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Principal Associate, Social & Economic Policy

Sarah Costelloe, Ph.D., has over 15 years of experience in qualitative data collection, analysis, and interpretation and in working with stakeholders to design and implement evaluations of programs and policies funded at the district-, state-, and national levels. She has conducted numerous K-12 program and implementation evaluations and led workshops with district- and school-level staff. She’s contributed to research-practice partnerships focused on educator effectiveness and on improving high school graduation and college and career success. She also has developed products to help practitioners and policymakers understand and use research findings to guide program improvement and decision-making, and is skilled at designing and conducting interviews, surveys, focus groups, and literature reviews.  

Costelloe currently oversees two evaluations of interventions designed to support literacy skill development – the Read by 4th campaign and the Literacy in Early Learning Spaces initiative – both of which are implemented by the Free Library of Philadelphia. She is also overseeing the development of three What Works Clearinghouse Practice Guides, which provide evidence-based recommendations and implementation strategies for postsecondary stakeholders.

Previous projects include serving as principal investigator of an evaluation examining the outcomes of the Child Care Recovery Program in Texas and Florida following the 2017 hurricanes. Costelloe developed interview protocols and surveys for partners and childcare providers, and created an evaluation framework and indicators to guide future evaluation of the program. As the project director for Developing, Coordinating, and Maintaining Successful School-Based Partnerships, she led a two-year evaluation of partnership coordination in Philadelphia and authored Partnering for Student Success: A Practical Guide to Building Effective School-Based Partnerships, a toolkit for schools and partner organizations, and developed an accompanying Facilitator’s Guide.


  • Evaluation of K-12 Education Programs
  • Project Management
  • Research Design
  • Communication with Diverse Stakeholders and Audiences
  • Creating Accessible Research Briefs and Presentations
  • Qualitative Data Collection and Analysis
  • Instrument Development (Interview/ Focus Group Protocols, Surveys)
  • Literature Reviews
  • Working Group Coordination and Facilitation
  • Teacher Preparation, College and Career Readiness, Youth Workforce Development

Key Projects:

  • What Works Clearinghouse- Postsecondary Education and Postsecondary Preparation Evidence Reporting, U.S. Department of Education
  • REL Program Design Research Project, U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences
  • Evaluation of the Literacy in Early Learning Spaces Program
  • Financial Education at Institutions of Higher Education, Consumer Finance Protection Bureau
  • Read by 4th Collective Impact Evaluation, Free Library of Philadelphia
  • Evaluation of Save the Children’s Child Care Recovery Program
  • Coordinating, and Maintaining Successful School-Based Partnerships


  • Cotner, H., Bragg, D., Cheng, I., Costelloe, S., Freeman, B., Goold, G., Heiser, E., Lemire, S., Miller, D.G., Porowski, A., Van Noy, M., & Yadav, E. (2021). Designing and delivering career pathways at community colleges: A practice guide for educators (WWC 2021007). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE), Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.
  • Dabbagh, N., Bass, R., Bishop, M., Costelloe, S., Cummings, K., Freeman, B., Frye, M., Picciano, A. G., Porowski, A., Sparrow, J., & Wilson, S. J. (2019). Using technology to support postsecondary student learning: A practice guide for college and university administrators, advisors, and faculty. Washington, DC: Institute of Education Sciences, What Works Clearinghouse. (WWC 20090001)
  • Costelloe, S.C., Joseph, J., & Brune, M. (2018, March). Overview and Lessons Learned from What Works Cities Implementation. Prepared for Bloomberg Philanthropies. Abt Associates, Cambridge, MA.
  • Costelloe, S.C., Norton, J. & Cheng, I. (2017, December) Facilitators Guide for Partnering for Student Success: A Practical Guide to Building Effective School-Based Partnerships. Prepared for the William Penn Foundation.
  • Alamprese, J., Costelloe, S.C., Price, C., & Zeidenberg, M. (2017). Evaluation of the Community College Consortium for Bioscience Credentials (c3bc): Final report. Bethesda, MD: Abt Associates.
Sarah Costelloe