Esha Pillay

Communications Specialist

Esha (she/her/hers) joins The Education Trust–West with a background in student affairs, writing, and digital media communications. She oversees Ed Trust–West’s social media presence and supports content publication. Esha is Fijian-born and the first person in her family to attend college. Esha’s commitment to education equity is connected to her challenges within the education system and her learning how to navigate school with limited financial resources and peer support. She began her higher education at a community college in Sacramento and graduated with an Associate’s degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences. Esha transferred to San Francisco State University and completed her Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology with a focus on Ethnic Studies. She holds a Master’s degree in Migration and Diaspora Studies from SOAS, University of London.

Before joining The Education Trust–West, Esha led student support services at public and private universities with orientation and event programs, mentoring, and leadership development. Additionally, she is a writer with expertise in indentured labor histories in Fiji, caste discrimination, and intergenerational trauma research.


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  • Oakland, CA
Digital Communications
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Karla Fernandez

Communications Manager

Karla Fernandez (she/her/hers) joins Ed Trust–West as a Communications Manager with over 11 years of experience advancing social impact initiatives.

Karla started her career as a teacher at Chicago Public Schools and UIC College Prep. After teaching, Karla joined United Friends of the Children to support LA County’s youth in foster care as a college counselor. Through Leadership for Educational Equity, Karla also served as a Policy Advisor Fellow for the office of a Los Angeles Unified School Board Member. She solidified her interests in policy analysis and quantitative research during her time with the Price Center for Social Innovation, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, and the USC Presidential Working Group on Sustainability. Before joining The Education Trust–West, Karla was the Associate Director for the Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) Collaborative, a network of nonprofits advocating for communities in SELA.

Karla holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, a Master of Public Policy from the USC Price School of Public Policy, and a Graduate Certificate in Policy Advocacy from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Karla is based out of southern California and is passionate about using data analysis, communications, and digital strategies for policy advocacy and social justice efforts.