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Forbes' 30 Under 30 Features 10 Teach For America Alumni
Forbes released its annual 30 Under 30 list Tuesday, and 10 Teach For America alumni landed on the distinguished lineup of honorees.
The Class of 2017 is comprised of 600 of the "brightest young entrepreneurs, innovators and game changers" in 20 various industries. The TFA alumni on the list embody that description, having founded their ventures from scratch.
The 10 honorees, who are represented in the Education and Social Entrepreneurs categories, are Jacob Allen (Chicago-Northwest Indiana '13), Louise Baigelman (Massachusetts '09), Marie Dandie (Chicago-Northwest Indiana '13), Hardy Farrow (Memphis '13), Ryan Hoch (St. Louis '09), Jenna Leahy (Phoenix '10), Mario Jovan Shaw (Charlotte '12), Brittany Stich (Bay Area '10), Jason Terrell (Charlotte '12), and Joe Vasquez (Bay Area '11). They are part of a larger TFA network of more than 150 alumni in social innovation and 1,500 in business—many of whom have also been recognized by Forbes in the past.
To say that making this year’s 30 Under 30 list was difficult would be an understatement; out of all the candidates considered, the acceptance rate for both the Education and Social Entrepreneurs categories was less than 4 percent.
Read more about these leaders and their commitment to transforming the future of education in and out of the classroom.
Jacob Allen (Chicago-Northwest Indiana '13) and Marie Dandie (Chicago-Northwest Indiana '13)
Co-Founders, pilotED Schools
With a 93 percent high school graduation rate, 88 percent reduction in suspensions and 28 percent increase in attendance, Chicago-based pilotED has posted amazing results since opening its doors in 2013.
Allen and Dandie take pride in presenting “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. PilotED will expand to an “identity-based” K-8 charter school in September.
Allen, a 2016 Social Innovation Award finalist, attended the University of Washington for his undergraduate studies and UCLA for graduate certification. Dandie earned her undergraduate degree at Central Michigan University and her graduate certification at Dominican University. Both attended Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in preparing 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, in addition to a digital book-building platform that allows authors to navigate the writing process effectively and produce precise, age-appropriate content for a targeted audience.
The Boston-based literacy hub is a favorite of teachers from middle to high school 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 at Cornell, Baigelman went to Boston University for her master's in education. Last year, she won Teach For America's Social Innovation Award.
Hardy Farrow (Memphis '13)
Executive Director, Let's Innovate Through Education (LITE)
Farrow’s LITE aims to close the opportunity gap via a three-pronged approach that fosters the academic growth of low-income students through 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 provides support for college students—95 percent of whom are on track to graduate in four years—in identifying scholarship opportunities and internships that align with their passions.
Farrow graduated summa cum laude from George Washington University.
Ryan Hoch (St. Louis '09)
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, the software helps users track their grades and standardized tests individually, as well as conduct research on prospective colleges.
Moreover, Overgrad now 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 with honors.
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 expectations high. Their leaders are just as relentless outside 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 that 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 M.B.A. and master's in education as well.
Joe Vasquez (Bay Area '11)
Founder, Runway Incubator
San Francisco-based Runway Incubator is a technology innovation hub that unites “entrepreneurs, startups, 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, as last year’s first cohort of startups each received equity investment of $25,000, as well as 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.
SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS CATEGORY
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 has blossomed into a full-blown organization that has helped 150 male educators of color and almost 3,000 boys of color with their respective journeys in education.
Shaw and Terrell’s mission for Profound Gentlemen is to cultivate a “cradle-to-career pipeline,” which involves this community of educators acting as mentors to the aforementioned students with an emphasis on a Code Orange social-emotional learning scope and sequence model.
Shaw earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Cincinnati, while Terrell finished his undergraduate studies at Furman University. Both earned master's degrees in education at Johns Hopkins University and were recipients of the Echoing Green Fellowship in 2015.