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Effecting Transformational Change Through Test Prep
After five years in the classroom, Poer attended UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, where he sought a way to continue working in education via a different route. Ultimately, he took a part-time job with Magoosh, and upon graduation, became a full-time employee. His present role involves managing the teachers who teach the video lessons in the products—a skill set sharpened by his days in D.C.
“In Teach For America, I learned about what sound pedagogy was,” he says. “As an instructional coach, I learned what makes a good teacher and what makes professional development effective. I also learned how to prioritize projects to make the biggest impact possible.”
Together, Ellis and Poer have carried over the signature relentless work ethic that marks Teach For America alumni into the ed-tech field. “We don’t believe in the saying, ‘That’s not my job,’ ” Poer says. “Just like in the classroom, there are several problems you’re going to have to solve that will require you to be resourceful in order to figure them out, and that’s something we do daily.”
As impactful as their experiences as corps members (and now alumni) have been, they never forget what motivates them. “It all goes back to Teach For America and what we learned about transformational change,” Ellis adds. “Whenever we hear from students about how excited they are about their scores increasing, or how we’ve helped change someone’s life because now they’re going to their dream school, that fuels the enthusiasm for our mission every day.”