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February 10, 2015

Sara Heyburn, Ed.D.
Executive Director

In January 2015, Heyburn assumed the role of the Executive Director for the Tennessee State Board of Education. In this role, she works with the nine-member, Governor-appointed, legislatively confirmed, board on policy review and development across all areas of K-12 education. The state board also plays an important role in oversight of K-12 implementation, which involves close partnership with the Department of Education, educator stakeholders and members of the general assembly.


Heyburn first joined the State of Tennessee in July 2010 as K-12 policy advisor in the Governor's Office. From November 2011 through December 2014, she served as Assistant Commissioner of Teachers and Leaders at the Tennessee Department of Education where she directed and oversaw policy and implementation related to increasing teacher and leader effectiveness. Before moving to the state, Heyburn worked for two years as a policy analyst with Dr. Matthew Springer at The National Center on Performance Incentives at Vanderbilt University.


Heyburn's work in education began in Brentwood, TN, where she worked as a high school English teacher and cross-country coach. She also taught English and served as literacy lead at a large public high school in Louisville, KY. In 2007, she earned her National Board Certification in Adolescent English Language Arts. In May 2010 she earned an Ed.D. from Vanderbilt University's Peabody College. Heyburn also has a BA in English and a MAT, both from the University of Virginia.