Dr Ruto's career in the field of education and research spans over 30 years. She has experience in managing large-scale multi-country programs whose evidence has impacted national and international policies with respect to reading and numeracy. Sara has actively participated in global education and used evidence to back the need for competency and outcomes based education. She has published widely in academic journals, chapters and blogs as an avenue of framing educational trends and infusing a global south perspective.

From 1990, Sara served in different levels: as a teacher, a tutor and a lecturer at Kenyatta University. An ardent researcher, she joined and later became the Chairperson of the Women Educational Researchers of Kenya -an organization whose mission was to link research to advocacy and action. In 2009, Dr Ruto initiated the Uwezo learning assessment. Its intention was to shift policy discussions to focus on learning outcomes, and not just schooling using ‘reading and numeracy outcomes’ as the measure. She worked as the Country Coordinator for Uwezo Kenya and later transitioned to be the Regional Manager of Uwezo East Africa overseeing the learning assessments in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. From 2015 Sara worked as the Chief Executive Officer of the People’s Action for Learning (PAL) Network, an organization with membership from Africa, Asia and the Americas united in undertaking citizen-led assessments and actions to improve foundational literacy and numeracy.

Dr Ruto has served in many boards and advisory committees nationally and internationally. For instance, from 2017 she was the Chairperson of the Kenya Institute for Curriculum Development Council. In 2019 she was the Chairperson of the 3rd National Conference on Competency-Based Curriculum - the largest conference organized by the Ministry of Education, attended by over 2,500 people and preceded by 11 pre-conferences. In 2020 she chaired the COVID-19 National Education Response Committee. She joined the boards of Zizi Afrique Foundation and Population Council Kenya in 2021.

Dr Ruto received her university education at Kenyatta University and Heidelberg University.