Susan True,  Director, Education Strategy & VenturesSusan True

Susan began leading the Foundation’s education investments in 2013. Her work focuses on increasing the number of Oakland children who are ready for kindergarten and reading at grade level by the end of third grade.  She directs initiatives to help teachers use effective teaching practices, grants to support families with young children, and funding to build early learning leadership and systems in Oakland.

Susan’s career reflects a deep passion for the healthy development of children. Her background includes serving as executive director of First 5 Santa Cruz County for nine years. During that time, over 95% of the county’s children were enrolled in health insurance, the rate of child maltreatment decreased, and the percentage of pre-school children on target for later reading success more than doubled. Prior to her work at First 5, Susan was director of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Santa Cruz County, Co-Principal Investigator of a University of California public health research project, and founder of a grassroots HIV prevention program. In 2008, she was elected to the Cabrillo College Board of Trustees. She has also been a foster parent and advocated for improvements in the child welfare system.

Susan has a BA in Community Studies from University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Master’s degree from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. She also leads the Bay Area Council’s development of the Talk, Read, Sing Campaign, an initiative promoting families as the first teachers of infants and toddlers.


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