Leslie Sale, Ph.D.

Senior Associate

Leslie Sale joined ESG in 2023 to support its Career Readiness portfolio.

Prior to joining ESG, Leslie was executive director for a registered neighborhood organization and nonprofit dedicated to promoting the health and vibrancy of the built environment in downtown Denver. She worked closely with political candidates and policymakers to ensure neighborhood interests, including issues related to economic and workforce development, were well represented. Leslie has also been program coordinator for a small Boston-based nonprofit which partnered with area schools to employ geopolitical curricula intended to promote students’ global literacy and build critical communication and conflict resolution skills.

Most recently, Leslie served as the Director of Policy for the Virginia Department of Education where she managed the agency’s legislative implementation plan and worked to advance the educational policy goals of the Governor’s office and department. She collaborated with state and local stakeholders, advocacy groups, and national educational organizations, among others, to support work related to a number of agency priorities, including promoting innovation in preK-12 settings that ensure students are college and career ready.

Leslie earned her B.A. in International Relations and Economics from James Madison University and her Ph.D. in Comparative Politics from Boston University.

Why are you in this work?

While I was fortunate to have early positive and formative experiences in Virginia’s public education system that fostered my general love for learning, I also remember times when I struggled to stay engaged in coursework when I could not connect what I was learning in my classes to real-world value. With this in mind, I want to help create educational experiences and opportunities that are transformational, both inside and outside of the classroom, for all learners.

Why ESG?

I was initially drawn to ESG for its mission to deliver a high-quality, coherent education and training system to enable economic mobility and prosperity across the nation. I also appreciate how thoughtful and deliberate ESG and its staff is in its work; it makes it that much more impactful.

Connect with Leslie

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