Hoover Institution (Stanford, CA) – The Hoover Education Success Initiative (HESI), which applies prodigious data-driven research toward reinventing and reinvigorating K–12 student learning, has appointed educator and policy leader Stephen Bowen as its new executive director.

Bowen will lead HESI’s day-to-day operations effective August 15. He will support the coordination of scholars’ research and will regularly engage with HESI’s Practitioner Council of 25 leading education professionals and policy makers from 20 states, whose perspectives and frontline experience inform HESI’s policy recommendations. Bowen will also hold the title of Hoover policy fellow and program coordinator of Hoover Education.

"We are pleased to welcome Stephen Bowen to Hoover as HESI’s new executive director. He will have a critical role in our work on education, which is among the Institution's top priorities,” said Tad and Dianne Taube director Condoleezza Rice. “To quote our founder Herbert Hoover, ‘Children are our most valuable resource.’ The future of our national security and prosperity and the vitality of our democratic institutions, wholly depends on the quality of education for America’s youth.”

Bowen has served as deputy executive director for state leadership for the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) since 2018. In this role, he has overseen CCSSO's state leadership teams, its member services, education data, and information systems, and the leadership academy, which trains and supports senior staff members of state education agencies to help improve their performance and effectiveness. He also led the design and development of CCSSO's most recent strategic plan.

Bowen previously served as CCSSO's strategic initiative director for innovation (2013–18); commissioner of education for the state of Maine (2011–13); senior policy advisor to Maine’s governor Paul LePage (2011); education policy director for the Maine Heritage Policy Center (2007–11); and state legislator for the Maine House of Representatives (2002–6).

Bowen began his teaching career in Fairfax County, Virginia, and went on to teach middle and high school social studies in both Virginia and his native Maine for 10 years.

Bowen holds a BA in political science from Drew University and a master’s of education, specializing in secondary education, from George Mason University.

“Steve Bowen is going to spearhead Hoover’s move to take its research into actual practice. His wealth of experience with education in the states is a tremendous asset,” said Eric Hanushek, chair of HESI and the institution’s Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow in Education.

Founded in 2019 by a working group of Hoover senior scholars and the nation’s leading education experts, HESI provides recommendations on issues ranging from school choice and accountability, compensation for educators, student achievement, graduation pathways, and much more. HESI regularly hosts workshops and policy symposia on important topics in education. In the last three years, HESI’s research has been largely based on comparative data analysis across state landscapes, and it has published concise papers that are accessible to state and local leaders.

In March 2022, HESI hosted its first inaugural education summit, which featured sessions including scholars, educators, activists, and other experts who are eager to formulate and advance policies aimed at improving learning outcomes and boosting student achievement.  

For more information on the Hoover Education Success Initiative, click here.

For coverage opportunities, contact Jeffrey Marschner, 202-760-3187,

overlay image