Kris Palmer, senior director

Kris designs and leads work with all 115 California community colleges to close gaps in student achievement and equity.

Under the $150 million, statewide Guided Pathways redesign initiative, Kris has mobilized an ecosystem of collaborative partnerships, centered design on students’ needs, established iterative learning processes, and ensured that findings informed the field, the California Community College Chancellor’s Office, and the state Legislature. She planned and supervised CLP’s services, staffing, and tools development to deliver more than 100 workshops, learning exchanges, and student focus groups, as well as redesign tools and on-site college coaching.

Earlier, for the East Bay Pathways Consortium, Kris led CLP’s work with high schools and colleges to support faculty and administrators design new initiatives together. Research shows that their work, including mapping local college and career pathways and building networks to increase access to dual enrollment and work-based learning, boosted college attendance and completion rates. In collaboration with the schools and colleges, Kris presented these findings at national conferences and to the Legislature, the state Department of Education, the Chancellor’s Office, and philanthropic funders.

For the Career Advancement Academy (CAA) initiative, Kris helped build college-bridge programs for students from alternative high schools and adult schools, the formerly incarcerated, and foster youth. These efforts boosted college retention and completion and served as a model for subsequent investments in community colleges. 

Kris also has supported CLP’s executive director in collaborating with the Chancellor’s Office, the Irvine Foundation, the Bay Area Workforce Funding Collaborative, and other funders to sharpen reform initiatives, clarify strategies, and improve evaluations. And she has helped CLP raise more than $30 million from public and private funders.

Kris teaches political science and American government as an adjunct at Chabot College. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Indiana University and a master’s degree in public and international affairs and urban and regional planning from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School.