“Teaching is the only profession where you impact every other profession.” It’s a phrase Sara Marshall ’06 remembers hearing during her introduction to education class.
She was a freshman then—still unsure what exactly she wanted to do career-wise and taking exploratory classes—until that moment.
“That was profound to me, the impact that a teacher has on a student’s life,” Marshall says. “There is no greater gift. It’s that fire in your belly, like this is what I’m supposed to be doing.”
She loved seeing the “light bulb” moment appear on her students’ faces, and as a math teacher with 60 students at Pike High School, she saw that light bulb look frequently.
When she decided to join The New Teacher Project, known as TNTP, seven years later, she was in charge of coaching 60 educators on effective teaching strategies, and Marshall liked to imagine the impact that would have, if every teacher she worked with then taught another 60 students, like a domino effect.
“The impact felt even bigger,” Marshall says. “Not for me, but for the students.”
Today, as senior director of talent at The Mind Trust, Marshall works with 60 schools, increasing that reach even further. The Mind Trust is a nonprofit that works to provide students in Indianapolis access to a high quality education regardless of race or income.
“At the core of who I am, I want to impact students in a powerful and positive way,” Marshall says.
She never imagined at Butler that she would one day work in the nonprofit field, let alone in education. But looking back at it now, Marshall can point to influencing factors that led her to where she is now. Giving back to the community has always been important. She learned this from watching her mom when she was growing up, who “coached all the sports teams, was the Girl Scout leader, the mom who volunteered at the school,” Marshall says. “She was just constantly giving of her time, of her treasures. She would feed whoever needed to be fed. She just did everything.”
When Marshall arrived at Butler as a member of the school’s volleyball team, she found opportunities to practice what she had observed from her mom. When the team traveled to Australia, players brought suitcases of school supplies and worked with Aboriginal students. The team engaged with student ‘ball kids’ during the games and volunteered often.
“We did all those things to give back and that’s just never left,” Marshall says. In addition to her work at The Mind Trust, Marshall is a member of Butler’s Latinx Alumni Association, the College of Education Dean’s Advisory Council, and on several community-focused boards.
“I think it’s important to fill your cup outside of your job with other community endeavors where you can give back in different ways.”
In July 2022, Sara starts a new adventure as Executive Director of Teach Indy, a nonprofit with a mission to recruit, develop, recognize, and retain teachers in Indianapolis.