Working Group Chairs

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Access Working Group:

Ashley Johnson
K-12 Program Manager & Executive Director
Excellent Schools Detroit & Detroit College Access Network

Ashley Johnson is the director of collective impact at Excellent Schools Detroit a coalition of philanthropy, educators and community-based organizations working together to ensure that every Detroit student is in an excellent school by 2020. Through that role she also serves as the director of the Detroit College Access Network, a cross-sector group of over 50 organizations in Detroit that are committed to aligning and strengthening college readiness, participation and completion initiatives in Detroit. Prior to working for Excellent Schools Detroit, Johnson was a secondary science teacher, teacher coach and instructional leader. Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in education from the University of Mississippi and a doctorate degree in K-12 education administration with a specialization in urban education from Michigan State University.

Brandy Johnson
Executive Director
Michigan College Access Network

Brandy Johnson is the executive director of Michigan College Access Network, whose mission is to assist with a college readiness, participation and completion in Michigan, particularly among low-income students, first-generation college-going students, and students of color. Before joining MCAN as its founding executive director in 2010, Johnson served in the Governor’s office as college access coordinator. In this capacity, she coordinated the states’s college access and success agenda and advised Gov. Jennifer Granholm on post-secondary education policy issues. Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree in political science with a concentration in public policy advocacy from Arizona State University and a master of public policy degree from the University of Michigan.

Success Working Group:

Patrick Cooney
College Success Manager
Michigan Future Schools

Patrick Cooney is the college success manager at Michigan Future Schools, where he supports school leaders in developing college access and support programs. Prior to joining Michigan Future Schools, Cooney taught middle school math in Texas and New York. In addition, Cooney also worked in a policy capacity at the New York City Dept. of Education and with Chicago Public Schools as an education pioneers fellow. Cooney earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and history from Boston College and a master of public policy degree from the University of Michigan.

Erica Lee Orians
Executive Director
Michigan Center for Student Success & Michigan Community College Association

Erica Lee Orians is the executive director of the Michigan Center for Student Success at the Michigan Community College Association. Prior to her current position, Orians was a senior research associate in the Utah Education Policy Center at the University of Utah. While there, she leveraged k-12 education, post-secondary education and workforce data to analyze student outcomes throughout the education pipeline. Oriens has also held positions in student affairs and academic advising at Ohio State University, Miami University and Columbus College of Arts and Design. Orians earned a doctorate degree in educational leadership and policy from the University of Utah.

Talent Retention and Place Making Working Group:

Samantha Harkin
President
Michigan Municipal League Foundation

Samantha Harkins is the president of Michigan Municipal League Foundation, the fundraising arm of the Michigan Municipal League. She has been honored for her work by the Inside Michigan Politics Lobbyist Survey and was names one of Crain’s Detroit Business’ “People to Watch” in 2014. Prior to her current position, Harkins was director of government relations for the Detroit Regional Chamber, and served as a member of the House Republican Policy staff. She earned bachelor’s degree and juris doctorate degree from West Virginia University.

Kelly Kozlowski
Chief Operating Officer
Downtown Detroit Partnership

Kelly Kozlowski is the chief operating officer of Downtown Detroit Partnership. In this role she oversees the day-to-day operations and policies and manages the organization’s various strategic initiatives. Prior to joining the DDP, Kozlowski  served as a client coordinator, communications officer, director of public affairs and then a senior director at Automation Alley. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Oakland University.

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