MAKERS Profile

Wendy Kopp

Founder & Former CEO, Teach For America

In this video

Tagged as

Founder and former CEO of Teach For America, Wendy Kopp, on what sparked the idea for a national teaching corps while she was at Princeton, the early challenges the organization faced, and the impact TFA has had since on both students and alumni.
Wendy Kopp is the former CEO and founder of Teach For America. The idea first came to her as a senior in college, and she proposed the concept in her senior thesis. Following graduation, she worked to make the idea come to life. Almost two decades later, Teach For America continues to make change through education in low-income communities across the country. Nearly 10,000 new corp members each year reach over 750,000 of the highest need students.   Kopp also serves as the chief executive of Teach For All, which is supporting the development of Teach For America's model in other countries. She is the author of "One Day, All Children: The Unlikely Triumph of Teach For America and What I Learned Along the Way," and holds a bachelor's degree from Princeton University, where she participated in the undergraduate program of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

More From Wendy

Teach For All
Kopp explains how the problems that Teach For America addresses are universal. Teach For All shares TFA's solutions on an international scale. 

International Mom
Kopp talks about the pivotal moment in her life when Fazle Abed unequivocally told her to pursue Teach For All, and how now she is able to involve her children in her international work.

Best Asset Is My Husband
Kopp shares how one of the best assets she has at her disposal is her husband, because he believes in her and her mission and is there by her side making it all happen.

Personal is Priority
Kopp on how TFA helps balance its employees' personal life and work and how important it is to keep high energy people on staff.

4 Kids & 2 Non-Profits
Kopp shares how she balances being a mother of four with being a founder of two huge non-profits. It ultimately comes down to delegating, whether to employees, husbands, teachers, or babysitters.

The Light Bulb
Kopp explains how her search for what she wanted to do after college outside of Wall Street led to the idea of a national teacher corps and the conviction to actually make it happen.

Why College Grads?
Kopp on the massive problems and challenges America's poorest children face and not only what, but who, it will take to overcome those.

Difference of 20 Years
Kopp talks about the incredible momentum in positive change the education world has seen that has changed the paths of students' lives, whether through policy and/or truly exceptional education.

Failure Is Inevitable
Kopp on how she gets through moments of feeling like a total failure and that in the end, it's about the work.