Melissa Stephenson

Media Engagement Specialist

Bio coming soon.

Dr. James Zaharis

Greater Phoenix Leadership

Jim Zaharis is the Vice President for Education at Greater Phoenix Leadership, a CEO business organization.

Vince Yanez

Helios Education Foundation

Vince Yanez, who served as executive director for the Arizona State Board of Education since 2005, joined the Arizona Community Foundation staff as executive director for the Arizona Venture Fund for Quality Education, leading ACF’s education, scholarship and public policy initiatives.

Merl Waschler

Valley of the Sun United Way

Merl Waschler leads Valley of the Sun United Way as President and Chief Executive Officer. He guides the strategic direction of the largest non-profit investor of health and human services programs in Maricopa County.

Mayor Greg Stanton

City of Phoenix

Since taking office just two years ago, Mayor Greg Stanton has worked tirelessly to build a modern economy that works for every Phoenix family.

Dr. Larry Penley

Penley Consulting, LLC

Larry Edward Penley, Ph.D., heads his own consulting firm, Penley Consulting, LLC, which specializes in working with senior executives on leadership and strategy.

Janice Palmer

Helios Education Foundation

Janice Palmer is the Director of Governmental Relations & Public Affairs for the Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA) and has been with the Association for over 14 years.

Michael O’Connor

Salt River Project

Michael was named SRP’s Associate General Manager and Chief Legal Executive Law and Human Resources on July 25, 2011. Based in Tempe, Arizona, SRP is one of the nation’s largest publicly owned electric and water utilities, with annual operating revenues of approximately $3.0 billion, and a balance sheet measuring some $11 billion.

Jack Lunsford

The Lunsford Group

Jack W. Lunsford is President of The Lunsford Group, specializing in public affairs and government relations, business and economic development, and municipal procurement and zoning.

Dr. Mari Koerner

Arizona State University

Dr. Mari Koerner is the Dean of the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University.

Pearl Chang Esau

Shan Strategies

Pearl Chang Esau is with Shan Strategies. Previously, Pearl was President and CEO of Expect More Arizona, a nonpartisan education advocacy organization building a movement of Arizonans in support of world-class education for all children. Prior to this role, she served as executive director of Teach For America – Phoenix, where she led a teacher corps serving 20,000 low-income students each year in the Greater Phoenix area. Pearl began her career in education teaching 5th grade English Language Learners in East Los Angeles. This opportunity inspired a life-long commitment to helping all students reach their potential through an excellent education.

Currently, Pearl serves on numerous boards and advisory groups including the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, the ASU Morrison Institute for Public Policy, the Wells Fargo Community Advisory Board, Arizona Voices and the United Way of Northern Arizona. She has also been appointed by the Governor to serve on education-related councils and committees.

Pearl received the Athena Young Professional Award in 2014 from the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, has been recognized by the Phoenix Business Journal as one of the Valley’s 25 Most Admired CEOs, called one of the 50 most influential women in Arizona by Arizona Business Magazine, and highlighted by the US Chamber as a “Profile of Change”. A Rhodes Scholar finalist in California, she graduated summa cum laude from the University of California – Los Angeles. Pearl is married to a public school principal and has two young children.

Dr. Deb Duvall

Why Not the Best Public Education in Arizona

President and Founder of Why Not the Best Public Education in Arizona Foundation.