Sarah Stapleton

Sarah Stapleton profile picture
  • Title: Assistant Professor
  • Phone: 541-346-5834
  • Office: 130C Lokey Education Bldg


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 masters students in the UO Environmental Studies program.
Sarah currently serves on the Board of Directors of Food for Lane County and on the Board of Directors for School Garden Project. 


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

Honors and Awards

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


Stapleton, S.R. (In press) Towards critical environmental education: a standpoint analysis of race within the American environmental context. Environmental Education Research.  DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2019.1648768

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. In her work, Sarah focuses primarily on social and environmental inequities. She is particularly interested in food and agriculture as learning contexts for science and environmental education. Sarah currently partners with several Lane County community organizations working to increase the use of school gardens in the formal curriculum and to improve school food. Sarah’s dissertation work used participatory action research with four veteran teachers to explore food issues in a low-income urban school district. In this work, the teachers explored food insecurity in schools, school gardens as a path for STEM learning, and food as an integrating curricular topic for culture, identity, and justice. 
Having lived in ten US states and four countries, Sarah is attentive to place and its impact on her research contexts. Her work spans both urban and rural places and considers the impacts of global education on environmental learning.