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María Santos

Independent Consultant

María Santos is an exceptional educator with a strong history of success in systemic transformations, leadership development, and multilingual education whose work has impacted local, state and national levels.

Santos facilitated collaborative interactions between diverse constituencies in the development and implementation of systemic improvement plans for multiple states and school districts throughout the nation. She designed and facilitated institutes for educational leaders focused on systemic improvement of Multilingual Learner education, including the Council of Chief State School Officers’ network of 28 State Education Agency(SEA) leaders. In addition, with the support of a Gates Foundation funded initiative, she developed leadership capacity for 25 New York school district educators in partnership with the New York State Education Department. As Engagement Director for School and District Services in the Comprehensive School Assistance Program (CSAP) at WestEd, Santos provided oversight and leadership for a team of senior engagement managers and school and district facilitators, from 2014-2019.

In 2011, as Co-Chair with Kenji Hakuta, they established Understanding Language at Stanford’s Graduate School of Education. Understanding Language is an initiative focused on helping policymakers, researchers, state and district staff, and schools to better prepare and serve English learners to meet the rigor of the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards. Maria Santos served as Deputy Superintendent for Instruction, Leadership, and Equity-in-Action for the Oakland (CA) Unified School District, from 2010–2014. Prior to 2010,she was the Senior Instructional Manager and Superintendent for the Office of English Language Learners at the New York City Department of Education for seven years. She led efforts toensure that Children First reforms were raising the academic rigor of English language learners through quality teaching and learning. Early in these reforms, Santos led the restructuring ofNew York City's Early Childhood, ELL, and Instructional Technology departments. She alsoserved 20 years in the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) and as Associate Superintendent, she supervised the development of major instructional improvement initiativesand gained SFUSD the recognition as an Exemplary Site by the U.S. Department of Education's National Award for Professional Development.

Santos received a MS in educational administration from San Francisco State University. Education Week profiled Santos as a national 2014 Leader to Learn From. María Santos is the lead author of: Preparing English Learners for College and Career: Lessons From Successful High Schools.





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