David A. Hawkins Named Inaugural Chief Education and Policy Officer for the National Association for College Admission Counseling

Shanda Ivory

David A. Hawkins Named Inaugural Chief Education and Policy Officer for the National Association for College Admission Counseling


Arlington, VA (Jan. 5, 2021) – David A. Hawkins, a longtime executive at the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), has been named inaugural chief education and policy officer for the association. He assumed the position on Jan. 1.

Hawkins, who joined NACAC in 2000, will develop and lead the execution of NACAC’s strategic priorities in securing grants and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, and will manage the association’s programs in advocacy, government relations, public policy, research, education, and training—areas already under his purview. In addition, he will serve as an adviser to NACAC CEO Angel B. Pérez and the association’s leadership team.

"I'm so excited to partner with David,” NACAC CEO Angel B. Pérez said. “His passion for our members and his deep knowledge of government, policy, research, and advocacy uniquely position him to thrive in this important new role."

Hawkins is up for the challenge. “I’m looking forward to bringing a higher-level focus to education and policy as a top priority for NACAC,” Hawkins said. “I’ll work with my team to set our educational agenda while expanding our advocacy efforts and continuing the research that we’ve done over the years, including taking on a new facet of work with foundations and fundraising,” he said.

Hawkins said another aspect of the work will be ensuring that diversity, equity, and inclusion are interwoven in NACAC’s internal and external functions. “Our educational system is inequitable at every level and it’s something that higher education by itself can’t resolve, but we can certainly shine a light on what we see when students arrive at our doorstep,” he said.

Hawkins is well positioned to take on the new position, said Pérez. “In this role, David is charged with taking the Ad-Hoc Committee on Leadership in College Admission report, the CEO Listening Tour summary, and NACAC’s forthcoming mission and vision statements to create a vision that will drive a bold new direction. Together with his extraordinary team, he will create a data-informed and outcomes-based strategy that will help NACAC meet its goals. David and his team will make sure we stay focused on the vision members have for the organization and hold us accountable for results,” he said.

Hawkins has served NACAC in various roles during his 20-year tenure, including as a spokesperson for the association and as the creator of NACAC’s signature research study, the annual State of College Admission report, which has positioned NACAC to lead the conversation regarding trends and issues in the profession. Hawkins has written legislation that has been introduced in Congress and successfully drafted language that has been included in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Higher Education Act, as well as related regulations. He has served on the US Department of Education’s Program Integrity Negotiated Rulemaking Committee, testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, and provided testimony for the House Education and Labor Committee and Advisory Committee on Student Financial Aid. 

In addition, Hawkins led the creation of the Council of National School Counseling and College Access Organizations and has served on the board of the Pathways to College Network. He currently serves on the boards of the Center for Postsecondary Readiness and Success at American University and the American Youth Policy Forum.

Prior to working at NACAC, Hawkins was a congressional affairs specialist for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. He was also research director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He holds a BA and MA in government from The College of William & Mary (VA).


The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), founded in 1937, is an organization of nearly 14,000 professionals from around the world dedicated to serving students as they make choices about pursuing postsecondary education. 

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