Advancement Project Closing the Opportunity Gap

Ernesto Saldana

Associate Director of Programs, Educational Equity

Ernesto has over 20 years of experience in non-profit leadership. He serves as the Associate Director of Programs for Educational Equity where his primary responsibilities are to oversee the organization’s first effort in leadership and advocacy in community mobilization and advocacy for parents with children ages 0-8 and also supporting the team’s education policy advocacy.

Prior to joining the Advancement Project, he served as Vice President of Partnerships and Local Engagement for Early Edge California, formerly known as Preschool California, where he led the state field campaign to establish a new grade in California, called transitional kindergarten. He also served as the executive director for Public Allies Los Angeles where worked to develop the next generation of non-profit leaders through a social justice framework. Previously, Ernesto led the national communications strategies for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, the leading organization that trains the nation’s top Latina/o leaders. He also served as a diversity consultant and an adjunct lecturer advancing social justice and promoting increased assets-based, culturally responsive leadership development with communities of color.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from California State University, Fullerton and went on to earn is his juris doctorate from Whittier College School of Law. Ernesto is a proud son of Mexican Bracero farm worker parents who was born and raised in Santa Ana, California. From his mother he learned to advocate for equity and social justice and his father taught him a passion for education. He is urged to put these values into practice by his life partner Corina and their son Yarel.