Sarah Pipping, Public School Educator

by Christina M. Macalino, March 2021

Educator Non-Negotiables

In your 20s, the question usually is – What are your top 10 non-negotiables? Then in the early 30s, the question becomes – top 5 non-negotiables? And, then late 30s early 40s – top 3 non-negotiables??

These questions are typically discussed with close friends and family when discussing potential life partners, but these questions can also apply to finding the right fit – teacher fit that is – at your school site. The 20s, 30s, 40s thing is not applicable, of course, but as a K-12 administrator, you tend to ask yourself what you are looking for in a candidate as you attempt to fill the x-amount of teacher vacancies. 

Teacher Vacancies

Elin and I worked at school sites where it was average to fill at least 12 teacher vacancies each year, and we have also worked at school sites where we had to fill less than five vacancies each year. We never discussed this, but I wonder if the number of non-negotiables varied depending on the number of vacancies (that’s something to unpack in a future blog/podcast). 

Top 3 Educator Non-Negotiables

But as of right now, if I had to list my top three non-negotiables (and I had a plethora of candidates to choose from), I would confidently say these are the three:

  1. Reflective
  2. Culturally Aware and Responsive 
  3. Professional 

Ms. Sarah Pipping, K-12 Science Educator

And one of the educators I think of when I think of my current top three non-negotiables, I immediately picture Ms.Sarah Pipping. Ms. Pipping is a 10+ veteran educator, and she has ONLY worked for Oakland Unified School District (talk about loyalty)!  She not only embodies my top three, but she embodies my top 10-15 list. When I first met her, she started off as a science teacher. After a few years, she became the science chair and a 9th grade house lead teacher. She then became a teacher on special assignment (TOSA), a site-level science coach and curriculum writer. Then, she became a TOSA at the district level, followed by a district-level grant writer, and currently, she is the coordinator for the OUSD organic farm center in West Oakland. 

Do you have any questions, thoughts, reactions to this post? Hit us up at or on Instagram @empoweredconversationspod. We would love to hear from you and have a collaborative conversation. -Elin and Christina

Podcast related to post:

Empowered Conversations with Elin & Christina, Season 1 Episode 4: Our First Guest! From Wisconsin to Oakland, how TFA brought this reflective educator to the bay. 

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