Sara Staley is an assistant professor in Teacher Learning, Research, and Practice and Co-Founder and Co-Director of A Queer Endeavor, a nationally recognized center for gender and sexual diversity in education. Her research and community-based work are animated by deep commitments to teacher learning and to safer, more humanizing school cultures for LGBTQ+ youth, families, and staff.
Dr. Staley began her career teaching English language arts at a large public high school in Riverside, California. Provoked by questions about educational opportunity and equity that her time in the classroom inspired, she left teaching in 2008 to pursue graduate study at the University of Colorado Boulder. After earning her doctorate in Literacy Studies, she joined the School of Education faculty as a postdoctoral research associate. In 2014, she and Co-Founder Dr. Bethy Leonardi launched A Queer Endeavor. Through close collaboration with district and school leaders, K-12 teachers, and counselors, she has built long-term university-district partnerships with six school districts in Colorado and facilitated LGBTQ+-focused professional learning for more than 7,000 educators. Building on the strong foundation of those partnerships, her research leverages queer theoretical and pedagogical perspectives to support teachers to learn and enact anti-oppressive and queer-inclusive practices.
Sara has received several awards for her scholarship and community-based work, including the Kalpana Chawla Award and the President’s Diversity Award (both from CU Boulder) and the Alan C. Purves Award (Honorable Mention) (from the National Council of Teachers of English). Her work has appeared in journals such as Harvard Educational Review, Research in the Teaching of English, and Theory into Practice.