Since January 1999, Ron Cowell has been the president of the Education Policy and Leadership Center, an independent, non-partisan, and not-for-profit organization based in Harrisburg.
He is an experienced policy leader who also is a frequent speaker, writer, and consultant concerning education policy issues and served as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for 24 years until 1998. While in the legislature, he served as the majority or minority chair of the House Committee on Education for 12 years. He also served for 12 years as a member of the Pennsylvania State Board of Education and for 20 years as a board member of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.
Cowell is now a member of the Board of Visitors for the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Education and the board of directors of Communities in Schools–Pennsylvania. He is on advisory boards for the Office of Child Development at the University of Pittsburgh, the Pennsylvania Parent Information Resource Center, and Public Education Network. He previously was a trustee of Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, Community College of Allegheny County, and the University of Pittsburgh and was a member of the Governor’s Commission for Children and Families and the Governor’s Commission on Preparing America’s Teachers.
He was a board member of Pittsburgh Children’s Museum, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, Gateway to the Arts, NEED, and the Family Support Policy Board in Allegheny County.
On the national level, he served as a member of the National Education Goals Panel and held leadership positions with the Education Commission of the States, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the National Association of State Boards of Education. He also served as a board member of the Association of Governing Boards of Trustees of Colleges and Universities for nine years and was a member of the recognition Committee of the Council on Higher Accreditation for several years.
He is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and Widener University Law School.