Susanna Cooper uses her expertise in education policy, vision-setting, leadership development, project management, legislative strategy, philanthropy and communications to help organizations improve public education for California. Her projects span early education and care, K-12 education and community colleges.
Susanna is the founding Managing Director of Wheelhouse: The Center for Community College Leadership and Research, a nonprofit institute at the University of California, Davis, School of Education. She is Special Advisor to the Stuart Foundation, a San Francisco-based philanthropy focused on education and child well-being. She serves as president of the Board of Directors of the nonprofit EdSource, and consults to select clients in the education and child welfare arenas.
Previously, Susanna was senior education policy advisor to Senate President pro tem Darrell Steinberg. Her work at the intersection of policy, politics and pragmatism has produced major public policy change impacting public education. Legislative initiatives she led include creation of the $500-million Career Pathways Trust; expansion of and quality improvement in the California State Preschool Program; creation of the expert commission that led to California’s adoption of the Common Core Standards; and improvements in public school accountability, reducing the over-reliance on test scores and increasing the focus on graduation rates and measures of college and career readiness.