Division of Strategy and Policy
The Division of Strategy and Policy enhances and furthers the UNC System’s strategic goals. To this end, Strategy and Policy has developed a robust performance measurement system to track progress toward System goals and proactively identifies new initiatives that will help advance those goals.
The division leads several projects and programs, including:
Implementation of Higher Expectations: The Strategic Plan for the UNC System
The North Carolina Student Aid Study Group, a joint effort of the University of North Carolina and the North Carolina Community College Systems
Division of Strategy and Policy Staff
Andrew P. Kelly, Ph.D
Senior Vice President for Strategy and Policy | 919-962-6082
Dr. Andrew Kelly serves as the senior vice president for Strategy and Policy. In addition to leading the division, Dr. Kelly serves as a higher-education policy expert to the president and the Board of Governors.
Prior to joining the UNC System, Kelly was a resident scholar in education policy studies and the founding director of the Center on Higher Education Reform at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). In his roles, Dr. Kelly conducted research on college affordability innovation in higher education and federal and state policy. He advised members of congress, state policy makers, and presidential candidates. Kelly has published work in academic journals and in popular outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Education Week, The Atlantic, and National Review.
Dr. Kelly is a summa cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College, where he earned a degree in history. He holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley.
Shun Robertson, Ph.D
Senior Associate Vice President for P20 Policy & Programs | 919-962-5663
Dr. Shun Robertson serves as a state policy expert for the Strategy and Policy Division, researching key higher education issues to advance the System’s strategic goals.
Prior to joining the UNC System, Robertson was a program director at MDC and Jobs for the Future, providing senior-level policy and research support to education and community-based projects. She also served as a policy analyst for the South Carolina Technical College System (SCTCS). In her role with SCTCS, Robertson provided ongoing analysis of education and economic trends affecting community colleges. She also has several years of experience working in admissions offices at colleges in Georgia and South Carolina.
Dr. Robertson received her bachelor of science in business administration and doctorate in educational administration from the University of South Carolina; and her master of business administration from Augusta State University. She earned a certificate in nonprofit administration from Duke University.
Samantha Carney, Ph.D
Senior Associate Vice President for Strategy & Policy | 919-962-2228
Dr. Samantha Carney serves the Strategy and Policy Division, researching key higher education issues to advance the system’s strategic goals. Prior to joining UNC, Dr. Carney was an assistant vice president and assistant vice provost at the University of Chicago, providing support to and oversight of institutional initiatives in online and continuing education, entrepreneurship and innovation, and executive searches in divisions across the university. She also served as a program officer at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge, Massachusetts. While at the American Academy, Carney managed the Lincoln Project: Excellence and Access in Public Higher Education, a $2.1 million initiative designed to increase public and private support for America’s public research universities. She also has several years of experience working in local and national program evaluation, institutional research, and college admissions. Dr. Carney received her bachelor of arts in history at Bryn Mawr College, her masters in higher education from the University of Michigan, and her doctorate in higher education from Boston College.
Laura Bilbro-Berry, Ed.D
Executive Director of Educator Preparation & Lab Schools | 919-962-4934
Dr. Laura Bilbro-Berry leads and supports the UNC System’s Educator Preparation Programs and network of Laboratory Schools.
Prior to joining the UNC System Office, Bilbro-Berry engaged in a variety of roles within the field of education serving as a teacher, school improvement coordinator, curriculum specialist, and director of federal programs. She worked for 12 years at East Carolina University in pre-service teacher recruitment and administrative positions within the College of Education’s Office of Educator Preparation to include being the Director of Partnerships and Enrollment Management that involved administration of a partnership between the university and community colleges. Bilbro-Berry was also instrumental in the launching of the ECU Community School. She served as Director of Community College Partnerships at the UNC System Office prior to joining the Strategy and Policy Division.
Bilbro-Berry received her bachelor of arts in elementary education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she was a North Carolina Teaching Fellow. She earned her master of adult education and doctorate of educational administration from East Carolina University. Bilbro-Berry served as the 2000-2001 North Carolina Teacher of the Year, and for her service within public education, has twice been the recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest civilian honor in North Carolina.
Lauren Schoenheit, M.S.
Director of Data Analysis and Research | 919-962-4549
Lauren Schoenheit leads data analysis and research efforts for the division, providing data-driven decision support to the senior vice president for Strategy and Policy and overseeing updates to the UNC System Strategic Plan.
Prior to joining the UNC System Office, Schoenheit was the associate director for resource analysis at NC State University, providing leadership and support in areas of resource analysis and planning. She also served as senior statistician and data analyst at the College of Charleston, where she conducted research and developed statistical models to support institutional planning. She has worked in a variety of offices in higher education, including institutional research, academic advising, and a dean’s office.
Schoenheit received a bachelor of science in pure mathematics, a master of science in mathematics, and graduate certificates in statistics and operations research from the College of Charleston. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in educational leadership, policy, and human development from NC State University.
Access and Success Initiatives Manager | 919-962-5217
Tonya Walton serves as the access and success initiatives manager in the division. She helps implement grant-funded initiatives that support the UNC System’s Strategic Plan, including the Student Success and Innovation Lab.
Walton has served in business operations and program administration roles within multiple sectors. Most recently, she fostered innovation efforts, including the creation of a citywide training academy for strategic planning and performance analytics, as a budget and management analyst with the City of Raleigh. In a similar role within Orange County Government (NC), she coordinated the grant administration and assessment process for over 40 nonprofit agencies. She has also held program administration roles in higher education and nonprofit organizations.
Walton received bachelor’s degrees in sociology and communication from NC State University. She earned her master of public administration degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Executive Assistant to Dr. Andrew Kelly | 919-962-6082
Monique Keyes has a background in the legal field, serving as a family law paralegal in the Triangle Area for three years. Ms. Keyes holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Hampton University and a paralegal certificate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Paralegal Certificate Program. As an executive assistant in Strategy and Policy, Keyes helps with administrative office needs and helps coordinate projects and events.
PreK-12 Strategy and Policy
Sara C. Ulm
Director of the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program, Director of Teacher Recruitment | 919-843-0176
Sara Ulm serves as the director of the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program and Teacher Recruitment Initiatives for the P12 Division at the UNC System Office. In her role, Ulm manages the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program, a forgivable loans for service program that recruits high-achieving candidates into STEM and special education teaching areas, along with a variety of other teacher recruitment initiatives.
Prior to joining the System Office, Ulm worked as the senior education policy advisor for the North Carolina Senate.
Eddie Price, Ed.D
Director of NC Principal Fellows Program
A native of NC, Dr. Price has been an educator in North Carolina’s public schools for twenty-seven years. He served as an English and history teacher, has coached track and football, served as a public school administrator for thirteen years at both middle and high school levels, served as an area superintendent, a chief academic office, and the deputy superintendent of Johnston County Public Schools. He earned his BA from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and his M.S.A. and Ed.D. from North Carolina State University.
Tony Stewart, Ed.D.
Coordinator of NC Principal Fellows and Transforming Principal Preparation
Dr. Tony Stewart serves as Coordinator of NC Principal Fellows and Transforming Principal Preparation where he supports aspiring school leaders in their efforts to become highly effective assistant principals and principals. Prior to joining the UNC System Office, Stewart worked in South Florida as the principal of Cypress PreK-8 School, a Title I school whose academic achievement improved two letter grades during his tenure. He began his career in education as a high school science teacher and later moved into school leadership, serving as assistant principal of the school’s first Freshman Academy. He then transitioned to Central Services as Executive Director of Professional Learning. In this position, he provided support to the district’s new and veteran assistant principals including the development of their first AP Mentoring Program.
Stewart graduated from East Carolina University as a N.C. Teaching Fellow with a Bachelor of Science in Science Education. He earned his Master of School Administration from North Carolina State University and his Doctor of Educational Leadership from Gardner-Webb University.
GEAR UP stands for “Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs” and is a national college access initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The goal of this initiative is to significantly increase the number of students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. Over the past seven years, more than 22,000 students and their families in sixteen North Carolina school districts have been supported through academic support services, financial aid and career counseling, college tours, and mentoring services. GEAR UP also provides professional development to school leadership, emphasizing the importance of data-driven decision making when developing programs to address student need.
Nikki A. Liles
Director, GEAR UP | 919-445-0492
Nikki Liles has worked with the GEAR UP grant in different capacities for over four years and currently serves as the interim director. She provides administrative leadership and supervision for the GEAR UP state grant, including management of program resources. Liles collaborates with educational consultants, evaluators, school leaders and other partners to implement GEAR UP district services. She also engages in statewide outreach and programming to increase access to and preparation for postsecondary education.
Access and Success Manager
Program Specialist | 919-843-5845
Research and Evaluation Specialist | 919-962-8366