A former chairwoman of Chiefs for Change, Hanna Skandera currently supports our members and participants in our Future Chiefs leadership development program by providing coaching, advising, and thought partnership through her role as chief in residence. In addition, Skandera is CEO of Mile High Strategies, where she serves as an education and employability entrepreneur; senior advisor; and executive coach in leadership development and strategy, organizational impact, and organizational culture. She is also editor in chief of The Line; founder of Pathway 2 Tomorrow; superintendent in residence with the Broad Center; and a Distinguished Teaching Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Skandera was previously New Mexico secretary of education under Gov. Susana Martinez. In that role, she oversaw a budget of $2.7 billion and created a high-performing team of more than 300 employees, while reducing the agency’s operating budget by a third. Under her leadership, the state achieved record-breaking outcomes: Graduation rates increased by 10 percentage points; enrollment in Advanced Placement courses more than doubled; the number of high-achieving schools increased by a third; and high school graduates’ college remediation rates dropped 17 percentage points.

Prior to that, Skandera was undersecretary of education for former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, deputy education commissioner for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and deputy chief of staff and senior policy advisor for U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. Hanna was also a Research Fellow with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and a Pahara-Aspen Institute Fellow. She serves on the Great Cities, Great Schools Advisory Committee and Pepperdine School of Public Policy Advisory Committee, and is chair of the Education Advisory Board for the George W. Bush Center.

Skandera graduated cum laude with a degree in business from Sonoma State University and was valedictorian of Pepperdine’s Graduate School of Public Policy.