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Helios Education Foundation Names Charles Hokanson as Senior Vice President and Chief Policy Officer

PHOENIX, Ariz. and TAMPA, Fla., March 11, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Helios Education Foundation, a philanthropic organization focused on creating opportunities for every individual in Arizona and Florida to achieve postsecondary education success, today announced the addition of Charles Hokanson to its senior leadership team. Hokanson will serve as the Foundation's Senior Vice President and Chief Policy Officer and will lead the organization's work related to Public Policy, Research and Evaluation.  

Helios Education Foundation

"We are excited that Charles has joined us and look forward to his leadership in helping Helios evolve our impact measurement strategies and accelerate our understanding and shaping of the education policy landscape in Arizona and Florida," said Helios Education Foundation President and CEO Paul Luna. "Charles joins our organization at a pivotal time for education reform in the two states we serve. With his strategic counsel, we look forward to becoming more deeply engaged in local and state issues across our Early Grade Success, College and Career Readiness and Postsecondary Completion efforts, including the implementation of the Florida Standards and Arizona's College and Career Ready Standards and aligned assessments."

Hokanson was most recently President and CEO of Hokanson Consulting Group LLC, where he provided strategic and public policy advice, especially in the areas of preK-12 education reform and postsecondary education, to a number of nonprofit, foundation, trade association and government clients, including the U.S. Department of Education and the Maryland and Ohio state departments of education.

"Having spent my career working across the public and nonprofit sectors to reform our education system and advance educational opportunities, especially for students from low-income families and underserved communities, I'm delighted to be part of Helios Education Foundation. This organization has made a long-term commitment to raising the bar for all Arizona and Florida students and is working to increase their opportunities to attend and succeed in postsecondary education," Hokanson said.

Hokanson previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education and as President of two leading education reform nonprofits, the Alliance for School Choice (501c3) and Advocates for School Choice (501c4).  He also served as professional staff member/education counsel to now-Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) on the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce, where he was a key staff negotiator on the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and led the Committee's efforts to reform and re-authorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. 

Hokanson is an experienced education policy professional whose career has bridged the worlds of nonprofit, think tank, foundation and public sector policy development and executive management. Earlier in his career, after serving as the President and Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Hokanson joined the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson LLP before taking on simultaneous research and management positions at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research and Thomas B. Fordham Foundation.

Charles graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University, earning a BA in History and American Studies and an MA in History, before earning JD and Master of Public Policy degrees at the Harvard Law School and Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Throughout his career, he has played key advisory and leadership roles in shaping and implementing policies related to complex issues such as standards and assessments, school funding, high-quality teachers, school choice and charter schools, special education and programs focused on improving the education of children from low-income families and high-need communities.  In recent years, he has consulted on grant funding for the U.S. Department of Education's $4B Race to the Top initiative and the i3 innovative grant program.

About Helios Education Foundation
Helios Education Foundation is focused on creating opportunities for individuals to succeed in postsecondary education by advancing the academic preparedness of all students and fostering a high-expectation, college-going culture in Arizona and Florida. The Foundation focuses its investments across the education continuum in three key impact areas:  Early Grade Success, College and Career Readiness and Postsecondary Education Success.

As an engaged foundation, embedded in communities across both states, the Foundation is contributing its expertise and financial resources to better prepare students for college and career and to compete successfully in a globally-competitive economy. Since 2006, Helios has invested over $138 million in education-related programs and initiatives in Arizona and Florida. For more information about the Foundation, visit, or join us on facebook, twitter and youtube.

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