Paola Santana

Paola Santana serves as strategy officer for state policy at Lumina Foundation where she supports state efforts to increase postsecondary attainment and eliminate equity gaps through the implementation of Lumina's state policy agenda.

Prior to joining Lumina, Santana 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 complex policy issues and worked with educators, administrators, students, and families to improve educational opportunities in the country’s second-largest school district.  She is a proud graduate of the Riordan Leadership Institute, the Pahara NextGen Network, and the California Education Policy Fellowship Program.  Santana previously served on the board of directors of the Foundation for the Los Angeles Community Colleges and was appointed to serve as the Foundation’s representative on the district citizens' oversight committee.  A first generation and community college transfer student, Santana earned her B.A. at the University of California, Berkeley and went on to complete her master’s in higher education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.