As Labor Day nears and the last of the schools across America go back into session I ran across one of the top non-profits in America that continues to make an impact on the lives of children, teachers, parents, and society as a whole. Wendy Sue Kopp who was born June 29, 1967 became the Founder and Chair of the Board of Teach For America (TFA). It is an organization specialized as a national teaching corps. Wendy is also the CEO and Co-Founder of Teach For All, a global network of nonprofit organizations that apply the same model as Teach For America in other countries. Kopp attended High School in Dallas, Texas and later was an undergraduate in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton in 1989.
n 1989, Wendy Kopp proposed the creation of “Teach For America” in her undergraduate thesis at Princeton University. She was advised in her thesis by senior sociology professor Marvin Bressler and was convinced that many in her generation were searching for a way to assume a significant responsibility that would make a real difference in the world and that top college students would choose teaching over more lucrative opportunities if a impactful teacher corps existed.
Shortly after graduating, Kopp founded “Teach For America.” That next year, 500 recent college graduates joined “Teach For America’s” charter corps. In 2013, Wendy stepped down from her position as CEO of Teach For America and assumed the role of board chair for the organization. Wendy has written about her experiences at “Teach For America” in two books, One Day, All Children: The Unlikely Triumph of Teach For America and What I Learned Along the Way and A Chance To Make History: What Works and What Doesn’t in Providing an Excellent Education For All.
Ideas matter and change the lives of adults and children. It can happen in America and around the world. The principal is as old as history itself. The Bible says,
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deut 6:6-7
I want to commend all who teach and the impact they make and remind all of you of how powerful an idea combined with a passion can be.