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Sarah Fine

Assistant Professor

Sarah Fine joins the Department of Education Studies and the UCSD-CSUSM Joint Doctoral Program in Education Leadership with a deep commitment to transforming PK-12 schools into humanizing places to teach and learn. Her research interests lie at the intersection of educational change, the learning sciences, and social justice pedagogies. Her empirical work, conducted in more than forty secondary schools around the United States and Canada, is ethnographic, ecological, and action-oriented.

Dr. Fine began her career in 2005 as an English teacher at a public high school in southeast Washington, D.C. In 2017, with the support of a Spencer Foundation/National Academy of Education fellowship and under the direction of Dr. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, she completed a doctorate in Culture, Communities, and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. For the next six years, Dr. Fine served as the founding director of the San Diego Teacher Residency, an innovative and justice-focused M.Ed./credential program hosted at the High Tech High Graduate School of Education. During this time, she also served as adjunct faculty at the University of California San Diego and at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, teaching masters and doctoral-level courses on educational leadership, qualitative research methods, and deeper learning. 

As a poet-turned-social-scientist, Dr. Fine believes that qualitative research can combine theory-building and storytelling in ways that are compelling to broad audiences. Along with numerous podcast conversations and a recent TEDx talk, she has written about her work for publications such as The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Chalkbeat, and Education Week. She also has published in scholarly journals such as The Journal of Educational Change, The Journal of School Administration, and The Harvard Educational Review. Her recent book, coauthored with Dr. Jal Mehta, is In Search of Deeper Learning: The Quest to Transform the American High School. In 2021, the book won the Grawemeyer Award in Education.