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

Mary Dell’Erba – Senior Project ManagerAs a senior project manager for the Arts Education Partnership, Mary oversees project work plans and supports the development of AEP deliverables. Prior to joining 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. With over 20 years of dance training, Mary is passionate about the arts and education. 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

Visit Education Commission of the States’ employment webpage for a list of current career opportunities.