Jane R. Best, Ph.D. – Director, Arts Education Partnership

Jane Best directs the Arts Education Partnership, a center dedicated to securing high quality arts education for children. She has extensive experience working among practitioners, policymakers and researchers. Prior to joining Education Commission of the States, she was the Chief Development Officer at My Student Survey and the Chief Strategy Officer for McREL International. She has also worked for Learning Point Associates (now American Institutes for Research) and the National Conference of State Legislatures. She started her career in education as a high school French and ESL teacher in Columbus, Ohio. Jane holds a Ph.D. in education policy from Vanderbilt University, a M.A. in education from The Ohio State University and a B.A. in communications with a minor in art history from Indiana University. Jane can be reached at


Scott Jones – Senior Associate, Research and Policy

Scott D. Jones joins AEP after four years with the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) where he served as the project coordinator, managing the development of one of the largest data sets on arts education outcomes. In addition to his work with SNAAP, Scott served as an Adjunct Instructor in the Arts Management Program, housed in the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) where he taught arts education policy and served as the chair of the Bloomington Community Arts Commission.  Before joining SNAAP, Scott worked as an arts administrator and educator with various arts organizations including Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., the Music Institute of Chicago in Evanston, Illinois, and the Buskirk-Chumley Theater in Bloomington, Indiana. He holds an MA in Arts Administration from Indiana University, a BA in music education and vocal performance from Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and studied public affairs at Indiana University. Scott can be reached at


Nick Eppard – Communications Specialist

Nick Eppard joined Education Commission of the States in February 2016 as a communications specialist. At Education Commission of the States, Nick oversees communications for the Arts Education Partnership. Prior to Education Commission of the States, he worked as a communications specialist for a metro Denver suburb and led communications efforts for a National Science Foundation research infrastructure grant in his home state of South Dakota. In his spare time Nick enjoys spending time in the mountains, suffering through Denver Nuggets games and taking in the best of the Colorado craft beer scene. Nick can be reached at