Sarah McLean
Harvard Resident

Sarah McLean started her doctoral residency with Education First in 2016 from the Harvard Ed.L.D. program, designed for systems-level leaders with a strong foundation in research, policy and practice.

As a first-generation college student, Sarah has first-hand experience in what quality educators can mean for the life of a child. Having been a teacher and leader in Baltimore for over a decade, Sarah has witnessed both the fulfilled and the broken promises of public education. She is motivated to ensure all students – including her own – have access to high-quality learning experiences that will prepare them for the demands of the 21st century.

Prior to Ed.L.D., Sarah worked as the Chief of Staff to Teach for America’s national team that manages the organization’s 50+ regions. Her relationship with Education First began in 2010 when she hired the organization to support Baltimore City’s reform agenda, as Special Assistant to the then-CEO Dr. Andrés Alonso. In addition to her pending doctorate, Sarah holds an M.A.T. from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. in Communications from Penn State.

Sarah lives in Cambridge, MA with her husband and 3 children, the last being born 2 weeks into her first semester in the Ed.L.D. program. Sarah and her family can be found most weekends playing dress-up, building Legos or volunteering at kids’ church.

Sarah's expertise

  • Strategy Development and Implementation Support
  • Organizational Change Management and Adaptive Leadership
  • Design Thinking and Organizing for Innovation
  • School Desegregation and Integration
  • School System Governance and Management

Recent clients

  • Carnegie Corporation
  • Smarter Balanced
  • Understanding Learning/SCALE

Start-Up Co-Founder

  • MathWorks (Baltimore)
  • The Transforming Teaching Project (HGSE)
  • The Re-Imagining Integration Project (HGSE)
  • Today Is a Good Day

Sarah likes


  • Summer, dinnertime picnics in the park

  • Hiking and skiing in the White Mountains of New Hampshire