President & CEO, Easterseals Serving Chicagoland and Rockford


Sara Ray StoelingaSara Ray Stoelinga is the President & CEO of Easterseals Serving Chicagoland and Rockford. In her role at Easterseals, Sara oversees a broad portfolio that spans the early learning and disability realms. Easterseals Serving Chicagoland and Greater Rockford is nearly $80M operating with 700 employees, serving 20,000 families each year.

Dr. Stoelinga was hired as the turnaround CEO of the organization in 2019 and has led and continues to lead significant organizational transformation. Dr Stoelinga also serves as an Adjunct Professor at the Quinlan School of Business at Loyola University, teaching classes in Social Enterprise and other topics related to non-profit leadership.

Prior to her role at Easterseals Sara was the Sara Liston Spurlark Director of the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute (UEI), a 500-employee, $50M operating organization that focuses on urban education. Dr. Stoelinga led the merger of the precursor university-based centers into UEI in 2008.

At the University of Chicago, Dr. Stoelinga also served as a Clinical Professor in the Committee on Education, teaching and advising undergraduate and graduate students in Public Policy, Sociology and Human Development. In 2015, Dr. Stoelinga was awarded the Quantrell Award for Undergraduate Teaching at the University of Chicago, considered to be the oldest award for excellence in undergraduate teaching in the country. In 2016, Stoelinga was awarded the Don York Faculty Initiative Award from the University of Chicago Office of Civic Engagement for her extensive work with the South Side communities. In 2021, Stoelinga was inducted into the University of Chicago Athletics Hall of Fame for her leadership and skill in college athletics in track and field.

Stoelinga is a Board member and Officer on several non-profit Boards, both in Chicago and nationally. Dr. Stoelinga received a B.A., MA and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Chicago.