Our Founders

Dr. David Conley

David Conley, PhD

Dr. David T. Conley is the founder, chief executive officer, and chief strategy officer of EPIC. Dr. Conley also serves as President of EdImagine Strategy Group, Professor of Educational Policy and Leadership, and founder and director of the Center for Educational Policy Research (CEPR) at the University of Oregon. Dr. Conley serves on numerous technical and advisory panels, consults with educational agencies nationally and internationally, and is a frequent speaker at national and regional meetings of education professionals and policy makers. He is the author of several books and numerous articles on the topic of college and career readiness, including his newest book Getting Ready for College, Careers, and the Common Core: What Every Educator Needs to Know.

Between 1993 and 1999, Conley developed and implemented the nation's first proficiency-based college admission system, PASS, which was adopted by the Oregon State Board of Higher Education for use in the seven campus Oregon University System. PASS was subsequently field tested at 52 Oregon high schools and continues to be used by students as a means to demonstrate college readiness.

In 2003, Dr. Conley completed Standards for Success, a groundbreaking three-year research project to identify the knowledge and skills necessary for college readiness. This project, funded by the Washington, D.C.-based Association of American Universities (AAU) and The Pew Charitable Trusts, analyzed course content at a range of American research universities to develop the Knowledge and Skills for University Success standards. In 2005, Dr. Conley published his research from this project in College Knowledge: What It Takes for Students to Succeed and What We Can Do to Get Them Ready.

He has published the results of this research and other studies in numerous journal articles, technical reports, conference papers, book chapters, and books, including Who Governs Our Schools?, which analyzes changes in educational policy and governance structures at the federal, state, and local levels, and, in 2005, College Knowledge, which summarizes the results from Standards for Success and describes how to design high schools in ways that lead to more students being truly ready for college. Dr. Conley's most recent book, Getting Ready for College, Careers, and Common Core: What Every Educator Needs to Know, was published in Fall 2013 and is available for order today. Written with all educators in mind, but with an emphasis on those at the secondary level, this important resource shows how to develop programs that truly prepare students for both the Common Core assessments and for college and career readiness.

Dr. Conley received a BA with honors in Social Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley. He earned his master's degree in Social, Multicultural, and Bilingual Foundations of Education and his doctoral degree in Curriculum, Administration, and Supervision at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Before joining the faculty of the University of Oregon in 1989, he spent a total of 20 years in Colorado and California as a school-level and central office administrator in several districts, an executive in a state education department, and as a teacher in two public multicultural alternative schools.


Judy Conley

Judy Conley

In the summer of 2002, Judy Conley took the initiative to research options and investigate strategies for the best ways for David Conley to organize his consulting, speaking, and project activities. She settled on the 501(c)3 not-for-profit institutional structure as the best vehicle to accommodate and support work on new approaches to educational policy improvement. As a direct result of her efforts, the Educational Policy Improvement Center was created in October, 2002.

Judy earned her Bachelor's of Fine Arts at the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1976. She spent many years as a potter producing artisan pieces that were purchased by collectors and consumers alike. Judy volunteered extensively in local schools. Her most notable accomplishments came about during her 13 years in the Career Center at South Eugene High School, where she helped numerous young people pursue their dreams of college and careers. In addition to her ongoing interests in the arts, she is currently writing a novel on women’s issues.