Pearl Zanker (1901-1978) grew up in Milpitas, where her parents had moved to raise their family. She was the valedictorian of her high school class at Berryessa School, and an accomplished pianist by her high school years, according to articles in the newspapers of the day telling of her performances at recitals and social events.
In 1926, Miss Zanker began her teaching career at the Milpitas Grammar School, the same building that is now part of the Milpitas Library. It was then the only school in Milpitas. After teaching 7th and 8th grades for 10 years (in the classroom now dedicated to her at the Milpitas Library), she became a teaching principal, a position she held into the 1950′s. She then became a personnel director in the district office in 1964, where she stayed until her retirement.
In 1970 the Pearl Zanker Elementary School was built and dedicated; it was rededicated in 2000 with the addition of the new wing. It is a California Distinguished School, an honor of which we can be sure that Pearl Zanker would have been proud.