Friday Institute Adds Two New Members to Advisory Board

Kevin Howell (left) and Patricia Willoughby (right) are the newest board members to join the Friday Institute Advisory Board.

RALEIGH, North Carolina — In her new role as executive director of the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, Hiller A. Spires, Ph.D., has appointed two new members to the Friday Institute’s Advisory Board–Kevin Howell and Patricia (Tricia) Willoughby. This board is comprised of leaders from schools, universities, businesses and the government who share a deep commitment to educational innovation. Board members meet annually to discuss the strategic directions of the Friday Institute as well as provide consultation and advice throughout the year. 

“I look forward to working with Tricia Willoughby and Kevin Howell, both of whom have worked diligently over the years to improve education in North Carolina and are committed to continue their work for children and educators,” Spires said.

Learn more about these two new board members below.

Kevin Howell

Vice Chancellor for External Affairs, Partnerships and Economic Development at NC State University

Kevin Howell leads efforts to support NC State’s critical role as an economic driver across the state through its innovative partnerships with industry and government. Howell most recently led the UNC System’s Division of External Affairs, serving as a senior advisor to the UNC System president on issues affecting the 17 institutions and overseeing state and federal relations, economic and community engagement, military affairs, and advancement.

When asked why he joined the Friday Institute’s advisory board, Howell said, “The Friday Institute fosters important collaborations between education, government and private industry to advance K-12 education. I’m proud to join the advisory board as we work to best serve the students of today and tomorrow.”  

Patricia Willoughby

Former North Carolina State Board of Education Member and Former Executive Director of the North Carolina Business Committee for Education

Patricia (Tricia) Willoughby served on the North Carolina State Board of Education from 2001 to 2019. As a state board member, Willoughby served on the Globally Competitive Students and 21st Century Professionals Committees and in study groups for the National Association of State Boards of Education. Willoughby is a former executive director of the North Carolina Business Committee for Education, a former classroom teacher and a former faculty member at Meredith College, where she directed the elementary education program and taught courses to pre-service teachers.

When asked why she joined the advisory board, Willoughby said, “It has been my privilege to work with Dr. Hiller Spires and the Friday Institute since its creation on the campus of NC State University. The mission of the Institute matches the efforts in which I have been involved for more than 40 years. Being a member of the Friday Institute board, whose purpose led the Fridays to share their name with the Institute, is an honor. I look forward to the Friday Institute’s continued work and leadership that are positively impacting North Carolina’s education community.”

About the Friday Institute: The Friday Institute brings together researchers, practitioners and policymakers to lead the transition to next-generation education systems that will prepare students for success in the digital-age world. It conducts research, develops educational resources, provides professional development programs for educators, advocates to improve teaching and learning, and helps inform policymaking.