Sarah Peeden

Head of Middle School

M.Ed., Private School Leadership, Teachers College at Columbia University; M.A., English Language and Literature, University of Virginia; B.A., History & English Language and Literature, University of Virginia

Sarah came to Eastside Prep in 2022 as the Head of Middle School. She began her teaching career at a boarding school in Georgia, later moving to San Diego, California, where she spent a decade at Pacific Ridge School, most recently serving as the Assistant Head of Middle School.

As a progressive educator, Sarah believes that students benefit from developing strong critical thinking skills in a nurturing and student-centered community. Influenced by the work of educational philosopher Nel Noddings, Sarah strives to build attentive, responsive, and trusting relationships with students through dialogue and practice. Noddings famously wrote that, in all things, “the student is infinitely more important than the subject matter,” and Sarah tries to live this credo every day through her work as both a teacher and administrator.

As a middle school educator, Sarah creates space for play, authenticity, and all of the vulnerability, messiness, and silliness that comes with inviting the whole child, especially a middle school student, to the table. She encourages students to explore the “windows,” “mirrors,” and systems that make up their school community and the larger world. Moreover, Sarah recognizes that the middle school years are some of the most dynamic ones in a person’s life. They are years full of ups and downs, laughter, tears, and transformation for students, and those milestones should be celebrated and supported by committed faculty who love and respect adolescents and their development. At EPS, Sarah sees kindred spirits in the teachers, students, and families who come together to champion the school’s mission of empowering students to: “Think Critically. Act Responsibly. Lead Compassionately. Innovate Wisely.”

When Sarah isn’t teaching, she enjoys cooking, traveling, reading novels and poetry, practicing yoga, swimming, and hiking with her family. A native Tennessean, Sarah enjoys talking about her beloved Great Smoky Mountains.