Jane R. Best, Ph.D. – Director
Jane R. Best became the director of the Arts Education Partnership in April 2016. Jane has extensive experience working among practitioners, policymakers and researchers. She previously held leadership positions in the education research and development industry at McREL International, 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 English teacher in Columbus, Ohio.  Jane has served on the board of directors of Knowledge Alliance and the STEM Education Coalition, trade associations that advocate for federal funding for education research and development. Jane also served on the board of governors for the College of Education at The Ohio State University. Jane teaches graduate courses on public policy and ethics at the University of Colorado School of Public Affairs. Jane holds a B.A. from Indiana University, a M.A. from The Ohio State University and a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. Jane can be reached at



Kate Wolff – Assistant Director
Kate Wolff is the assistant director of the Arts Education Partnership and a member of Education Commission of the States’ State Relations team. In this dual role, Kate works closely with AEP partner organizations across the country to engage and inform their efforts to expand access to the arts in education and serves as a resource on broader education policy issues for Education Commission of the States Commissioners and states in the mid-Atlantic and Eastern parts of the U.S. Prior to joining Education Commission of the States, Kate served in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in a variety of capacities in the Office of the Secretary, the Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs, and the Administration for Children and Families. Kate enjoys living in our nation’s capital, taking advantage of free museums and getting around the city car-free. Kate can be reached at



Mary Dell’Erba – Project ManagerMary Dell’Erba is the Project Manager with the Arts Education Partnership. In this role, she is primarily focused on STEAM initiatives and the intersection of school choice and arts education. Prior to joining the Education Commission of the States, she worked for the Arts Education in Maryland Schools Alliance where she served in a variety of capacities in programming, administration, and policy. Mary holds a master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. She has over twenty years of ballet training, and in her free time enjoys teaching dance, baking, and spending time at home with her husband and cat. Mary can be reached at mdell’




Cassandra Quillen – Communications Specialist
Cassandra Quillen serves and supports the Arts Education Partnership as a Communications Specialist with Education Commission of the States. Prior to joining Education Commission of the States in May 2016, Cassandra worked in Providence, R.I. as a communications and member engagement coordinator at a postsecondary institution member organization and also as a communications/engagement assistant for a public/private partnership initiative consisting of Rhode Island’s 11 colleges and universities. Cassandra earned her bachelor’s degree in art history from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and her master’s degree in professional writing from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. In her free time, Cassandra enjoys hiking, hanging out with her two dogs, listening to music and spending time with friends. Cassandra can be reached at


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