Extended Teacher Education Program (ETEP)

Sara Needleman


Office Location

500 Bailey Hall


(207) 780-5087

Academic Degrees

  • M.S., Early Adolescent Education, Bank Street College, New York, NY
  • B.S., Political Science, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY


I am a middle school person. I finished my Master’s degree with a K-12 certification but always chose to work with early adolescents. I have taught in private and public schools, both out of state and in Maine. I have taught Earth Science, Physical Science, social studies and English Language Arts. I have worked with a variety of team structures including four-, three- and two person teaching teams. My professional development has included working as a team leader and department chair, working toward my Master’s plus thirty, and attaining my Assistant Principal’s certification. Joining the TED faculty is the first professional step I have made which takes me away from my deeply treasured middle school students.

Teaching Perspective
Adolescence is hard. Really hard. I have always believed that if I could help make a year in an adolescent’s life a bit easier then I would have accomplished a mighty goal. As such, I always aspire to build truly respectful relationships with and among my students, create meaningful and energized curriculum and develop a culture of inquiry with deep roots in democracy. I strive now to help interns find paths that will help them do the same.

Personal Side
I often say that I am one of the luckiest people I know. My husband and I have two amazing children of our own. Our family loves to spend time outside; biking, hiking, skiing and just plain playing. We all have a passion for eating, both well and a lot. Our waffle iron might be the most treasured item in the house as it sees us through nearly every Sunday morning. The rare moments I find for myself are spent practicing yoga, gardening and catching up with my friends.

Research Interests

Intellectual Pursuits
The process of learning has always fascinated me. I am passionate about making explicit connections between my aims for students and the methods I use to help them arrive at the goal. As such, I piloted a system of Standards Based Practice and Reporting in my own classroom to help my students see exactly what was expected of them and how to achieve these goals and to help my colleagues develop Standards Based curricula and assessments to best meet their learners’ needs. When students know what it is they are trying to learn and they see a clear and viable path to the learning, they are motivated to inquire as opposed to acquire. They seek understanding, not a good report card.