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Linked Learning Alliance Expands Team to Deliver on Promise of Golden State Pathways Program

September 27, 2023 | Linked Learning Alliance

The Linked Learning Alliance is pleased to welcome Dr. Noemi Donoso as Chief Strategy Officer, Esther Soliman as Vice President of Pathways Implementation, Alice Chiang as Director of Communications, and Dr. Celia Castellanos as Pathways Quality Lead. These newest members of the team will strengthen the Alliance’s capacity to support school districts and county governments as they bring the Golden State Pathways Program (GSPP) to life in ways evidence links with educational excellence and equitable outcomes.

The Golden State Pathways Program dedicates funding to approaches like Linked Learning that reimagine high schools with students at the center. By blending rigorous college preparation with career technical learning and comprehensive student supports, Linked Learning ensures all students receive the full range of experiences needed for postsecondary success.

Having worked for prominent corporations, foundations, education organizations, and school districts in the Central Valley, Los Angeles, and Silicon Valley, the new team members bring diverse geographic representation and strong California-based relationships that will be pivotal to the push to make good on the state’s significant GSPP investments.

Dr. Donoso has over two decades of experience leading efforts proven to elevate outcomes for students across the country. Before joining the Alliance, she was an Executive Vice-President for The Wonderful Company, where she designed the first career-focused early college model in California's Central Valley to prepare students for high-skilled careers in agriculture. Dr. Donoso has held senior leadership roles within districts and charter organizations throughout the country, including her service as the Chief Education Officer for Chicago Public Schools, Chief of Innovation and Reform for Denver Public Schools, and Chief Academic Officer for Camino Nuevo Charter Academy.

Soliman is an award-winning educator and administrator who brings extensive knowledge and experience in establishing high-impact learning pathways to her role at the Alliance. During her time at Los Angeles Unified School District, she created the CTE-Linked Learning Department and expanded the district’s roster of pathways from six to 82 during her tenure. An advocate for the Linked Learning approach, Ms. Soliman has dedicated her career to ensuring all students have access to college and career opportunities.

Chiang is a seasoned leader in the field of communications, with a strong commitment to promoting children's health and well-being. Her expertise includes driving systemic change and engaging school districts in meaningful collaboration. Chiang previously served as Senior Communications and External Relations Manager at the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health where she oversaw the communications strategy and storytelling for children's health programs.

Dr. Castellanos is dedicated to developing and providing support for schools and districts to ensure the high quality of Linked Learning pathways implementation, with a focus on the needs of historically marginalized students. Dr. Castellanos taught math and technology in South Los Angeles, leveraging prior corporate web marketing experience to create a STEAM-focused small learning community for middle schoolers. She is also a former Linked Learning Instructional Coach, collaborating with Los Angeles Unified School District to help its pathways achieve Gold certification.

“We’re building an experienced California-based team with deep relationships and knowledge in the educational and workforce landscape of our state to ensure the successful implementation of this transformative initiative," said Anne Stanton, President and CEO of the Linked Learning Alliance. “With Noemi, Esther, Alice, and Celia, we are well-positioned to help counties and school districts deliver on the promise of GSPP and ensure high-quality, on-the-ground experiences that deliver real educational and economic equity for students and communities.”