Pearl Chang Esau is an educator, advocate, policy expert, and leading voice in support of excellent education for all students. Beginning her career as a 5th grade teacher in East Los Angeles, Pearl has worked tirelessly to champion high expectations and public support for educators and students from the early years through high school, college and beyond.
Over the last decade, Pearl held the chief executive roles for the education non-profits Teach For America Phoenix and Expect More Arizona, helping to establish education as the #1 priority for Arizona voters. During her tenure in these roles, Pearl led efforts to raise over $40 million from public and private sources. Under her leadership, Expect More Arizona played an integral role in the establishment of higher standards for Arizona students and the passage of Proposition 123 resulting in $3.5 billion for K-12 public schools. Pearl enjoys learning all sides of an issue and building partnerships across diverse groups to get things done. She has been instrumental in the start up of several collaborative cross-sector education initiatives such as The Sanford Inspire Project at ASU, The Arizona Education Progress Meter, and Achieve60AZ.
In 2016, Pearl was appointed by the Governor to serve as an education commissioner for the state of Arizona. She has been a regular guest commentator on television and radio news programs and volunteers with numerous groups to provide education and policy expertise.
Pearl has received the Athena Young Professional Award from the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and was recognized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as a Profile of Change in education reform. She has also been named one of the 50 most influential women in Arizona and one of the 25 Most Admired CEOs in Phoenix. Pearl graduated summa cum laude and holds teaching credentials from the University of California – Los Angeles. She is married to a public school principal and has three young children – Kaiya, Zeke, and Niko.