Sarah Hobson Vafaie joined The Holdsworth Center in 2019 and works with partner districts to identify and implement key changes to their talent management systems.
Sarah began her career as a kindergarten teacher in Dallas, where she was a founding teacher at Uplift Heights Elementary School and spent several summers attending Columbia University’s Teachers College. Through a partnership with The Teaching Trust, Sarah attended Southern Methodist University for a principal preparation program and earned a master’s degree. She served as an assistant principal for two years before becoming the principal of Uplift Infinity Preparatory. By the end of her tenure, Uplift Infinity significantly reduced suspensions for students by focusing on trauma-informed and social-emotional supports for all students. Uplift Infinity grew in positive staff and student culture, which in turn led to strong academic gains. Sarah used a distributive leadership model to empower teachers across campus.
Prior to joining Holdsworth, Sarah was executive vice president of culture and people development at Embark Consulting. She helped support the firm’s expansion from one to four cities in one year, led companywide values alignment conversations, and focused on implementing people strategies and initiatives around best practices in management.
Sarah holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a concentration in ethics and leadership from The University of Texas at Austin. During college, Sarah worked as a research assistant for Professor Sean Theriault for his book on party politics. During her spare time, she volunteered at The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and Matthew’s Elementary School. She applied to Teach For America in order to become a teacher, like her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother before her.
Sarah loves reading (especially non-fiction) and exploring great places to eat in Dallas. She spends her free time volunteering at Our Friends Place and enjoying the outdoors with her beloved dog Atticus.