Insights & News

College Futures Welcomes New Strategic Learning Officer

College Futures Foundation is pleased to announce the newest addition to our team: Theresa Esparrago Lieu joins us as Strategic Learning Officer, a role integral to the Foundation’s commitment to systems change.

Esparrago Lieu is a skilled evaluation consultant with deep experience in research design, qualitative and quantitative data collection, and analysis, and the role that learning and evaluation play in strategy development and execution. In her previous role with Informing Change, a strategic learning firm focused on supporting non-profits and philanthropies in using data to inform their change-making efforts, Esparrago Lieu managed a diverse portfolio of engagements with clients immersed in challenging social issues. She is also a passionate advocate for education, equity, and access to quality learning opportunities with a decade of education sector experience—including advancing the implementation and scaling of Linked Learning pathways across California through various roles with ConnectED: The National Center for College and Career.

“At College Futures, we take an extremely integrated approach to systems change that utilizes a variety of tools and talents, from thought partnership and grantmaking approaches to strategic communications and influence to public policy. Learning is core to our strategy and our ability to adapt to a complex and changing environment,” said Monica Lozano, President and CEO.

“Theresa approaches her work with curiosity, rigor, and compassion, and is deeply committed to equity both personally and professionally,” Lozano, continued. “She is well regarded in the field and has previously collaborated with members of our team in a consulting capacity. We are glad to bring her onboard with this position.”

Esparrago Lieu steps into her role as Strategic Learning Officer on April 12. In this position she will manage the College Futures Foundation practice of leveraging data and insights to inform decisions about strategy and execution. She will help set Foundation learning agendas, define research and evaluation projects, and lead development and operationalization of the Foundation’s measurement, learning, and evaluation (MLE) framework. She will report to Elizabeth González, Chief Program and Strategy Officer, and work closely with the Foundation’s Program, Policy, and Communications teams.

“Listening, assessment, and reflection are essential to College Futures Foundation as a learning organization,” said González. “In Theresa, we are fortunate to have a professional already adept in stakeholder engagement, developing well-informed strategies for impact and supportive, equity-informed MLE plans to realize that change. Her work will strengthen ours and ultimately serve students and communities across the state.”

Esparrago Lieu holds a master’s degree in sociology of education from New York University and a B.A. in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley.

“Although the ongoing pandemic has increased pressures on the state’s most marginalized communities, the underlying inequities students face are not new,” said Esparrago Lieu. “What is new is the Foundation’s approach to systems change. By centering equity and working in partnership to improve essential components of our large and interconnected educational system—from leadership and policy to student-centric practices to finance and affordability—many more students will have opportunities to succeed.”

“As a daughter of immigrants from the Philippines, it was hard to know how to navigate my path to and through higher education. Providing support for other students of color has been a driving force in my career,” said Esparrago Lieu. “In this economy, higher education attainment is increasingly vital. Thus it’s even more important to create spaces and systems that allow for diverse students to thrive. I’m looking forward to jumping into this role at College Futures Foundation at such a pivotal moment.”