Dr. Karen Pérez serves as a leader for system improvement for English learners and equity at Education Northwest. Her work focuses on equity and inclusion of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) students and families; English learners; dual-language program development; diversifying the workforce; and setting up translation and interpretation structures in educational systems and student/family wraparound services.
Karen has a doctorate in educational leadership from Lewis & Clark College, a master’s degree in elementary education, a master’s degree in special education, and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and bilingual education K–12 endorsements from Portland State University. Karen holds an Oregon administrative license, serves as the vice president of the Oregon Association of Latino Administrators, and is a member of the Oregon Department of Education’s Emergent Bilingual Workgroup.
Karen is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese. Originally from El Salvador, Karen has also lived and worked in northeast Brazil, where she supported youth and women in starting sustainable fair-trade cooperatives. Before entering the education field, Karen earned a degree in biology from Carroll College and worked at Oregon Health & Science University in breast cancer research for four years.
As a brown-skinned-Salvadoran-first-generation American-cisgender female-mother-daughter, I draw strength from the strong women who have come before me and those who have walked with me to get where I am today. It is with their strength, integrity, and passion that I approach my work of deconstructing and co-constructing educational systems for more equitable outcomes.