Why I work with HCM

I am passionate in my belief that the greatest opportunity for betterment in a person’s life comes from the ability to learn a profession and acquire advanced skills.  At times we can forget that education exists for the benefit of the student, not the institution.  And challenging the status quo is an uphill battle where the steps forward can seem small. But I believe that every success we have in making education more accessible and degrees more attainable brings people, regardless of background, one step closer to an opportunity for a better future.   

Martha Snyder

Managing Director of Postsecondary Education Transformation

Martha Snyder is an education policy specialist with high-level experience supporting federal and state policymakers. At HCM Strategists, she provides policy expertise and strategic counsel on a wide range of areas from finance to accountability to college readiness and affordability. Martha is a primary lead for Lumina Foundation’s Strategy Labs, where she provides non-partisan expertise and facilitation on affordability, outcomes-based funding and other finance policies to improve higher education attainment. She also serves as the key strategist on state postsecondary policy work for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

In addition to this work, Martha contributes to the postsecondary team on issues of aligning postsecondary financing to advance improved outcomes for underserved populations, transitioning between k-12 and postsecondary education and evaluating policies that support k-12 and postsecondary student transitions.

A believer in the link between higher education and economic success, Martha has worked both personally and professionally to improve educational outcomes for disadvantaged students. While at Villanova University earning her bachelor’s degree, Martha tutored inner-city students and witnessed the education system challenges that allowed many students to fall through the cracks. Martha later graduated from Syracuse University with a master’s degree in public administration and, inspired by a graduate professor, pursued a career in education policy to help expand educational opportunities for students.

Before her tenure at HCM, Martha worked as a senior policy advisor at the United States Department of Education, focusing on K-12 accountability, high school reform and special education. She also served as an associate director for The White House Domestic Policy Council, developing budget priorities and providing analysis and counsel on all federal education issues. Her legislative branch experience includes a stint as a legislative assistant to Rep. Jim Gerlach of Pennsylvania.

Living in a state capital, Martha has a strong understanding of the role state-level leadership plays in advancing strong policies that lead to growth and innovation. This perspective has been an important foundation to Martha’s work with state policymakers. Across the U.S., Martha has worked with state leaders, including state legislators and higher education policy officials, to facilitate the development, grounded in research-based expertise, of outcomes-based funding recommendations and related strategic higher education policies.

Martha lives with her husband and four children in Albany, New York, where she has put her passion for creative educational approaches to work on the board of directors for two local charter schools. A 13-time marathon finisher, Martha is an enthusiastic runner and dedicated fan of the Buffalo Bills.



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