Elisha Smith Arrillaga
Dr. Elisha Smith Arrillaga joined the Dana Center as managing director in May 2021. She previously served as the executive director of The Education Trust—West, a national research and advocacy nonprofit organization committed to educational justice for students of color, students from low-income communities, and English learners.
Throughout her more than 20 years of research and advocacy, Elisha has worked for and partnered with many organizations, including the Careers Ladder Project, the Hewlett Foundation, Mathematica Policy Research, and College Bound. She has served on numerous committees, boards, and taskforces—among them Google’s Equitable Artificial Intelligence Research Roundtable, University of California’s Provost Advisory Council on Educational Equity, California State University’s Steering Committee on Academic Preparation and Quantitative Reasoning, University of California’s Test Feasibility Study Steering Committee, and the Launch Years Consensus Panel. Elisha was also appointed cochair of the California Department of Education’s Closing the Achievement Gap Initiative.
Elisha holds a B.A. in Mathematics from Smith College and an M.S. in Survey Methodology from the University of Maryland at College Park. She was the third Black person to graduate with a Ph.D. from the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs.