Charles Hokanson is Senior Vice President and Chief Policy Officer for Helios Education Foundation. He leads the Foundation’s Policy, Research and Evaluation Center of Excellence and is instrumental in the development and implementation of a public policy agenda around Helios’ three impact areas of Early Grade Success, College and Career Readiness and Postsecondary Completion.
Mr. Hokanson is an experienced education policy professional and executive leader whose career has bridged the worlds of nonprofit, think tank, foundation and public sector policy development and C-level management. From 2008 to 2013, as President and CEO of Hokanson Consulting Group LLC, he provided strategic and public policy advice, especially in the areas of preK-12 education reform and postsecondary education, to nonprofit, foundation, trade association, and federal and state government clients.
Among his nonprofit leadership positions, Mr. Hokanson previously helmed two of the nation’s leading education reform nonprofits as President of Alliance for School Choice (501c3) and Advocates for School Choice (501c4), expanding and strengthening these organizations and coordinating strategic policy and direct advocacy efforts across the country to pass, implement and protect a broad range of federal and state legislation. He also served as Executive Vice President of The Center for Education Reform (501c3), a national policy nonprofit advocating for lasting, substantive and structural education reform through generating and sharing leading ideas and information, protecting and stimulating media coverage and issue accuracy, and supporting and enabling grassroots activism.
From 2003-2007, Mr. Hokanson held several senior federal government political appointments at the U.S. Department of Education, including Deputy Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, Chief of Staff to the General Counsel, and Chief of Staff for the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development. He also previously served as a senior professional staff member and education counsel to now-Speaker of the House John Boehner 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.
Earlier in his career, after serving as President of the Harvard Society for Law and Public Policy, Inc. (501c3) and Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Mr. Hokanson joined the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson LLP before holding a research fellow appointment at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research and serving in research and senior management capacities at the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, both nonpartisan, independent research and educational organizations.
After graduating with distinction and Phi Beta Kappa honors from Stanford University, earning a BA in History and American Studies and an MA in History, Mr. Hokanson earned his Juris Doctor and Master of Public Policy degrees at the Harvard Law School and Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Mr. Hokanson currently is a Trustee of the Florida Chamber Foundation and a member of the Boards of Directors of the Arizona Business Education Coalition and Hostelling International-USA (executive committee). He serves on the Advisory Boards for the Florida College Access Network (FCAN), the Center for Postsecondary Success at the Florida State University College of Education, Florida TaxWatch’s Center for Education Accountability and Performance, Stand for Children Arizona, and the Collaborative for Student Success at The New Venture Fund. Mr. Hokanson is also a member of the Education Affinity Group of the Florida Philanthropic Network, the Public Policy Committee of Expect More Arizona, and the Steering Committee for the Education Policy Working Group of Grantmakers for Education, as well as the American Educational Research Association and Arizona Evaluation Network, among other professional organizations.