Deborah A. Santiago

Deborah Santiago

Deborah A. Santiago

Chief Executive Officer

Deborah A. Santiago is the Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Excelencia in Education, America's premier authority on efforts accelerating Latino student success in higher education. As an innovator, thought leader, and educational visionary, she has researched and identified evidence-based practices and strategies for more than 20 years at national levels to improve educational opportunities and success to better SERVE Latino, and all, students in higher education.

She co-founded Excelencia in Education in 2004 to inform policy, compel action, and collaborate with those ready to accelerate student success with an unapologetic Latino lens. Among her many contributions, Deborah has worked in federal government addressing legislative issues in higher education at the Congressional Research Service and informed program and budget efforts in the Office of Postsecondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education. She also worked with federal agencies and communities across the nation to improve awareness and education opportunities for Latinos as the Deputy Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. Among Deborah’s community efforts, she has provided program design and implementation for dropout prevention and parental engagement for the ASPIRA Association and translated data for community engagement as the Vice President for Research and Data at the Los Angeles Alliance for Student Achievement.

Deborah has been referred to by media as a national expert on Latino higher education and her respected work has been cited in numerous publications, including The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, The Economist, Forbes, NBC News, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, The Hechinger Report, and Diverse Issues in Higher Education.

Recently, she was appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to serve on the California Higher Education Recovery with Equity Taskforce. She serves on the Board of Visitors for the University of Mary Washington, her Alma Mater, as well as the Advisory Board of TheDream.US, and the Board of Directors for Higher Achievement.