The next director of the Fanny Edel Falk Laboratory School at the University of Pittsburgh School of Education will be Jill Sarada, the school’s assistant director for elementary grades learning.
The selection was made following a national search.
Sarada has worked at the Falk School since 1995. She will begin as director on July 1, 2022. Until then, she will continue to serve as interim co-director along with Joanna Newlin, assistant director of middle school grades.
Sarada is the first woman to be appointed as director in the 90-year-history of the school.
“I am happy to welcome Jill Sarada as the next director of our Fanny Edel Falk Laboratory School,” says Valerie Kinloch, the Renée and Richard Goldman Dean of Pitt Education as well as the chair of the Falk school board and the chair of the Falk director search committee.
“Her experience and leadership will help Falk to further fulfill its commitment to innovative teaching, learning, engagement, and leading. As our new director, Jill will be responsible for leading with strategic vision as she fosters academic excellence, strengthens Falk’s overall community, and among other priorities, ensures Falk’s successful financial future,” says Kinloch.
Sarada has spent her entire career at the Falk School. She began as a student teacher while completing her Master of Arts in Teaching degree in our School of Education.
“Each of my roles at Falk, from being a teacher to being a parent of two Falk students and then an administrator, has brought unique insight and understanding about what the school is and what it can be for every community member,” says Sarada. “Now, as I prepare to step into the director position, I hope to draw upon each of these perspectives as I seek to cultivate and extend Falk’s laboratory school mission.”
Founded in 1931, Falk is an independent K-8 laboratory school located on Pitt’s campus. The progressive, experimental school enrolls about 436 students.
Sarada’s initial goals for the school include further engaging the school community, strengthening external partnerships, and deepening the school’s commitment to equity, inclusion, and justice.
Sarada succeeds Jeff Suzik, who served as director from 2014 to 2021.
The significance of breaking the glass ceiling at Falk is not lost on Sarada.
“I am honored to be the first female director,” says Sarada. “I hope my path to leadership inspires girls who are interested in being leaders. I also hope it serves as inspiration for all Falk faculty interested in leadership roles in education.”
Now poised to begin a new chapter in her career, Sarada remembers her early beginnings at Falk.
“I’ll never forget the first time I saw Falk school,” says Sarada. “I remember my surprise to see an elementary school on Pitt’s campus. That moment led me to seek an internship as a master’s degree student and apply for a job after graduation. My fascination with the school has never subsided.”
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