Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska at Omaha
Ferial Pearson was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya and left home after graduating from Peponi High School to earn her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts Literature Teaching from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2001. She subsequently taught English and Reading at Omaha South High School for ten years. She earned her Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a Graduate Certificate in Urban Instruction from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2009. She worked at the Avenue Scholars Foundation at Ralston High School for two years and then worked as an Instructor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She has earned three national and several local awards for her work in education and social justice, and most recently was the recipient the Kennedy Center’s Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher award in 2016.
Ferial is the founder of the Secret Kindness Agents Project, which is the subject of a published book, her doctoral dissertation, and her TEDx Talk. The project is in over 400 K-16 schools across the United States, three states in Canada, and in Spain; it has been highlighted by Hallmark, Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, and SPLC’S Teaching Tolerance Magazine. In 2017, Ferial earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and is now an Assistant Professor in Teacher Education at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.