Press Release

The Education Trust is pleased to announce Bonita Brown as its director of higher education practice and José Cabrales as senior associate of higher education practice. They will work to help implement national best practices for improving student success and closing completion gaps through a network of regional comprehensive institutions that serve significant numbers of low-income students and students of color.

Bonita brings more than 15 years of extensive higher education experience, including work at HBCUs and large public universities focused on access to college for traditionally underrepresented students. She most recently served as vice chancellor and chief of staff at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a university previously recognized by Ed Trust for its success in eliminating its graduation rate gap between white and black students. In this role, she worked with the Chancellor, the Board of Trustees, and the Executive Leadership Team to manage a large comprehensive university and to ensure that students have access to the tools necessary for success.

The daughter of a career public school educator, Bonita witnessed firsthand the struggles of too many underserved students to successfully matriculate through the higher education system. She attributes this experience for driving her passion to reform systems to better serve all students, particularly those of color and from low-income families. A native of North Carolina, she holds a Bachelor of Arts from Wake Forest University, and a Juris Doctor from Wake Forest University School of Law.

José comes to the Ed Trust with more than 10 years of experience as an administrator in higher education, including residence life, admissions, Greek life, career services, and research on Latino philanthropy in higher education and student success. Most recently, he served as the program manager for community engagement at Excelencia in Education, where he worked to increase Latino postsecondary achievement and degree completion.

José started his educational journey as a Head Start student, and is also the first in his family to earn a bachelor’s degree and an advanced degree. He credits these experiences for igniting his passion in pushing the nation’s institutions of higher education to better serve traditionally underserved students. A native of California, José holds a bachelor’s degree from Santa Clara University, a master’s degree in Student Affairs from Michigan State University, and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Iowa State University.

“We are thrilled to have both Bonita and José join our Higher Ed team. Their passion and expertise in higher education practice will greatly support our equity-centered advocacy efforts to close gaps in access and success,” says José Luis Santos, vice president of higher education policy and practice.”