Outgoing Board Chair Walter Isaacson Announces Leadership Transition

Today, it is my honor to announce a decision that marks the next step in Teach For America’s story.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

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

February 13, 2013

Dear Teach For America Friends and Partners,

As chair of the board for the past seven years and a supporter of Teach For America since its early days, it has been remarkable to watch its evolution into one of our country’s most important institutions that is fighting for educational equity. Today, it is my honor to announce a decision that marks the next step in Teach For America’s story.

Yesterday, the board voted to appoint Teach For America Founder and CEO Wendy Kopp as chair of the board. President Matt Kramer and Chief Operating Officer Elisa Villanueva Beard will become co-CEOs of Teach For America, effective March 1. I will remain on the board as chair emeritus. Dick Parsons will serve in the newly-created role of lead independent director, ensuring strong and independent governance of the board.   

This decision makes way for Wendy, the visionary founder who has led the organization’s development for the past 24 years, to continue contributing to its success while expanding leadership capacity to respond to Teach For America’s rapidly growing opportunities.  

For the past eight years, Matt and Elisa have been instrumental in charting the organization’s course and growing its size and impact. In their new role, they will continue to build on that progressand their long history of leading collaboratively. As co-CEOs, they will provide continuity in Teach For America’s operations and values while ensuring we fulfill our potential at a time of unprecedented momentum.

The transition also positions Teach For America to thrive over time as the movement for educational equity becomes increasingly global. Six years ago, Wendy came to me with an idea for a new organization that would respond to requests from social entrepreneurs all over the world. These entrepreneurs were determined to improve their education systems and wanted help enlisting their own countries’ future leaders in that mission. Since co-founding Teach For All in 2007, Wendy has shaped it into a powerful global network with independent organizations in 26 countries.

Every day, the organizations, teachers, and alumni of the Teach For All network are sharing ideas and adapting solutions across borders, hastening the pace of change. Wendy’s continued service as Teach For All’s CEO will foster the development of global efforts that are critical to the future of the movement to ensure educational opportunity for all. 

Educational inequality remains one of our greatest national and global problems. Over the past two decades, Teach For America has fueled an unstoppable movement by cultivating lifelong leaders dedicated to closing the opportunity gap. As a student and chronicler of American history, it’s been a privilege to watch our dedicated staff, corps members, and alumni make history every day through their work to expand opportunities for our country’s most disadvantaged children.

The board unanimously supports today’s decisionan important next step that will allow Teach For America to fulfill its potential and meet future challenges head-on.


Walter Isaacson


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