The InnovatED Blog

Sara Vanderbilt

Sara joined MAPSA at the beginning of 2016 and is responsible for keeping the rest of the team on task. She believes it is her role to do everything in her power to set her colleagues and MAPSA up for success. Prior to joining MAPSA, she worked as Executive Director of a membership organization for senior-level meeting and event planners. She values all of MAPSA’s members and works to ensure they are well cared for.

Recent Posts

5 Tips for #GivingTuesday

Posted by Sara Vanderbilt on Nov 14, 2017 3:47:39 PM

It’s November and Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  With it, comes lots of turkey, Black Friday shopping, Cyber Monday deals, and #GivingTuesday. 

#GivingTuesday was founded in 2012 by New York’s 92nd Street Y in partnership with the United Nations Foundation.  Since its inaugural year in 2012, #GivingTuesday has become a movement that celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy, with events throughout the year and a growing catalog of resources.

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Topics: Fundraising

What Is Your School Doing for #GivingTuesday?

Posted by Sara Vanderbilt on Oct 9, 2017 5:26:56 PM

It happens every year… Thanksgiving Day, my husband and I spend the day with family giving thanks.  Friday, some of our family shop and some of our family watch football.  Monday, I do most of our holiday shopping online (free shipping is nothing to ignore!).  And, Tuesday we are back to the normal – right?  Wrong! 

In 2012, the 92nd Street Y in New York City held the first National Day of Giving to help focus attention on giving to charities in the wake of the heavily commercialized Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  Since then, #GivingTuesday is becoming a tradition many families and organizations are adopting.

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Topics: Fundraising

Portable 401K Benefits for Teachers

Posted by Sara Vanderbilt on Jun 1, 2017 11:08:46 AM


What are the benefits of a portable 401k, you ask? First, it’s portable. In today’s workplace, the median U.S. worker has less than 5 years at their current job. Teachers are no exception to this.  With so much mobility in our careers, having a retirement system that you can transfer from one job to another is very beneficial. Most portable 401K programs will even suspend your investments if the time between positions is longer than normal.

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Topics: Pension, Retirement, 401K

Summer Tips for Teachers

Posted by Sara Vanderbilt on May 18, 2017 7:00:00 AM

Can you sense it? It’s right around the corner and almost everyone is looking forward to it. It’s SUMMER BREAK! About this time in the school year, everyone from kids to parents to teachers, start daydreaming about what their summer breaks will look like. There might be trips to take, swimming to be done, and house/yard work to catch-up on. This list of activities might seem manageable until you realize just how fast the summer flies by.

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Topics: teachers

Why the secretary is critical to school customer service!

Posted by Sara Vanderbilt on Apr 12, 2017 8:12:00 AM

Her name was Bev and she was wonderful. She had smiles and kind words for me and any other student that came to the office. She wiped our tears when we didn’t feel good and gave us hugs on our birthdays. Bev was the school secretary at the middle school I attended.

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What does it mean to empower teachers?

Posted by Sara Vanderbilt on Mar 7, 2017 6:00:00 AM

Over the last week, nominees for the have been submitting their applications for the Michigan Charter School Teacher of the Year award . I have had the opportunity to read through many of them and I have seen a common theme running through the applications – empowered teachers.

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Topics: Shared Leadership, Teaching and Learning, Leadership, teachers

Servant Leadership in Schools

Posted by Sara Vanderbilt on Feb 9, 2017 11:05:00 AM

In 1970, Robert K. Greenleaf, an AT&T executive, coined the phrase servant leadership. Since that time, many people have tried to define servant leadership. But what does it mean to be a servant leader and how can servant leadership impact a classroom and school?

A simple definition of servant leadership involves leading others from a mindset of placing the needs of the organization and the needs of people over the needs and desire of the leader. This is not easy. Many times ego gets in the way of true servant leadership. However, an organization that has a servant as a leader can have wide-reaching impact on the effectiveness of its employees. 

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Topics: Culture, Shared Leadership, Leadership

The Myth Behind Work-Life Balance

Posted by Sara Vanderbilt on Jan 3, 2017 10:44:43 AM

I hate to break it to you, but there is no such thing as work/life balance. There used to be, but not anymore. Just a few years ago, most of us could escape and remain disconnected from the office for hours at a time. But that’s not the case in today’s hectic, technology filled life.

Today, our personal and work lives are so intertwined you can’t separate the two. Smartphones, tablets, cloud access to data and social media have tied us to school when we are at the grocery store, in waiting rooms, and at the kitchen table. We are connected 24 hours a day! Managing life and work it is not a matter of balance; it’s a matter of efficiency of time.

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Topics: Culture, Leadership

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