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Meet The 10 Teach For America Alumni On The 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30

A look back at the 10 Teach For America alumni who made this past year's Forbes 30 Under 30.

30 under 30

By The TFA Editorial Team

January 4, 2017

Each year Forbes Magazine’s chooses 30 of the "brightest young entrepreneurs, innovators and game changers" across 20 different industries.

In 2017, an impressive 10 Teach For America alumni landed coveted spots on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in the Education and Social Entrepreneurs categories.

With nominations for the 30 Under 30 Class of 2018 underway, here’s a look back at the 2017 alumni honorees who are transforming the future of education in and out of the classroom.


Jacob Allen and Marie Dandie (Greater Chicago-Northwest Indiana '13)

Co-Founders, pilotED Schools

This Chicago-based education nonprofit continues to garner attention for its identity-based curriculum.

Allen (left) and Dandie take pride in fostering “a new kind of elementary school” where students immerse themselves in a triumvirate of curricula that focus on sociological identity, academic excellence, and civic engagement. They plan to expand pilotED to an “identity-based” K-8 charter school in September.

Allen, a 2016 Social Innovation Award finalist, attended the University of Washington for undergraduate studies and UCLA for graduate certification. Dandie earned her undergraduate degree from Central Michigan University and her graduate certification from Dominican University. Both attended Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management to prepare for school leadership.

Louise Baigelman (Massachusetts '09)

Co-Founder, Story Shares

Baigelman’s Story Shares offers a digital reading platform that makes stories more age-appropriate and accessible, along with a digital book-building platform that allows authors to navigate the writing process effectively and produce precise, age-appropriate content for a targeted audience.

This Boston-based literacy hub is a favorite of middle school and high school teachers in 44 states and 26 countries. Story Shares includes a forum where students, authors, educators, and even parents can collaborate.

After earning her bachelor's degree from Cornell University, Baigelman went to Boston University for her master's in education. Last year, she won The Teach For America Social Innovation Award.

Hardy Farrow (Memphis '13)

Executive Director, Let's Innovate Through Education (LITE)

Born in Hardy Farrow’s Teach for America classroom in 2013, Let's Innovate through Education (LITE) aims to close the opportunity gap via a three-pronged approach that fosters the academic growth of low-income students throughout high school, college, and beyond.

The Memphis-based program offers an entrepreneurial curriculum where high school students—who are graduating at a perfect 100 percent clip—develop a business plan with the help of local professional mentors and seed investment.

At the next level, LITE helps college students—95 percent of whom are on track to graduate in four years—identify scholarship opportunities and internships that align with their passions.

Farrow graduated from George Washington University.

Ryan Hoch (St. Louis '09)

Co-Founder, Overgrad

Overgrad is a free platform that allows students to make informed decisions about their transition from high school to college and beyond.

Developed three years ago by Hoch and Kevin Hoffman, this software helps users track their grades and standardized tests individually, and conduct research on prospective colleges.

Overgrad currently offers a wide variety of services and tools for parents, schools, community-based organizations, and even independent tutors and counselors. Hoch and Hoffman have seen their company’s reach expand on a global scale; today, over 70,000 students in over 800 high schools in 15 countries use the software.

Hoch graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Jenna Leahy (Phoenix '10)

Co-CEO, CASA Academy

Leahy and fellow TFA alumna Tacey Clayton (Phoenix ’08) joined forces to start CASA Academy, a K-3 public charter that is part of the New Schools For Phoenix incubator program.

Ninety-eight percent of CASA students qualify for free and reduced lunch, 90 percent are students of color, and 72 percent are English Language Learners.

With a school-wide goal of each student making 1.5 years of growth in only one year, CASA sets high expectations. Their leaders are just as relentless outside of the classroom; they have already raised a whopping $1.1 million in grants and donations, along with over $720,000 in scholarships for their students.

Leahy graduated cum laude from Scripps College before getting her certification at Rio Salado College and a master's in education from the University of Phoenix.

Brittany Stich (Bay Area '10)

Co-Founders, Guild Education

Stich and co-founder Rachel Carlson started Guild in 2015 with the objective of offering online classes, programs, and accredited college degrees for people in the workforce while collaborating with employers to provide job training for career advancement.

After raising $10.5 million in funding and coaching approximately 1,700 working adults, they are well on their way to achieving their goal.

Currently, Guild works with companies like Chipotle that offer education as a benefit to their employees in the form of management training programs and degree opportunities from colleges such as Colorado State University, Western Governors University, and Bellevue University.

After earning her undergraduate degree from Stanford University with distinction, Stich continued her graduate studies on The Farm, earning a joint MBA and a master’s in education.

Joe Vasquez (Bay Area '11)

Founder, Runway Incubator

San Francisco-based Runway Incubator is a technology innovation hub that unites “entrepreneurs, start-ups, venture capitalists, mentors, Fortune 500 corporations, and industry experts.” In addition to providing desk space for startups, Runway sets up community gatherings, educational events, and other support a fledgling ed-tech entrepreneur might need.

The Incubator has already enjoyed some early success; last year’s first cohort of startups each received an equity investment of $25,000 and access to invaluable networking opportunities with Silicon Valley mentors, investors, and industry leaders.

Vasquez earned his bachelor's degree from Stanford University, where he received the Stanford Award of Excellence.


Mario Jovan Shaw (Charlotte '12) and Jason Terrell (Charlotte '12)

Co-Founders, Profound Gentlemen

What began as an idea between roommates during their corps member days blossomed into a full-blown organization that helps male educators of color and almost boys of color fulfill respective educational ambitions.

Shaw and Terrell’s mission for Profound Gentlemen is to improve low retention for male educators of color through direct peer mentorship and professional development.

Shaw earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Cincinnati and Terrell finished his undergraduate studies at Furman University. Both received master's degrees in education from Johns Hopkins University and were recipients of the 2015 Echoing Green Fellowship.