Equity Advocate and Leader of Collaborative Change Jaqueline Cortez Wang Joins Achieving the Dream as Chief Strategy Officer, Vice President for External Partnerships

A first-generation high school and college graduate, Cortez Wang got her start at a community college, and will be strong voice for institutions and the students they serve.

SILVER SPRING, MD — Dr. Karen A. Stout, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream (ATD), today announced that Jaqueline Cortez Wang, an equity advocate and leader of collaborative change, joined the organization as Chief Strategy Officer, Vice-President, External Partnerships.

In her role, Cortez Wang will be leading new strategy implementation, working to develop current and new strategic partnerships, and supervising marketing and strategic communications.  

The daughter of Mexican immigrants and a first-generation high school and college graduate, Cortez Wang brings nearly two decades of dynamic professional experience focused on ensuring equitable educational access and improving student outcomes. Her experience managing multifaceted education programs and collaborative outreach initiatives will help strengthen ATD’s commitment to community college students across the nation.

“To work for an innovative organization that not only puts student success first, but that unapologetically centers equity and anti-racism is an opportunity to join an organization that is making real investments for long-term impact,” Cortez Wang said.

“Jaqueline’s broad experience in leading numerous government, nonprofit, corporate, and philanthropic partnerships as well as strategic communications work make her portfolio of talent unique,” Dr. Stout said. “She will help raise the profile of our institutions and extend ATD’s reach to organizations and agencies that enable community colleges to broaden educational success for racially minoritized students and spur local and regional economic renewal.”

“ATD cannot accomplish its vision alone,” Cortez Wang said. “It is instrumental that we work in partnership with organizations across this country, aligning efforts to effectively and intentionally transform student success outcomes. I also look forward to continuing to elevate the reputation of community colleges, which are uniquely positioned to bolster economic and community recovery as we emerge from the pandemic.”

She joins ATD from her position as Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), where she managed partnership development, K-12 initiatives, and private-public coalition and network building in support of teaching, learning, and innovation within the education field. Prior to joining ISTE, she served as Vice President of Accounts for GMMB, a prominent public affairs agency, where she oversaw communication initiatives for national and local nonprofit organizations.

Cortez Wang served more than five years at the U.S. Department of Education, including as Deputy Director for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. In that role, she led the strategic implementation of key policy priorities, special initiatives and national events focused on expanding educational opportunities and improving educational outcomes for Hispanic students. She also served as the Hispanic Communications and Outreach Director where she was instrumental in the development and execution of public affairs, public engagement, and education communication efforts for Hispanic stakeholders.

Cortez Wang began her career at NASA Johnson Space Center, departing after 13 years of various experiences, including her work leading a Human Research Program Education & Outreach program, where she managed the development of K-12 education programs focused on motivating young students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

A native of Pasadena, Texas, Cortez Wang is a community college graduate holding an Associate of Arts degree from San Jacinto College–Central as well as a dual Bachelor of Business Administration in Management and Marketing and a Master of Arts in Cross-Cultural Studies from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.

“I am a proud product of San Jacinto Community College, and I fully understand the transformative role community colleges play in the lives of their students, because I was that student,” Cortez Wang said. “And I continue to be that student, having recently attended Northern Virginia Community College for continued professional development.”

“Community colleges feel like home to me. You step foot on campus and are surrounded by students that are working towards a better future for themselves and their families. You are humbled by the experiences, the drive, and the passion of all those who set foot on a community college campus.”

Achieving the Dream (ATD) leads a growing network of more than 300 community colleges committed to helping their students, particularly low-income students and students of color, achieve their goals for academic success, personal growth, and economic opportunity. ATD is making progress in closing equity gaps and accelerating student success through a unique change process that builds each college’s institutional capacities in seven essential areas. ATD, along with nearly 75 experienced coaches and advisors, works closely with Network colleges in 45 states and the District of Columbia to reach more than 4 million community college students. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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