Rachel Pereira serves as the inaugural Vice President of Equity and Inclusion at St. John's University. Formerly a senior legal and policy advisor for EdCounsel of Nelson Mullins, LLC, Dr. Pereira has a multidisciplinary background and experience in the education and legal industries having served as a teacher, school principal, prosecutor, legal counsel to educational institutions, and as an adjunct professor at three graduate schools. She served the New Jersey Department of Education as a policy advisor and Confidential Assistant to the Commissioner of Education where she worked on myriad of issues, including school finance reform, school desegregation, diversity and inclusion, early childhood education reform, Title I school performance, teacher recruitment strategies, statewide student assessment, and school evaluation reform.
As Assistant Vice President for Institutional Equity of Vassar College, she directed all aspects of the Title IX Office and Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, CLERY Compliance, and employment related counsel. Rachel’s experience includes, among other matters, designing and successfully implementing faculty hiring diversity and inclusion programs; First Amendment and academic freedom law and policy guidance; Fourteenth Amendment and other due process related law and policy guidance; human resources guidance; enterprise risk management guidance; co-leading compliance management systems; managing outside counsel, and the variety of other issues impacting the operational, reputational, resource management and legal interests of higher education institutions.
Dr. Pereira served as an Assistant District Attorney at the Office of the Philadelphia District Attorney, and as a federal law clerk in the Southern District of New York for the Hon. George Daniels. She also served as an intern in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals for the Hon. Julio Fuentes and Hon. Theodore McKee.
After completing her undergraduate studies at Hunter College, she earned her master’s and doctoral degrees at Rutgers University and her Juris Doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. A trained mediator, she is barred to practice law in the states of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
She is the former vice president of the Phi Eta Omega Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and serves as a vacation bible school teacher at the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens. She continues to be of service in her community as a board member of the Raritan Valley YMCA and NJ State Amistad Commission. Dr. Pereira also serves as cochair of the Access to Justice Committee with the American Bar Association and CLE committee of the National Association of College and University Attorneys.