Sally Steenland

Center for American Progress

Sally Steenland is Director of the Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative at American Progress. In 2005, she organized the initiative’s “national conversations,” a series of town-hall meetings and discussions across the country on pressing issues of faith and policy. She guides the initiative’s work on a variety of policy issues, including faith and science, the role of religion in the public square, diversity and tolerance, immigration, health care, the environment, and cultural and social matters. She edited the essay collections Debating the Divine: Religion in 21st Century American Democracy and Pursuing the Global Common Good: Principle and Practice in U.S. Foreign Policy.

In the 1990s, she was a frequent op-ed columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer. In the 1980s, she was deputy director of the National Commission on Working Women, where she wrote major studies on women’s employment and women in the media and directed projects involving women in nonprofessional jobs. For several years she taught English, filmmaking, and critical media studies in high schools.

Steenland has written two best-selling books, The Magnetic Poetry Book and the award-winning Kids’ Magnetic Book of Poetry. Her short stories have appeared in many literary journals and anthologies, and her story collection, Skin and Bones, was a finalist in the 2004 Bakeless Literary Prize for fiction.

Steenland was raised in a Dutch Calvinist community in northern New Jersey. She received a B.A. in English from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan and a master’s degree in education from Howard University.


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