District Life Changer

September 2018 District Life Changer: Sarah Coffey

Helping students feel good about who they are — especially in school — is Sarah Coffey’s number one goal. Her current job title is licensed school counselor, but Coffey has taken on many roles throughout her 12 years at West Junior High School.

Among these roles, there is one that resonates with her — she is the coordinator for Where Everybody Belongs (WEB), a student orientation and mentoring program.

“Every year we do something different to add a new element to the program, and the students always step up,” she said.

According to her colleagues, Coffey herself is a person who steps up. Donna Philippot, language and literature teacher at West Junior High, said Coffey is extraordinarily generous with her acts of kindness. Doing good for others is a way of life for her. Matthew Johnson, West Junior High assistant principal, shared a similar sentiment.

“Sarah is a District Life Changer because she takes the time to build deep, authentic relationships with students and families,” Johnson said.

Coffey strives to create a welcoming environment for all kids while helping them reach their highest potential. She does that by allowing them to be vulnerable with her and trust her. Johnson said Coffey leads with her heart and takes the time to listen.

Background: Before coming to Hopkins, I worked as a youth and family counselor at The Bridge for Youth in Minneapolis. The experience I gained in that setting really helped me in my work with families from a variety of backgrounds and experiences.

What do you love most about working at Hopkins Public Schools? The passion! I absolutely love Hopkins and especially my colleagues. My West Junior High colleagues are some of the most caring and fun people I have ever met. We often break into the “High School Musical” song, “We’re All in This Together.”

Proudest moment? My proudest moments are always related to the WEB program. The first time I heard a student say, “I want to be a WEB Leader because my leader helped me so much in seventh grade,” I broke into tears!

Favorite quote? Life begins at the end of your comfort zone!

Stats: Studied biology and psychology with a minor in health, Luther College, Decorah, Iowa. She received a master’s in school counseling from Winona State University. In the future, Sarah Coffey would like to get a licensure in marriage and family therapy.