Great Leaders, Strong Schools Hires Matthew Simon as VP of Advocacy and Government Affairs

Phoenix, AZ — Great Leaders, Strong Schools announced today that Matthew Simon will be joining the team as the Vice President of Advocacy and Government Affairs. Matthew, an Arizona-native and well-respected policy leader, most recently served as Congresswoman Debbie Lesko’s Chief of Staff.

“We are thrilled to have Matthew join our movement to ensure every child has access to high-quality learning opportunities that set them up to best create value in the world,” said Emily Anne Gullickson, President and Founder of Great Leaders, Strong Schools. “Matthew brings a diverse set of experiences from not only within the classroom, but also the state and federal government to Great Leaders, Strong Schools. Most important is his passion for Arizona’s public K-12 education system, relentless belief that all kids can learn at the highest level, and commitment to finding and creating solutions that put students first.”

Matthew started his career in education as a high school life science teacher in Earle, Arkansas as a Teach for America Mississippi Delta corps member. While teaching in rural Arkansas, Matthew became acutely aware that even in our most rural schools children deserve to have access to high quality learning opportunities that included Advanced Placement courses.

After his teaching commitment with Teach for America, Matthew stayed in Arkansas to work for the newly created Teach for America Arkansas Region where he trained, coached and developed 40 teachers in north eastern Arkansas.

Matthew returned to his home state of Arizona in December 2014 to serve as the Arizona State Senate Education Research Analyst and then ultimately the Arizona Senate Majority Policy Advisor for Education. Matthew most recently served as Chief of Staff to Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (AZ-08), where he managed both the Washington D.C. and Surprise, AZ district offices.

“Arizona is my home, and I am grateful for the opportunity to join Great Leaders, Strong Schools during this critical time for K-12 education,” said Matthew Simon. “For the past year, students and families have endured the turbulence of the pandemic which upended our public education system. We now have an opportunity to create a system where every family is empowered to make the best decisions for their children with zero barriers. I look forward to engaging in this important work.” Matthew is a native of Tucson, Arizona and is a proud product of Arizona’s public education system. He received both his B.S. in political science and his Master of Public Administration from Arizona State University.


About Great Leaders, Strong Schools
Advancing policies and cultivating leaders who advocate for providing all K-12 students access to high-quality schools and learning opportunities that are close to them, with a priority on students in high-poverty communities.

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