Wendy Kopp


Wendy Kopp, a native of Austin, Texas, attended Princeton University. There, for her undergraduate senior thesis in 1989, she developed a proposal for an organization that would address problems of educational inequality in America. Her idea called for recruiting outstanding recent college graduates from all academic fields who would commit two years to teach in urban and rural public schools, with the expectation that many of these people would become lifelong leaders in the education community.

From that proposal, she founded Teach For America, serving as CEO until earlier this year, when she became Chair of the Board. Ms. Kopp has spent more than twenty years working to expand the organization’s impact. Under her leadership, Teach For America’s nearly 38,000 participants have reached more than three million children nationwide during their two-year teaching commitments. Many have sustained their -commitment as alumni of the program, working inside and outside the field of education to ensure educational excellence and equity for all children.

Ms. Kopp is also chief executive officer and co-founder of Teach For All, a global network of independent social enterprises that are working to expand educational opportunity in nations around the world by recruiting and developing promising future leaders to commit two years to teach in high-need areas and become lifelong leaders for educational excellence and equity in their countries.

Ms. Kopp is the author of the bestseller A Chance to Make History: What Works and What Doesn’t in Providing an Excellent Education for All and One Day, All Children: The Unlikely Triumph of Teach For America and What I Learned Along the Way. She is also the recipient of numerous honors and awards for public service. She resides in New York City with her husband, Richard Barth, and their four children.