Estela Zarate

Estela Zarate
Estela Zarate, Ph.D., Dean of the LMU School of Education

Estela Zarate, Ph.D., a nationally recognized higher education leader whose commitment to student success, anti-racism, equity, and civic engagement embodies the Loyola Marymount University mission, became dean of LMU School of Education on July 8, 2024. She brings to LMU nearly two decades of experience as an academic leader and scholar at California State University, Fullerton, the University of California Irvine, and other institutions of higher education.

Prior to joining LMU, Zarate was a visiting senior faculty fellow at the Diana Natalicio Institute for Hispanic Student Success at the University of Texas, El Paso. There she led the institute’s strategic planning, developed a national network of higher education scholars for future collaborations and partnerships, contributed to research on increasing participation in STEM careers, and participated in national conversations about policy and research strategies to transform higher education.

She took the fellowship at UTEP while on leave from her role as professor in the department of educational leadership at California State University, Fullerton, which she had joined in 2013. In that role she held various leadership and administrative positions, including Vice Provost of Academic Affairs, coordinator of the school administration preparation program in the College of Education, chair of the university-wide Planning, Resource, and Budget Committee, and Academic Senator. As Vice Provost, she led and designed faculty and student success initiatives. She also oversaw statewide programs, such as Project Rebound, a state-wide consortium of programs for formerly incarcerated college students, and led the work to repatriate Native American human remains and cultural artifacts.

Zarate’s scholarship has examined the trajectory of immigrant students and students of color in U.S. schools and colleges, including the connections between schools and families and the experiences of multi-lingual learners. She co-edited a volume on educational interventions for migrant students. She has also written about and developed professional learning opportunities to improve teaching for first-generation college students. More recently, she has also examined school leader preparation instruction to understand how to incorporate anti-racist and ethical leadership principles. Her other professional experiences include working as a college counselor in the Midwest and as an early childhood educator in Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Zarate was classified as an English language learner when she started school and was the first in her family to attend college. She earned a B.A. in mathematical economic analysis at Rice University and a Ph.D. in education at the University of California Los Angeles. She moved to Los Angeles to attend UCLA and has called the City of Angels her home for nearly 25 years.