October 16, 2023
We’re excited to introduce Sara, Manager, Curriculum Design
DreamBox Learning is not only unique for its ability to support educators and drive student learning. It’s also unique because our team includes diverse, passionate, and bright individuals who care about transforming the way the world learns.
For us, it’s important to capture their stories and share what makes them special. We celebrate the people at DreamBox who bring ideas to life, make the impossible possible, and empower their teams to do well to do good.
Please meet our colleague and friend, Sara.
DreamBox interviewer: Thank you so much for joining us today, Sara. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Sara: I'm a native Californian, living in Raleigh, North Carolina. My husband and I have 5 kids between us --we're a math problem; my 2 + his 3! When not shuttling kids around, I love to bake, especially chocolate chip cookies and sourdough bread. I've also been an avid sports fan since I was a kid, so I love to watch games. My favorite teams are the San Franciso 49ers and the UNC Tarheels. Plus, living in the mecca for college basketball always has its advantages!
DreamBox interviewer: Bread, cookies, and sports, what’s not to love? Can you share a bit about your experience working in education. What made you choose to work at DreamBox?
Sara: I came to DreamBox because I believe in the way that we teach mathematics. I had previously been at a different ed tech company, and I had my son, who was in kindergarten at the time, do a lesson from my previous organization. I did not see any joy or enthusiasm when he completed the lesson. It had just been a task to finish. Shortly after that I learned about DreamBox and I've been here ever since!
DreamBox puts learning in the hands of the student. We want to know how they are thinking about a problem. It's less about the final answer and more about understanding the big ideas, strategies, and when to use those strategies.
DreamBox interviewer: That’s a great point, and really gets to the heart of how everyone learns differently. How best do you learn? How have you utilized that in your work?
Sara: I learn best by doing. While I had very little experience with code prior to coming to DreamBox, I've learned more and more with each project I'm on by digging into the code, trying to understand what's occurring, and making some updates on my own. I've learned that I need to try things, to experiment, and to observe the results (the exact same way we want students to interact with a DreamBox lesson). While the process is not always quick, this hands-on approach helps me make the needed connections to continue to build my knowledge and skills.
DreamBox interviewer: It’s awesome you’ve been able to explore and master new skills. Which DreamBox value resonates the most with you?
Sara: Constantly Learning. No two days ever feel the same. There is always something new to learn, new ways to grow and help support my team and the lessons we develop.
DreamBox interviewer: I had a feeling you would say constantly learning! Can you share any past or current projects you’re particularly proud of?
Sara: I'm motivated by meaningful work. That may be work related to my friends and family, or my work here at DreamBox. At a previous company, we were tasked to write a complete online Algebra course. This was a huge endeavor with a very small team building the course from the ground up. It took us two full years and some very long days, but we were all so proud of what we had created in the end.
DreamBox interviewer: It’s always great to have that feeling of accomplishment and ownership over a big project. It sounds like you’ve worked in some capacity with math for a while. Was there a person or event that inspired your love of reading or math?
Sara: I've been fortunate to have had some amazing teachers from elementary to high school. My brother had my high school calculus teacher before me, and I was so excited to get to be in her class after hearing how much he enjoyed her. Her love for math and teaching was so infectious. While I had known that I wanted to be a teacher since second grade, she was the one who inspired me to teach math.
DreamBox interviewer: Thank you so much for your time today, Sara. It was wonderful to chat with you, and it’s always great to discuss how learning is so central to the work all of us do every day. On that final note, what skill do you think everyone should learn?
Sara: This is a great question. I think everyone should learn a skill that is outside of their normal comfort zone. For me, this was learning ballroom dancing with my husband. While I do not mind being in front of a group of people teaching or presenting, I've never been one to feel comfortable with performances. So learning ballroom dancing was a huge step outside my comfort zone. I believe it takes practice to be courageous, so you have to find opportunities to challenge yourself.