Dr. Leslie Chang, a proud first-generation immigrant, born in Nicaragua, is a direct product of the communities she serves. Raised in the Pico Union and Northeast Los Angeles communities, she has committed her service and leadership to change the landscape and trajectory of underserved students and families like her own. Her vision is anchored in the belief that all students can reach high levels of excellence and graduate college, while working with parents as leaders and partners.
Her teaching foundation and love for students and parents began at a parochial school in Cypress Park where she resided. Five years later, serving the same community, she began teaching at PUC CALS Charter Middle School and soon after became the Assistant Principal and Principal. Under her leadership, the school reached high achievement and was awarded the CA Distinguished School Award and Title 1 Academic Achievement Award.
After leading her school to success, she transitioned to Deputy Superintendent of the PUC Los Angeles region, where she developed, mentored, and lead elementary, middle, and high schools.
After twelve years, she became the Superintendent of Leadership and Instruction, serving all schools to reach exemplary levels of excellence and achievement. Her role focused on a cohesive instructional vision anchored in quality professional development for teachers, leaders, instructional coaches, and directors. Dr. Chang also co-created and led the Alumni Teach Project, an internal teacher residency program that brought back alumni into their communities. She later returned to focus on the PUC LA Region as a Regional Superintendent where she continued to lead, mentor, and develop Northeast Los Angeles schools.
As Chief Schools Officer at Equitas, Dr. Chang now returns to the neighborhood that first welcomed her into this country and hopes to activate the power of students, teachers, and leaders to make an impact in the Pico Union community.
Dr. Chang attended Mount St. Mary’s University and graduated with a Bachelor of Sociology and Master of Science in Education/Credential Program. With a fervent desire for higher learning, Leslie went on to pursue an Ed.D in Educational Leadership and Change from Fielding Graduate University focusing her doctoral research on the conditions and experiences supporting Latino parents as leaders. Dr. Chang currently expands her sphere of influence as an Adjunct Professor for Loyola Marymount University’s Institute for School Leadership and Administration (ISLA) program, dedicated to developing future leaders of social justice.
With 20 years devoted to education, Dr. Chang's educational and life experiences were featured in The Charter School Experience: Voices from the Field, in a chapter titled "Authentic Connection Between Schools and Communities." Additionally, her doctoral work, titled "Developing Latino Parents as Leaders: Conditions and Experiences Promoting Agency and Empowerment,” was selected for Fielding's monograph publication, Leadership for Social Change: A Cultural Perspective.