Sara Allender

Senior Research Associate

Sara Allender
Sara Allender, a Senior Research Associate, manages monitoring and evaluation projects that provide stakeholders and policymakers with key program implementation information. Her main responsibilities include co-managing federal grant monitoring efforts. Specifically, she directs WestEd’s Voluntary Public School Choice (VPSC) monitoring project and contributes knowledge, skills, and expertise to the Charter School Program (CSP) monitoring project, both for the U.S Department of Education (ED). The monitoring projects focus heavily on grantee compliance in several policy areas including application fidelity, project quality and management, and fiscal and administrative responsibilties. Allender also participates in the management of WestEd’s Evaluation of Charter Schools and the Charter Schools Program, where she coordinates a variety of evaluation efforts across WestEd, subcontractors, and ED. Allender works directly with senior WestEd and ED staff to support the implementation of ED’s discretionary grant programs and priorities. She has extensive knowledge of related VPSC and CSP federal statute, regulatory, and non-regulatory guidance. Her monitoring work includes the design and delivery of monitor trainings, coordination and support of consultant and WestEd monitors, development of monitoring protocols and tools, monitoring visit coordination and organization, on-site interviewing, report writing, and technical assistance follow-up. Prior to working at WestEd, Allender was a Research Associate at Policy Studies Associates, Inc. in Washington, D.C. There she worked on evaluations on alternate assessments, school libraries in elementary schools, after-school adolescent literacy programs, small-school reform, and school-based collaboration. Allender has a Master’s in education in education policy from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and a Bachelor’s in politics from New York University.