Wendy Kopp

Wendy Kopp

Wendy Kopp is the CEO and founder of Teach For America. She proposed the creation of Teach For America in her undergraduate senior thesis at Princeton in 1989 and has spent the last 23 years working to grow the organization's impact. She's also the CEO and co-founder of Teach For All, and the author of A Chance to Make History: What Works and What Doesn’t in Providing an Excellent Education for All, and One Day, All Children. Wendy is an avid runner, constant traveler, and lives with her four kids and husband in New York. You can follow her on Twitter at @wendykopp.

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This is one of three letters sent to the Teach For America community today announcing leadership changes at the organization.

February 13, 2013

Dear Members of the Teach For America Community,

I write today to share some exciting news. Yesterday the Teach For America Board of Directors appointed President Matt Kramer and Chief Operating Officer Elisa Villanueva Beard co-CEOs of Teach For America, effective March 1. I will continue to contribute actively to the organization as chair of the board, succeeding Walter Isaacson, who will become chair emeritus after his seven superb years of service. I will also continue serving as CEO of Teach For All. These changes strengthen Teach For America by elevating two exceptional, proven leaders while enabling me to spend my time where I can add the most unique value.  

Today the U.S. Supreme Court hears closing arguments for Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, its first case on the use of race in college admissions since 2003. Wendy Kopp shared her reflections on the case in an Op-Ed piece that ran on Huffington Post. We have reblogged it in full with her permission.

All eyes are on the Supreme Court today as it considers Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, its first case on the use of race in college admissions since 2003. Back then a different group of justices ruled that diversity is such an important national interest that universities could continue to consider race as one of many factors when deciding who to admit. Now the lawsuit brought against UT by a rejected white applicant named Abigail Fisher challenges the right of all colleges to use race in a holistic process that fosters diverse student bodies.

It's expected to be a close decision. If the Court sides with Fisher, our nation's colleges could soon become much less diverse—with major repercussions in every sector of our society.

Photo credit: JimmeyTimmey via WikiCommons

Two weeks ago I had the honor of recognizing the 10 recipients of Teach For America’s first annual Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching. More than 120 students, teachers, staff members, family, and guests gathered at the Hotel Intercontinental in New York to celebrate these exceptional educators and their contributions to our work. It was a moving ceremony, with tributes from students and even a video message from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recognizing the accomplishments of our awardees.

The 10 recipients of Teach For America's Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Award winners (L-R) Lavinia Rogers, Isaac Pollack, Jenny Tan, Belzie Mont-Louis, Laura Kretschmar, Sanee Ibrahim, Candice Frontiera, Eric Diamon, Taylor Delhagen, Ed Chambers

Over 7,000 Teach For America alumni are teaching in classrooms across the country today. They are indispensable to fulfilling our mission—and our country’s aspiration—of a future where all children can have an excellent education.

Chosen from more than 600 nominees, the 10 award winners reflect a wide range of experiences and teach in diverse settings. What they have in common is outstanding leadership. They are willing to take risks in pursuit of life-changing impact.  They are not content to see academic gains alone—they are determined that every student will walk out of their classrooms with the tools to be life long learners, passionate readers, and skilled problem solvers on a path to and through college. None of these teachers is satisfied with where they are now—they ask more of themselves even when they’re getting great results. Their drive to push boundaries has driven our movement forward.

Dear Readers,

Welcome to our blog! We’re so excited to offer this new forum where we’ll be posting commentary on news events, sharing on-the-ground stories from the communities where we work, and engaging in candid discussion and debate about the biggest issues surrounding education today.  Pass The Chalk is a blog for everyone, not just members of the Teach For America community or education policy wonks.

I’ll be one of many contributors who will be blogging regularly, along with our staff members, alumni, corps members, students, parents, teachers, and local leaders and advocates.; We hope to add our voices to a vibrant online conversation about one of the most pressing social justice issues of our time.

A Teach For America corps member and his students in the classroom.

There’s a robust discussion about education that’s increasingly taken place online and on social media, and too often it focuses on the negative, oversimplifies issues, and creates false dichotomies, thus failing to advance our collective learning and understanding.

About Us

We believe education is the most pressing issue facing our nation. On Pass the Chalk, we'll share our takes on the issues of the day, join the online conversation about education, and tell stories from classrooms, schools, and communities around the nation.

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The thoughts, ideas, and opinions expressed on Pass the Chalk are the responsibility of individual bloggers. Unless explicitly stated, blog posts do not represent the views of Teach For America as an organization. 

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