Sarah is married to Josh Rosenstock, a multimedia artist and Associate Professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. They have lived on Prospect Hill since 2009 and have two children at home– a second grader at the Argenziano and a soon-to-be three year old, who attends West Family Daycare in Teele Square. They feel privileged to live such a diverse city with a strong commitment to education and the arts.
In her professional life, Sarah is an educator and social worker. In her personal life, she is active in community organizing and advocacy around education issues here in Somerville.
After graduating from Brown University, Sarah began her career teaching language arts and social studies to sixth, seventh, and eighth graders in the Oakland, CA public schools. She later taught reading to high school students incarcerated in Alameda County’s juvenile detention center.
While Sarah continues to teach part-time whenever she can (most recently at Boston College’s School of Social Work), her experience in the classroom helped her understand the extent of educational inequity in our society and convinced her that schools can’t solve our problems alone. Sarah received an MSW in social work from the University of Michigan and spent the next portion of her career building bridges between schools and their communities. As a founding staff member at Quilombo, she helped start one of Oakland’s first community schools. She brought tutoring, mentoring, and after-school programming to hundreds of students in the Providence Public Schools as Service Director at City Year Rhode Island, and criss-crossed the country as a Field Consultant for the Forum for Youth Investment, helping afterschool organizations improve the quality of their programming.
As a practitioner, Sarah wanted the skills to know if her work was having its intended impact. So, she got a PhD in social policy from Brandeis University. While finishing her coursework, she won a fellowship to work at Massachusetts’ Executive Office of Education. Working on An Act Relative to the Achievement Gap gave Sarah a crash course in the nuts and bolts of policy-making, and she was shocked to discover that very few of her colleagues had direct classroom experience or shared her Progressive values. This realization is what initially inspired her to run for political office.
After receiving her PhD, Sarah led the research department at Tripod Education Partners, a spinoff of Harvard’s Achievement Gap Initiative. In this capacity, she helped school districts better understand the teaching and learning environments in their schools and conducted research on issues like school climate, student engagement, social and emotional learning (SEL), and racial disproportionality. Her scholarship has been published in academic journals like The Urban Review and Social Work Research, and the social and emotional competency survey she developed for Tripod is featured in CASEL’s well-respected SEL Assessment Guide. In April, 2019, Sarah accepted a position as the Director of Research and Impact at Mass Insight, an organization working more directly to close achievement and opportunity gaps in school districts across the country.
In addition to her professional experience in education, Sarah is active in local organizing and advocacy campaigns related to Somerville’s schools. She was a leader in Progress Together for Somerville Schools, which helped stop a proposed charter school in 2012. She helped get pre-school classrooms located in several of our city’s elementary schools and also served on the city’s Child and Youth Study Team. For the past two years, she has been a member of the Argenziano School Improvement Council.
Sarah’s local activism coupled with her on-the-ground experience as a teacher and social worker in low-performing schools, knowledge of education policy, and ability to help school districts use evidence to foster meaningful change will help the Somerville Public Schools go above and beyond for all our kids!