MDC advises My Future NC leaders on educational attainment initiative

NC one of only a few states without a strategic plan from pre-K through postsecondary education

My Future NC logoMDC is advising leaders of the North Carolina public education systems, including the President of the University of North Carolina, the Acting President of the North Carolina Community College System, and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, who have partnered to create My Future NC, a new statewide commission on educational attainment.

The Commission’s work is being underwritten by grants from The John M. Belk Endowment, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Goodnight Education Foundation.

My Future NC will bring together top North Carolina thought leaders from the education, business, philanthropy, faith-based, and nonprofit communities and ex officio representatives from the North Carolina House of Representatives, Senate, and Governor’s office to discuss state education and training needs, identify obstacles to meeting those needs, and generate policy recommendations.

The effort will be led by a team of co-chairs — Dale Jenkins, Chief Executive Officer of Medical Mutual Holdings; Andrea Smith, Chief Administrative Officer of Bank of America; and Margaret Spellings, President of the University of North Carolina.

“We have two North Carolinas when it comes to education and opportunity—the affluent, well-educated population centers—and the small towns and rural communities that have been left out of the rising economic and educational tide that has lifted our state,” said President Spellings. “And North Carolina is one of only a few states without a comprehensive strategic plan from pre-K through postsecondary education. The goal of this effort is simple but by no means easy: to develop a multi-year education plan that recommends a robust attainment goal for the state and a broad-based agenda for a stronger and more competitive North Carolina. We can do better and we should do better—the future of our great state depends on it.”

The Commission will rely on a steering committee co-chaired by Ann Goodnight of the Goodnight Education Foundation, Acting President Jennifer Haygood of the North Carolina Community College System, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson, Anna Spangler Nelson of the UNC Board of Governors, and MC Belk Pilon of the John M. Belk Endowment.

The Commission’s foremost responsibility is creating a multi-year education plan and a broad-based agenda for a stronger and more competitive North Carolina. In particular, the Commission will improve the current education policy environment by:

  • Developing a comprehensive statewide education plan, from early childhood through postsecondary education, which recommends clear attainment goals, identifies key benchmarks, and proposes promising reforms to guide the future of education in North Carolina.
  • Breaking down silos and coordinating key stakeholders to make the best use of all educational resources in the state.
  • Debating the key issues and needs of the state to garner higher levels of public awareness and engagement.

To reach these objectives, the Commission will address three primary questions:

What goals should North Carolina set for its education system across the education continuum, from early childhood through postsecondary education and into the workforce?

What barriers stand in the way and keep us from fully leveraging the resources we have?

What solutions can improve outcomes?

“Higher education is an absolute imperative for the future of our state and our workforce,” said Andrea Smith, Bank of America CAO and My Future NC co-chair. “Two of every three new jobs now require some form of post-secondary education – whether that’s training credentials, an associate degree, a four-year degree or higher. This reality underscores how critical education is to career growth and how important it is to increasing economic mobility.”

For more information about My Future NC, visit  contact MDC Senior Program Director Mala Thakur at