director
  • Eric Smith, Executive Director of Chiefs for Change,
  • Josh Venable, National Director of Advocacy/Legislation
  • Brian Yablonski, Director

Contact Information

P.O. Box 10691
Tallahassee, FL 32302

EIN: 26-0615175 Website: http://excelined.org/
Phone: (850) 391-4090
Fax: (786) 664-1794
Email: info@excelined.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ExcelinEd/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ExcelinEd

Resources and Articles

IRS Form 990 Filings






Related SourceWatch


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 ExcelinEd, About, organizational website, accessed April 6, 2021.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Lyndsey Layton, "Jeb Bush education foundation played leading role in mixing politics, policy", Washington Post, January 6, 2015, accessed April 6, 2021.
  3. Jamie Corey, "Dozens of Alec Members Revealed in Emails Obtained by Documented Using the Florida Sunshine Law", Documented, December 19, 2019.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Donald Cohen, "Nonprofit group releases emails which depict connection between ALEC, education reform and corporate investors", organizational website, January 30th, 2013. Archived from the original May 30, 2015, accessed April 6, 2021.
  5. ExcelinEd, 2019 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, no date listed.
  6. ExcelinEd, 2018 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, November 4, 2019.
  7. ExcelinEd, 2017 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, November 1, 2018.
  8. ExcelinEd, 2016 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, November 1, 2017.
  9. ExcelinEd, 2015 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, August 2, 2016.
  10. ExcelinEd, 2014 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, November 13, 2015.
  11. ExcelinEd, 2013 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, November 13, 2014.
  12. ExcelinEd, 2012 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, November 15, 2013.