A Publication of WTVP

40 Leaders Under Forty

As a success coach, career coordinator and grant manager for Peoria Public Schools, Sarah Chapman makes a difference in the lives of young people on a daily basis. She developed a work-based learning internship program at Woodruff Career and Technical Center and led a team of 12 career coaches who have placed over 300 at-risk students in work-based learning internships, job shadowing opportunities and part-time jobs in the Peoria area. She has worked with more than 60 area employers, serving as a liaison between students and businesses to support experiences that benefit youth career development and the local workforce.

Chapman manages three State of Illinois Career Readiness Grants for the district, including a Summer Youth Employment grant worth over $600,000. Her tireless efforts have placed Peoria Public Schools among Illinois’ premier school districts in providing work-based learning and allowed hundreds of students to build a foundation for their future careers.

In her past role as family services department coordinator at Crittenton Centers, Chapman provided oversight to the delivery of three family services programs; supervised and mentored seven parent educators; and represented Crittenton on various forums, committees and other community groups. As a health educator and volunteer coordinator at the Hult Center for Healthy Living, she worked with students on a health curriculum and with the University of Illinois Extension on nutritional programs.

Chapman serves as a K-5 youth leader at Connect Church in Washington, currently teaching second and third-grade Sunday school. She recently began volunteering as a grant reviewer for PNC Bank and joined the Junior League of Peoria, where she is an advocate for the Little Black Dress Initiative to address food insecurity in the community. She has served as a volunteer with Crittenton Centers and the Heart of Illinois United Way’s Generation United young professionals initiative, helping to plan fundraising events and performing service projects. She is a 2020 graduate of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School and a 2021 graduate of the Young Professionals of Greater Peoria LEAP Academy (Leaders Emerging to Advance Peoria). PM