Hanna Skandera (MPP '00)
Hanna Skandera has more than two decades of executive leadership experience in a variety
of national and state-level private, public, and nonprofit organizations. She serves
as the Visiting Professor of Education Policy and Impact at the Pepperdine School
of Public Policy.
Skandera joined the Daniels Fund in December 2020. As the Chief Executive Officer,
Hanna implements the Board’s strategic direction and leads all programs and operations
of the Daniels Fund. She is CEO of Mile High Strategies, serving as an education and
employability thought leader and advisor in leadership development and strategy, growing
organizational impact, and transforming organizational culture. Skandera is also the
editor-in-chief of The Line, founder of Pathway 2 Tomorrow, chief in residence with Chiefs for Change, co-founder
of the Women in Leadership Initiative, and the Visiting Professor of Education Policy
and Impact at Pepperdine University's School of Public Policy.
Skandera served as secretary of education for the State of New Mexico under Governor
Susana Martinez. In this role, Skandera oversaw a budget of $2.7B, and created a high-performing
team of more than 300 employees while cutting the agency operating budget by one-third.
She realized record-breaking outcomes including graduation rates reaching an all-time
high—up 10 percentage points, AP course enrollment more than doubling, a one-third
increase in the number of high-achieving schools, and the dramatic reduction of high
school graduates' college remediation rates—down 17 percentage points.
Much of Skandera's recent success stems from her systemic yet innovative efforts in
large, complex, bureaucratic organizations as well as in the launch of several national,
state, and local profit and nonprofit entities. These endeavors capture her clear
commitment to realize greater returns on investment, expand choice and competition,
transform system incentives, and empower the ultimate customer.
Previously, Skandera served as undersecretary for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger,
deputy commissioner for Governor Jeb Bush and deputy chief of staff and senior policy
advisor for US Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. Skandera was also a Research
Fellow with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and a Pahara-Aspen Institute
Fellow. Skandera graduated cum laude with a degree in business from Sonoma State University
and graduated from Pepperdine School of Public Policy.
Skandera also serves on the board of the Colorado Community College System, Academic
Partnership Board of Directors, Newsela Board of Directors, Daniels Fund Board of
Directors, Code.org Board of Directors, Harvard Kennedy School's Mayoral Leadership
in Education Network Advisory Committee, Senior Fellow and chair of the Education
Policy and Impact Initiative at the Pepperdine School of Public Policy, George W.
Bush Center Education Advisory Board, and former chair of Chiefs for Change, a bipartisan
policy and advocacy organization she launched.
Skandera is recognized for her ability to grow organizational impact, transform organizational
culture, and deliver results as well as her extensive network that spans private,
public, charitable, and academic spheres.