Alumna Named GLSEN Educator of the Year

Posted on October 13th, 2010 by

Ferial Pearson '01

Ferial Pearson, a 2001 graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College and an English teacher at Omaha South High School in Omaha, Neb., was recently named 2010 Educator of the Year by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).

Pearson, who was chosen out of nearly 100 nominations, has served as Omaha South’s Gay-Straight Alliance advisor for nine years. She served on the GLSEN Omaha Chapter board for three years and also advises her school’s Unity Club. She helps coordinate dances for area Gay-Straight Alliances, including the “Dance with Whom You Want” Valentine’s Day dance. Pearson also helped start Omaha’s Pride Prom, which has grown from 75 students five years ago to more than 300 this year from all across the state.

“GLSEN and Sodexo are honored to recognize Ferial Pearson, a school leader who has dedicated her teaching career to creating environments where all students are valued and respected, as the 2010 GLSEN Educator of the Year,” GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard said. “A caring educator who has helped grow the Omaha South High School Gay-Straight Alliance from one student to one of the country’s largest with 150 students, Ferial embodies all the characteristics we look for in a visionary leader who has made her school and community safer for all students from her first moments in the classroom.”

Pearson speaks six languages fluently and is in the process of learning Spanish from her students. Besides her undergraduate degree from Gustavus, Pearson holds a Master of Arts Degree in Secondary Education from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. A native of Kenya, Pearson moved to the United States at 19.

The GLSEN is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin



  1. Rebecca Taylor Fremo says:

    Congratulations, Ferial! You were a wonderful Writing Center tutor, a fabulous student, and an amazing teacher from the very beginning. I’m delighted and thrilled for you, and we’re all so proud of you and your important work!

  2. Andrew says:

    Awesome! Keep up the great work!!