Aidé Acosta, Ph.D., is Chief College Officer (CCO) for the Noble Network of Charter Schools. As CCO, Dr. Acosta is responsible for advancing Noble’s mission: to support all Noble graduates to succeed on the path of their choice, leading to 75% of alumni earning bachelor’s degrees. She leads all college access and success strategies, and oversees the following programs: Summer of a Lifetime, College Counseling, Alumni Supports, Alumni Career Office, Pritzker Access Scholarship (PAS), and Noble Forward. Dr. Acosta also serves as a leader in the national education community, collaborating with a national network of practitioners and sharing Noble’s practices toward improving college outcomes for underserved populations. Dr. Acosta has been at Noble since 2013 and has worked at Golder College Prep (2013-2014) and UIC College Prep (2014-2015). She joined the Noble Support Team in 2015 to launch the Pritzker Access Scholarship (PAS) program to support undocumented students. Given the unprecedented outcomes of the PAS program (with a 70% bachelor’s completion for undocumented students), she was tasked in 2017 with leading the organizational strategy to improving college outcomes for all Noble graduates. She was named Chief College Officer in December 2019.
Dr. Acosta grew up in the border region of San Diego/Tijuana. Her parents arrived in the U.S. with a collective formal education of eight years. She is a first-generation college student who, despite dropping out of high school in 10th grade, has earned a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and a doctorate. Dr. Acosta has over 15 years of experience working on improving educational outcomes for students of color, and leverages her experience, empathy, and unwavering belief in every student’s ability toward improving the educational outcomes for underserved students. She earned her B.A. in history and anthropology from the University of California, Riverside, and a master’s and doctorate from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Acosta has taught at Northwestern University, Indiana University Bloomington and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
Why do you work at Noble?
I love working within a mission-driven organization that boldly strives to improve the college outcomes for Black and Brown youth in Chicago, and subsequently creates multi-generational change.
Who was your favorite teacher while growing up?
My most memorable teacher is Mr. Dominguez from Granger Junior High School in National City, CA. He was my homeroom teacher, and it was the first time I had heard how important it was to take pride in oneself and in one’s community. Mr. Dominguez called our class “Hall of Champions,” and was a loyal San Diego Chargers fan, reminding us that: “Home Team Comes First!”
Favorite thing about Noble or favorite Noble moment?
One of my favorite moments at Noble was in the spring of 2019 when I got to attend the college graduations of our original PAS cohort. 63% of students completed their degrees in just four years! It was an honor to share this moment with each of them and their families. Every graduation is so special to our families, and it is so fulfilling that we get to be part of their educational journey.
What do you/your department do at Noble?
As the Chief College Officer, I oversee and support the development of policy, practice, and resources for Noble’s College Team. I am responsible for creating best practices in supporting students to-and-through college. In this work, I oversee the following teams:
- College Counseling and Access
Provides leadership and coaching to the College Dean community across 17 high schools and training and tools support to over 60 counselors across the network to help guide students towards college access.
- Summer of a Lifetime
Provides funding and support for almost 1,000 Noble rising high school juniors annually to experience academic summer programs on college campuses.
- DREAMer Supports
Provides guidance and supports towards improving college outcomes for undocumented/DACAmented high school students and graduates; and also administers the Pritzker Access Scholarship resulting in DREAMers completing college at nationally unprecedented rates (~70% for the founding class).
- Alumni Supports
Provides leadership and direct support to staff who offer coaching and support to alumni in college; this team also leads a centralized Alumni Supports model towards college success.
- Alumni Career Office
Provides direct coaching and support to alumni as they enter the job market, resulting in 75+% of Noble bachelor’s graduates employed or in grad school within 6 months of graduation; this team also leads Ambitious Postsecondary Pathways and the Noble Alumni Association.
- Noble Forward
An online, competency-based program in partnership with Southern New Hampshire University and Brandman University that provides a new college option for Noble alumni combining rigorous academics with intensive supports.
Start at Noble?
Born in Sinaloa, Mexico; grew up in Southern California.
University of California, Riverside (B.A. in History and Anthropology)
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (Master's and Ph.D. in Anthropology)