Paola Santana

Articles by Paola

Paola Santana is an executive director at Glendale College Foundation.

She served as a strategy officer for state policy at Lumina Foundation from 2019 to 2023 supporting states’ efforts to increase attainment and eliminate racial disparities by implementing Lumina’s state policy agenda.

Prior to joining Lumina, she led the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce’s college access and success portfolio.  She was responsible for the implementation of direct service programming, the development of the chamber’s higher education policy advocacy agenda, and providing strategic support to the local Talent Hub.  Santana began her career working for the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education, where she advised board members on policy issues and worked with educators, administrators, students, and families to improve educational opportunities in the country’s second-largest school district.

Santana is a graduate of the Riordan Leadership Institute, the Pahara NextGen Network, and the California Education Policy Fellowship Program.

She has served on the board of directors of the Foundation for the Los Angeles Community Colleges and as the Foundation’s representative on the district citizens’ oversight committee.  A first-generation and community college transfer student, Santana holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s in higher education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

More from Paola

Changes in how Lumina makes grants and awards contracts will highlight the need for racial justice and equity

Lumina Foundation has a long-standing commitment to achieving racial equity—the point when an individual’s race or ethnicity no longer predicts educational outcomes. Creating a learning system in which Black, Hispanic, and Native American people are a priority was crucial to our launch 20 years ago.