Leadership Profile

Alumna Lives Dream of Teaching and Illustrating

Sarah Magner ’06 ’09 is living her dream. The integrated art and communication graduate—who also earned her M.Ed. in elementary education at Cedar Crest—is teaching first grade, and recently illustrated her first book titled, Inspector Spencer Solves the Curious Case of Danger Mouse, authored by Ellen B. Greenberg.

Sarah Manger

Bethlehem resident Greenberg needed an illustrator and contacted Cedar Crest Art Chair Jill Odegaard to see if a student or alumna would be up to the challenge for this self-published children’s book. Magner couldn’t be any happier for the opportunity.

“Illustrating a book was always my "dream job" since I was about 12 years old. My career goal after graduating from Cedar Crest was to teach, which I do. Illustrating the book was a nice way to use my art skills in my free time away from work,” said Magner. “The experience allowed me to put my illustration skills to work and was very enjoyable. The author was very pleased with my work in the final product, and it's very exciting to have my work published.”

Magner plans to continue balancing her career as a first grade teacher at Good Shepherd Catholic School in Northampton—which she says she “absolutely loves”—and art projects that may come her way. She and Greenberg are already planning to collaborate on a second and possibly third book in this series. She gives some of the credit for her wide-ranging skills to her alma mater.

“My art professors at Cedar Crest were always supportive of my goal to illustrate children's books. At my portfolio critiques, I remember them affirming that this was what I was meant to do,” she said. “Jill (Odegaard) has been particularly encouraging to me, even after I graduated, and she was essential in connecting me with the author. At Cedar Crest, I was always involved in lots of extra-curricular activities, which helped tremendously in teaching me the real-world skill of time management. Without that skill, I would not be able to balance teaching full-time with my illustration projects.”

Teacher Odegaard couldn’t be more proud.

“As a teacher, one of the greatest gifts is to have a student take the knowledge and techniques that you share with them outside of the classroom and into their own lives,” she said. “In regard to Sarah, it is a true delight to see her take her talent for illustration, eye for design and her background in education and successfully bring them together into children's book illustrations.”