Sarah Stapleton

Profile picture of Sarah Stapleton
Assistant Professor
College of Education, Critical and Sociocultural Studies in Education, Curriculum & Teaching, Curriculum and Teacher Education, Educational Foundations, Food Studies
Phone: 541-346-5834
Office: 130C Lokey Education Bldg
Research Interests: science and environmental education, food and schools, participatory research


Sarah Stapleton is an Assistant Professor in the UO Education Studies department and an affiliate faculty member with UO Environmental Studies and UO Food Studies. Before earning her doctorate, she taught middle and high school environmental science, physical science, chemistry, and general science at public schools in California and as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Gambia, West Africa. Sarah is credentialed by the state of California to teach chemical and biological sciences.
At the UO, Sarah works with undergraduates in the Education Foundations program, pre-service teachers in the UO Teach masters program, and doctoral students in the Critical and Sociocultural Studies in Education program. She also advises graduate students in the UO Environmental Studies program.
Sarah strives for community-based scholarship and service. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Food for Lane County, the food bank serving our community. 


Ph.D., 2015, Michigan State University
Curriculum, Instruction, & Teacher Education
Ed.M., 2005, Harvard Graduate School of Education
International Education Policy
B.A., 2001, Sweet Briar College
Major: Chemistry, Minor: Biology

Honors and Awards

2019 Sustainability Excellence in Teaching Award. University of Oregon Teaching Engagement Program and Office of the Provost.


Stapleton, S.R. (2020) Nevertheless, they persisted: How a group of “noisy moms” overcame dismissal and helped to improve school food in a small US city school district. Gender, Place, and Culture.

Stapleton, S.R. (2019) Towards critical environmental education: a standpoint analysis of race within the American environmental context. Environmental Education Research.

Stapleton, S.R. (2019) Parent activists versus the Corporation: a fight for ‘school food sovereignty’. Agriculture and Human Values.

Stapleton, S.R. (2019) Boundaries, gatekeeping, and oppression within science education research. In J. Bazzul & C. Siry (Eds.), Critical voices in science education: narratives of hope and struggle. Springer.

Stapleton, S.R. (2018). Data analysis in participatory action research: using poetic inquiry to describe urban teacher marginalization. Action Research.

Stapleton, S.R. (2018). A case for climate justice education: American youth connecting to intragenerational climate injustice in Bangladesh. Environmental Education Research

Stapleton, S.R. (2018). Teacher participatory action research (TPAR): A methodological framework for political teacher research. Action Research

Stapleton, S.R. & Cole, P. (2018). School lunch and student food insecurity: A teacher’s observations and reflections. In S. Rice & A.G. Rud (Eds.) Educational Dimensions of School lunch: Critical Perspectives. Springer.

Stapleton, S.R., Cole, P., Washburn, M., Jason, M., & Alvarado, T. (2017). Views from the Classroom: Teachers on Food in a Low-Income Urban School District. In I. Werkheiser and Z. Piso (Eds.), Food Justice in US and Global Contexts: Bringing Theory and Practice Together. Springer.

Stapleton, S.R. (2017). Oral traditions, changing rural landscapes, and science education. Cultural Studies of Science Education. 12(1). 189-98.

Stapleton, S.R. (2015). Food, identity, and environmental education. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education. 20.

Stapleton, S.R. (2015). Environmental identity development through social interactions, action, and recognition. Journal of Environmental Education. 46(2).

Stapleton, S.R. (2015). Supporting teachers for race-/class-/gender-responsive science teaching. Cultural Studies of Science Education. 10(2).


Sarah's research uses critical and participatory methodologies to explore social contexts around science and environmental education. Sarah is particularly interested in the many ways food intersects with schools and how these, in turn, impact student health, well-being, and the environment. Sarah is deeply concerned with social and environmental inequities, and sees research as a form of activism to address them. She also prioritizes her local place and participatory relationships through her research. Her current projects are based in her community and result from participatory collaborations.