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Introducing Sara Lee (Memphis '14)

"I'm excited about in this role is in general, to just be able to help alumni"

June 1, 2022

Alumni Conversation Series: Introducing Sara Lee

Sarah Lee is a 2014 Memphis Corps. She taught seventh grade math for two years in Memphis. And then afterwards, she moved here to Chicago where she taught high school math for about five years at Intrinsic. Today is the manager of Alumni Programs at the TFA Greater Chicago–Northwest Indiana.

Personally, what got me into educational equity and has motivated me, was growing... Parent household. I recognize how privileged I was to be able to grow up in a community that had just really amazing public education. And so growing up with this privilege has led me to other opportunities to get me to where I am today. And I believe just so much of that was just rooted in my educational background. And so that's kind of why I joined TFA and continued in this work. But what sustained me in this work, I would say is my students. They are just amazing, brilliant, intelligent, curious people who I'm just really excited to see the type of people they will continue to become. And that hopefully they're able to access some of the great opportunities to achieve their goals by continuing in this educational equity work.

As an Asian American immigrant woman I like try to think about all the intersectionality of all my identities and try to kind of bring that to all components of my work and in the way that I approach my work. I think about it with like my biases, recognizing my background, recognizing my blind spots and just reflect on that a lot. And with that, it might be a mix of like, I need to speak up in my work at times, but also I need to do a lot of listening to others as well, and be able to... So that I can hear their unique experiences and the unique experience that every individual brings.

What I'm excited about in this role is in general, to just be able to help alumni, whether they are teachers, administrators, policy workers, wherever they're at, and to be able to sustain them in their roles so that we're all collectively working together to work towards educational equity. And so that might include some of my work DeVries Fellowship, which is a teacher leadership program. Again, to help teachers build skills in teacher leadership and sustain them again in the classroom as well. Or it could be something like the career design fellowship and the career series that we're running, which is to our alums, kind of help them get clarity on what they're looking for in their careers, how they can make an impact working towards our collective goals towards educational equity, and then also helping them find their ideal career and be able to get the job that they want.

I'm hoping that my work and I will be remembered in a way that is just helping people reach their potential, no matter who it may be. So again, this has kind of helped... Like it all started with when I was a teacher, I was hoping to make an impact on my students, reach their potential. As I took on more teacher leadership positions, I was hoping to, again, similarly help my teachers as well as my school, get to where we would like to be, which then again, trickles just back down to our students. And to this day as well, just hoping that I can help our alumni no matter where they're at, reach their goals. And then once they do, they'll be able to make an impact on others as well.