She is only the second black woman in the country to win the top job in a local authority and her appointment follows a string of successes she has had as an executive director for Hackney.
She said: 'I am looking forward to working closely with staff, members and residents to address the challenges that lie ahead. Hackney is a vibrant, rich and diverse borough and together I believe we can build on the success and firm foundations that are already in place.'
A Hackney resident, Sarah led the pioneering partnership to tackle crime reduction in the borough. As chair of the Community Safety Partnership, she spearheaded a crime reduction strategy which recently won national acclaim from the Home Office. He work on the borough's early years strategy was also recently praised by Ofsted.
Outgoing chief executive Tony Elliston said: 'I can't think of anyone better for the job. Sarah is highly regarded for her partnership working and is strategically brilliant. She has the unanimous support of her colleagues on the executive board - a sign of strength of the team.'
Joining Hackney in March 1996, Sarah was previously assistant director of education at Lewisham. She was one of the original architects of Transforming Hackney- the most radical change programme in local government today and is currently area chamption for Stoke Newington.