Charter Schools and Choice Lead
Sara Allender is the Charter Schools and Choice Lead for the Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center. In this role, Allender provides targeted technical assistance to state policymakers and practitioners in policy areas related to school choice. This work includes policy scans, literature reviews, and other related services.
Allender is also a Senior Research Associate in WestEd’s Learning Innovations (LI) program. She co-directs LI’s federally funded school choice grant monitoring projects, including the U.S. Department of Education’s (USED) Charter Schools Program (CSP), and she is an external evaluator for a Magnet School Assistance Program grant funded through USED.
As co-director of the CSP monitoring projects, Allender oversees the monitoring of three discretionary school choice grants for state entities, charter management organizations, and non-state entities. To date, the CSP monitoring project has monitored over 30 state education agency grantees, more than 30 charter management organization grantees, and has visited more than 300 grant-funded charter schools. Allender’s responsibilities include developing monitoring indicators, instruments, and tools; designing and delivering training and technical assistance for project directors and monitors; training and supervising a team of more than 30 monitors from WestEd, subcontractors, and external consultants; conducting content and quality assurance reviews of all written products; developing annual summary reports; and participating in monitoring visits.
Previously, Allender directed compliance monitoring projects for two Magnet School Assistance Program grant cycles. Additionally, Allender directed WestEd’s compliance monitoring for the Voluntary Public School Choice grant.
Allender has a BS in politics from New York University and a MEd in education policy from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education.