Sarah Blanchard joined the Avon Old Farms School community as the director of development in 2021. She brought to the office more than 25 years of alumni and development experience, acquired from elementary schools, secondary schools, higher learning institutions, and more.
Sarah grew up in the greater Hartford area and attended the Kingswood-Oxford School in West Hartford before matriculating to University of Maine. Feeling a call to the field of education, Sarah traveled to Japan for two years after completing her undergraduate degree to teach English as a second language. Upon returning to the U.S., her passion for teaching morphed into a role at a literacy program in Jackson Hole. It was there that Sarah was introduced to the importance of development work within nonprofits.
“I loved the field of education, but knowing that a classroom perhaps wasn’t where I was meant to be left me open to other callings,” explains Sarah. “My passion for education was able to perfectly pair with the world of institutional development work. I could fulfill my passion by helping others experience education by fundraising and bringing awareness to wonderful programs. And, it helps that everyone always needs someone in development!”
With a career defined, Sarah studied nonprofit management at the School for International Training. She worked in a variety of places, from the U.S.’s West Coast to Greece before her wanderlust gave way to settling down with a family at home in Connecticut. Throughout it all, Sarah says that school communities have held her admiration.
Just prior to Avon Old Farms, Sarah was at Miss Porter’s—just down the road in Farmington—for four years during which she provided strategic programming for and leadership of the Porter's community of passionate and accomplished alumnae.
“The communities at the schools I’ve been a part of have been extraordinary, and I’ve truly felt at home in each of them. I pride myself on being a relationship builder, and schools have proven to be wonderful places for me to practice that skillset.”
Sarah was excited to take on the director of development role at Avon not only for the wonderful career opportunities it is able to provide, but also it means she gets to see her youngest son go through his high school years up close.
“The Founder’s League has such a rich history and tradition, I am excited to get to know the alumni, parents, families, and friends of Avon Old Farms not only as a parent, but as someone who will be working hard to galvanize the AOF community as we approach our 100-year anniversary as an institution. This is an amazing milestone for any school, and my goal is to get as many people as possible to be a part of that journey with us.”
As the director of development, Sarah oversees engagement, philanthropy, stewardship, and events. Her goal is to manage an effective team to ensure they are not only bringing alumni to Avon, but also Avon to our alumni.
She lives in West Hartford with her husband, Jeff, youngest son, Chuck, Avon Old Farms Class of 2024, and their Newfoundland, Tank. The couple’s two oldest sons, Ned and Brad, are in college.
- Sarah has international teaching and fundraising experience
- She is a huge animal lover and predicts she will always have a Newfie by her side.
- Sarah is a sports enthusiast and fan. She loves being outside running, hiking or skiing … or watching a sporting event (preferably, one in which one of her sons is playing!)