Featuring Sara Ray Stoelinga, AB’95, AM’01, PhD’04

We have reached capacity for this event, and registration is now closed. Walk-ins are welcome but cannot be guaranteed seating.

Education is among the most critical levers for transforming the life trajectories of young people. This is true for all, but perhaps none more than low-income students of color, whom many urban school districts serve. Discussion of urban schooling and urban school reform in the United States is characterized by contentious, politicized debate. The disagreement about how to improve schools and student outcomes is vigorous; the sense of hopelessness is palpable.

In this lecture, Professor Stoelinga will share lessons learned in urban schooling and urban school reform, drawing upon her more than two decades of experience in leading and supporting education reform work that has helped transform the Chicago Public Schools district from “worst in the nation” to one of the most improved. The lecture will spotlight the story behind Chicago’s trajectory of improvement and reasons to be hopeful about the future of urban public education in America. It will also illustrate some of the most pressing challenges facing today’s urban schools and the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute’s work to foster greater equity and excellence in urban education.

Contact alumniassociation@uchicago.edu or 773.702.2150.

Event Details

6:30 p.m. Registration and networking
7:00 p.m. Presentation and discussion
8:00 p.m. Reception

$10/Maroon Loyalty Society member or recent graduate (College alumni of the past 10 years and graduate alumni of the past five years)
Free for current academic year graduates and current students
Two complimentary registrations for members of the Chicago, Harper, Phoenix, and Medical and Biological Sciences Alumni Association philanthropic societies

Parking Information

Valet parking is available at the following rates:

  • 0-3 hours: $26
  • 3-12 hours: $31
  • Overnight: $69

Featured Faculty


Sara Ray Stoelinga is the Sara Liston Spurlark Director of the Urban Education Institute (UEI) at the University of Chicago and a clinical professor in the University’s Committee on Education. In her more than 20 years at UEI, Stoelinga has served in a variety of roles, including intern, researcher, architect, and director. She was appointed the Sara Liston Spurlark Director of UEI in 2015. Stoelinga has written extensively on school reform history, policy, and improvement, including two books with Teachers College Press, as well as many articles, blogs, and reports. She is also a faculty member at the University, teaching education and advising undergraduates and graduate students. In the spring of 2015, she received the Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. She received her AB, AM, and PhD in sociology from the University of Chicago.

Learn about the Urban Education Institute, and check out Stoelinga’s books about effective teacher leadership, as well as two books that highlight the work of the Urban Education Institute: Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago and The Ambitious Elementary School: Its Conception, Design, and Implications for Educational Equality.