Alliance for Excellent Education
The Alliance for Excellent Education (AEE) is a national policy, research and advocacy organization that works to develop a national consensus and policy agenda to transform American high schools. To do this, AEE advocates at the federal level for funding and policies to ensure resources are targeted to at-risk students in middle school and high school. In addition, AEE is building a national network of allies for education to support its efforts.
AEE was founded by Gerard and Lilo Leeds. Mr. and Mrs. Leeds had retired from CMP Media, Inc., the technology publishing company they launched in 1971. When, in 1988, the Leeds turned the management of their company over to two of their sons, they turned their attention to philanthropy and in 1990 the couple launched the Institute for Student Achievement (ISA), which works in partnership with low-performing school districts to help at-risk middle- and high-school students.
Hoping to build on the success of ISA and implement it nationally, Mr. and Mrs. Leeds founded AEE in December 1999 and hired Susan Frost as the first President in 2001. Frost had served for six years as advisor to U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley and for 11 years as executive director of the Committee for Education Funding (CEF). As President of AEE, Frost helped identify the weaknesses in President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act and recognized key strategies for policymakers to help schools raise student achievement and graduation rates. The Alliance called on national policymakers to expand the federal role in education to high school students with initiatives in adolescent literacy, teacher and principal quality, college preparation planning, and smaller, more personalized learning communities. Legislation that embodied these recommendations was then introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives (the Graduation for All Act) and the Senate (the PASS Act).
On August 3, 2004 Frost resigned as President of AEE. In February 2005 former West Virginia Governor Bob Wise was hired as AEE’s second President. Under his leadership, AEE increased in size and expanded its policies to include work in states.