New Teacher Spotlight: Sarah Tolch, Science



Middle school science teacher Sarah Tolch was born in North Carolina, but doesn’t have an easy answer to where she’s from. As a child, she moved around, following her father’s work as a minister. Her parents now live in New Mexico, but if she has to pick, she’ll say she’s from Texas, which is where she spent the longest time.

After college at Smith, Sarah began graduate school in chemistry at the University of Texas, Austin. The program was for researchers, but Sarah also had the opportunity to teach, and fell in love with it.

In 2002, she decided to leave Austin for a position teaching at Thomas Jefferson School in St. Louis. In the next few years, she met her now-husband, Andy, owner of Andy’s Toys in south county, and completed her master’s at St. Louis University in 2006.

Sarah taught a mixed course load at Thomas Jefferson for six years before taking a time away from teaching to run her own tack shop and offer riding lessons. A long-time equestrian, she found her hobby less enjoyable when it became her work, too.

Sarah returned to teaching in the upper school at MICDS, where she spent the next eight years in the classroom and as an administrator. In 2012, her daughter Amelia was born. By the end of Sarah’s time there, she was working with only the oldest students on campus: “I missed the younger kids, so I started looking for jobs in middle schools.”

In choosing to apply to Crossroads, “The mission of the school — the commitment to diversity work and community engagement — was a big deal. [Crossroads] was actually the only independent school I applied to,” she says.

Sarah is teaching 7th and 8th grade science, is an 8th grade advisor, a member of the Anti-Bias/Anti-Racism (ABAR) Steering Committee, and a collaborator with Cliff Sodergren in the robotics program.

After her first quarter on campus, Sarah has this to say: “I love it here. I love my coworkers. I love the students. People really live out this community idea. Teachers are here helping each other, students are engaging with each other, and as an institution, we are not afraid to tackle big challenges with the understanding of the effort that requires.”

When she’s not at school, Sarah enjoys reading and time at the zoo with Amelia. They have three rescue dogs at home and Sarah loves to cook. Her macaroni and cheese — a signature dish — has won awards, but “don’t ask me to grow plants, it won’t go well.”