Helios Education Foundation Prioritizes Equity in Five-Year Vision

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Since the founding of Helios Education Foundation, we have been focused on creating opportunities for students to succeed in postsecondary education.  That mission is rooted in the belief that education changes lives and strengthens communities.  Over the past few years, our work has reflected an increased focus on issues of equity in education and ensuring that all students – regardless of background or zip code – have access to a high quality education.  Throughout Arizona and Florida, we are working to close achievement gaps and increase postsecondary degree attainment.  This will not only increase opportunities for individuals to live a more fulfilling life, but it will also help ensure that our communities are strong and economically stable.

Today, we are pleased to announce that we have recently created a five-year vision that elevates six critical areas of focus for the Foundation.  While these areas are not new for Helios and much of our work is already aligned in these areas, we are enhancing our efforts and will work, alongside our partners, to move the needle forward.

Our five-year vision includes the following:

  • Championing postsecondary attainment and eliminating achievement gaps
  • Raising our voice in support of first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented students and working toward a more equitable education system
  • Creating innovative education solutions through data-driven decision-making
  • Increasing our work in convening, collaborating, and partnering together in support of an education system that puts students first
  • Increasing our internal talent and expertise in areas that will help support our work
  • Remaining flexible in order to be responsive to emerging needs and priorities that may arise.

To deliver on this vision, we have promoted key individuals among our staff and created additional senior leadership within both our policy and research areas.  Helios is pleased to announce the following:

  • Janice Palmer has been named the Senior Vice President, Government Affairs and Public Policy. In this role Janice will lead our policy work in both Arizona and Florida, driving the implementation of a policy agenda that supports our fundamental beliefs and our five-year vision.  We know that in order to see the kind of systemic change that is necessary to realize a more equitable education system, we have to engage in policy in a more significant and proactive way.  Janice Palmer has led our policy work in Arizona for the past five years and she will continue to focus on implementing a policy agenda in Arizona and Florida that is equitable and serves all students.
  • Dr. Paul Perrault has been named the Senior Vice President, Community Impact and Learning.  In this role Dr. Perrault will help inform the Foundation’s strategy and goals by providing strategic leadership to the Foundation’s research and evaluation work and the grants management and administration team.  As we continue to ensure that we are rooting our decisions in data and research, Dr. Perrault’s work has become even more critical and is directly informing our organizational strategy. 
  • Julie Norwood has been named Vice President, Grants and Project Management. In this role, Julie will take on increased leadership in providing expertise and support in grants and project management to internal and external partners.     

Our Community Engagement teams will continue to be led by Charles Hokanson in Florida and Vince Yanez in Arizona and their roles have been expanded to include both Community Engagement and Strategic Partnership activities.  

These changes represent our increased focus and commitment to being an impactful organization that is dedicated to ensuring all students in Arizona and Florida have the opportunity to achieve a postsecondary degree.

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