Erika Hunt and Lisa Hood were among those accepting a national award honoring Illinois’ efforts in education.

The Education Commission of the States (ESC) named the state of Illinois as the 2014 recipient of the Frank Newman Award for State Innovation for its collaborative work to improve the preparation and certification of school principals. The ESC recognizes “bold and courageous policies, including existing approaches with evidence of significant impact on student achievement in the state.” The award noted Illinois State University’s Education Administration and Foundations principal preparation program has served as a model for the new principal program requirements.

Hunt and Hood, both senior policy analysts at the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State, were honored along with the state superintendent of education and members of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

The Center spearheaded designing new state policies for principals through multiple grants that they have received from The Wallace Foundation, the McCormick Foundation, and recently, through a $4.6 million grant from the Department of Education. (See more on the Department of Education grant.)

“This work is a result of a grass roots effort based on over five years of planning and input both through formal state task forces but also planning and feedback by the field,” said Hunt, who was recognized with Hood on July 1 in Washington, D.C. “The Center facilitated and staffed these meetings, but the success of this work is dependent on so many people and organizations that championed the voice of the field and piloted new approaches for preparing effective principals.”