Who We Are / Our Team

Sara Llansa Petty



Sara Llansa Petty is a native of Houston, Texas with a Master’s in the Human Dimensions of Organizations (HDO) from UT Austin (2017) and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Education from Brown University (2012). She is passionate about ensuring that all students, regardless of their socioeconomic background, have access to the information and support they need to reimagine what is possible and unlock their full potential. Sara currently serves on several boards, including the Latino Education Advancement Fund (LEAF), TACAC, and UT Austin’s Human Dimension of Organizations Advisory Board. She regularly presents at conferences, such as NACAC, Guiding the Way to Inclusion, Preparate, Council of Great City Schools, and TACAC.

She is at an inflection point in her career and is eager to support school districts and organizations develop innovative programs that boost postsecondary outcomes for students, like she did at EMERGE in the Houston Independent School District for the past decade. EMERGE is a college access program that empowers and prepares high performing students from underserved communities to attend and graduate from selective colleges and universities across the nation. Sara oversaw the expansion of EMERGE from serving a graduating class of 164 students across 28 high schools in 2016 to serving graduating classes of 350 students across 42 high schools in the 8th largest school district in the nation.

Sara considers herself a system-level leader and has enjoyed advising other school districts and organizations on how they can start EMERGE-like programs. She supported North Kansas City Schools in the development of the Catalyst Program, which identifies and supports high-performing, historically underrepresented students to attend and graduate from the nation’s most selective colleges. In Sara’s free time, she works as an independent counselor and editor, and is the Adoption Coordinator for a local rabbit rescue organization.


  • College enrollment and completion
  • Higher education partnerships
  • Program design and implementation


  • MA in Human Dimensions of Organizations from The University of Texas at Austin
  • BA in Education (History/Policy) from Brown University
  • BA in International Relations from Brown University

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