“I went into education to make an impact, and this industry has given me the opportunity to impact lives on a greater scale. Adapting and changing to pursue better possibilities is why I do this work.”
Christy Sassman, director of program management, joined New Meridian in 2020. She oversees the team that manages New Meridian’s contract-based programs and acts as the interface between the company and clients. Christy works diligently to exceed customer expectations and deliver quality assessments to states.
Christy joined the team eager to work in an environment where she could redefine processes from the ground up and create new solutions that support the needs of students and educators.
We talked to Christy about her passion for complex work, her desire to make a lasting impact, and what #MyNewMeridianWay means to her.
What personal connection do you have to education?
My 30-plus-year career has been almost exclusively in the field of education. I began in the classroom as a middle school mathematics teacher, then moved into the school office before I ultimately landed in the K-12 educational assessment space over 20 years ago.
Why do you enjoy working in program management?
Encountering complex problems gets my creativity going. The ability to get excited about solving customer problems is one of the things that differentiates a good program manager from a great program manager in our industry. Receiving a phone call from a client that needs to make a last-minute change to an administration window, edit a requirement, or work through a board of education decision that requires our help are my favorite aspects of the work I oversee at New Meridian.
What does equity in education mean to you?
Equity in education is complex because it is a necessary feat to achieve but also has challenges rooted in so many aspects of our history. True equity means that all students have fair and unbiased access to all the same resources, like food, housing, medical help, libraries, safety, and schools. It means they receive the same opportunities to learn in a safe, clean environment with equally trained and committed educators. Equity promises that students have access to the same choices between universities, colleges, training programs, or careers based on their own unique capabilities, interests, and desires.
Today’s students have inherited systems fraught with inherent, implicit, and often deliberate bias and must face a society that chooses to favor them, ignore them, or fight against them long before they are given the opportunities implied by education. That is why it’s so important for us to work toward a future where students are given the opportunity to successfully learn and succeed.
Which New Meridian value resonates most with you?
It’s so important to envision new possibilities and pursue them while adapting and changing in the process. If we are not ever-growing and changing to meet the needs of our country’s most valuable and vulnerable resource, our children, then there is no true purpose to the work we do. I went into education to make an impact, and this industry has given me the opportunity to impact lives on a greater scale. Adapting and changing to pursue better possibilities is why I do this work. That’s #MyNewMeridianWay.
At New Meridian, we have a dynamic team of people dedicated to making a difference. See our current job openings and hear from another staff member, Britt Bjorklund, about what #MyNewMeridianWay means to her.