Samantha Perez, Ph.D.

Associate Director

Samantha Perez joined ESG in 2021 as an Associate Director, and supports a diverse portfolio of initiatives aimed at ensuring that K-12 and postsecondary students complete their education equipped with the knowledge, skills, and networks needed to be successful in the labor market.

Samantha comes to ESG from the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, where she was the Vice President of Education Initiatives. In her role, she led the organization’s work in P-12 education and ensured the business community’s active and ongoing engagement in public education. Representing employer partners, Samantha served on the strategic leadership team for the Academies of Nashville, Nashville’s nationally-recognized career academy model. In close collaboration with Academies leadership, she worked to develop the district’s first youth pre-apprenticeship program. She was also the project manager and site lead for the New Skills Ready grant, a multi-year, multi-million dollar investment from JP Morgan Chase into the Nashville community to design, build, and transform career pathways.

Samantha has served on a number of advisory boards and committees, including on the P-12 Policy Council for the Education Trust in Tennessee and the College, Career, and Technical Education (CCTE) Leadership Council for the Tennessee Department of Education.

Samantha is a Sociology triple threat with a B.A. from the University of California at Santa Cruz and her Master’s and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University.

Why are you in this work?

Even with all the challenges and inequities within the American education system, I still believe in the power of a good education to transform families and communities. When an individual has genuine access to skilled jobs, they can overcome generational poverty and begin to build the kind of wealth that provides safety and security.

Why ESG?

ESG does not shy away from difficult conversations around racial equity and has made students of colors and those who are low-income a priority in all aspects of their work. It was important to me to work for an organization that not only recognized the systemic inequities that have left many communities behind, but was committed to disrupting the status quo.

Connect with Samantha

Make contact by email.