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Mebane Rash

Twitter: mebane_rash
Tar Heel. Wonk. Mama. Traveler. Unaffiliated.

Mebane Rash is the founding CEO and editor-in-chief of EducationNC. In 2021, she was awarded the Friday Medal, which honors “significant, distinguished and enduring contributions to education through advocating for innovation, advancing education and imparting inspiration,” and in 2024, the SMT Center presented her with the Champion of Education Award.

Mebane is a public school kid, attending Irwin Elementary, First Ward Elementary, McClintock Middle, and East Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte. She graduated from the University of Virginia in 1990 and the UNC School of Law in 1993. At the UNC School of Law, she was a member of the North Carolina Law Review. She has been a member of the North Carolina State Bar since 1993, and she is admitted to practice in both the state and federal court systems.

After law school, she worked for Carolina Legal Assistance, a mental disability law project, before joining the nonpartisan N.C. Center for Public Policy Research as the policy analyst from 1994-98, the director of law and policy from 2006-14, and the executive director from 2016-2021. She was an adjunct professor at the UNC School of Law from 1995-99, and she was an attorney for the ACLU-NC from 1998-99.

Mebane was in the Hunt Institute’s inaugural cohort of ElevateNC: Higher Education, and she served on IEI’s steering committee for ReConnectNC. She is the past president of the Board of Trustees of the national Governmental Research Association. In 2018, she was invited to attend the the Aspen Executive Seminar on Leadership, Values, and the Good Society. In 2013, she was one of 60 women from 25 countries invited to spend a week at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government to study Women and Power: Leadership in the New World. She served on the inaugural Z. Smith Reynolds Leadership Council. In 1997, she was selected to be a William C. Friday Fellow for Human Relations, a fellowship for emerging leaders across North Carolina.

She has won national awards from the Governmental Research Association for most distinguished research, outstanding policy achievement, and most effective education of the public.

Mebane is a native of North Carolina, currently living in Deep Gap. She says, “We live in a purple state now. For the first time in my life, there are more unaffiliated voters in North Carolina than Democrats or Republicans. I could see this happening as I grew up because on my block lived Harvey Gantt, and next door to him lived Mel Watt, and two doors down from them lived Sue Myrick with her son Dan Forest. Every day of my life has been spent playing and then working across party lines. Living a bipartisan life, I have learned the importance of finding common ground and that credible research and information can change minds.”

Mebane’s travel to all 100 counties, 46 states, and 35 countries informs everything she does.

“Mebane has a passion for North Carolina few can match. She seeks out the stories of North Carolinians with a warmth and authenticity that is disarming and immediately sets folks to talking. She has never met a stranger, and if you are around her long enough, you will walk away with a renewed appreciation of this great state and the people who call it home.” — Todd Brantley, The Rural Center

“I always felt that Mebane heard what I said and what I didn’t say better than anyone. It was a safe place and a productive place to be when we could collaborate.” — Katie McMillan, School Leader

“A Lifelong Storyteller” is a profile about Mebane published in April 2021.

In 2021, Mebane was featured in Business North Carolina’s inaugural Power List of North Carolina’s most influential leaders.


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