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Sara Allan

President, Valhalla Foundation

As President, Sara leads Valhalla’s people and strategy to drive meaningful and measurable improvement in outcomes in Valhalla’s six issue areas: early childhood development, K-12 education, data science, environmental innovation, medical research & talent, and collaborative philanthropy.

Before Valhalla, Sara was the Director in the U.S. Education Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She joined the foundation in 2011 as the Deputy Director of the K-12 team, and during her tenure led the foundation’s work to expand research and development of promising solutions to longstanding teaching and learning challenges that prevent students from reaching their full potential. Most recently, she directed program strategies focused on improving early learning programs to prepare children for a successful kindergarten experience, as well as supporting young people to successfully navigate a path from high school through post-secondary education, while developing the skills, social capital, and credentials to create upward mobility in the workforce. 

Previously, Sara was a district-level leader at Portland Public Schools, where she led strategic initiatives, including developing and implementing school performance management systems, restructuring the portfolio of schools, redesigning core human resource processes and systems, and directing research, evaluation, data policy and analysis. Prior to working in education, Sara was a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group and started her career at the Royal Bank of Canada.  

She serves as a board member and advisor to mission-focused organizations and was a recipient of the Broad Residency in Urban Education and a Presidential Leadership Scholar.  Sara, a dual citizen, grew up in a family of educators and attended Canadian public schools from kindergarten through graduate school. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Trinity College at the University of Toronto and an MBA from the Ivey Business School at Western University. Sara has a daughter and son in college and a son in high school.