We recently interviewed Neola’s Executive Director of Policy Services, Angela De Los Santos. Angela is an accomplished Senior Policy & Governance Leader with over 15 years of experience in public policy, policy services, and product development. With a proven track record of guiding thousands of governing boards to effectively manage local policies and procedures, Angela shares more about her passion for policy in this interview.
Can you tell us about your experience in policy development and implementation, particularly in the education sector?
I began my career with a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies and an interdisciplinary certificate in Criminal Justice, working with children and adults with disabilities. My casework experience drew me to education systems and their broader potential to impact families and communities at large. Upon graduating with a Master of Education, I began consulting with the Texas Association of School Boards to promote policies and practices that contribute to thriving students.
You may recognize me from my most recent role as the Senior Director of Policy Services at BoardDocs. In this role, I helped develop platforms, systems, and teams that promote and support education policy stakeholders — including Neola subscribers. There, I served as the Chair of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion committee, leading a team of professionals to develop and implement research-based and measurable education and awareness initiatives.
I’ve been honored to deliver speeches and provide policy training at state and national conferences, to help educational leaders apply emerging trends and best practices in public policy consulting and management.
How do you stay up-to-date on current policy trends and changes that may impact education?
My continued drive to improve policy systems and outcomes led me to obtain a Public Leadership Credential from Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), a program focusing on data driven decisions, policy design and delivery, and ethical, adaptive leadership. In my free time, I continue to track state legislation and volunteer with local government boards.
Why did you join the Neola team?
Ten years ago I met Dr. Richard “Dick” Clapp, former Neola President and CEO. Like me, Dick was an advocate for students. Also, like me, he loved people and policy. Dick always wore a lapel pin that said, “Children First” — a loving reminder of why we do the work we do.
Not long after I met Dick, he introduced me to the entire Neola family, including Pat Corbett, Amanda Clapp, Paula Clapp, Scott Westhoven, and many more exceptional professionals. Dick and the team always made it clear that the Neola family was my family.
For the past nine years, we’ve worked together to refine the systems and processes that support policy management — with a goal to make policy management “lovable,” as I often put it. We lost Dick in March of 2020, but his passion for putting children first and his policy legacy live on through the inspired leadership and work of his Neola family.