Steelman received her B.A. in History and M.A. in Economics from the University of Missouri in Columbia. She has served as an adjunct economics professor at Lincoln University. After graduating from UMC, Sarah Steelman served as an economist for the Department of Revenue. She wrote many articles and papers related to Missouri fiscal issues.
After moving to Rolla, she served as the Deputy Director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources - Division of Geology and Land Survey from 1988 to 1993.
After leaving state government, she served as Executive Director of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Program in Rolla. This not-for-profit organization, funded through donations from individuals in the community, matches kids in need of attention with volunteer mentors.
Steelman is the mother of three boys; Sam, Joe and Michael and is married to David Steelman, a Rolla attorney.