Wendy Kopp's Headshot

Wendy Kopp

Founder and President of Teach for America - Panelist Blurb

David Gergen of US News and World Report exclaims "the nation owes a debt of gratitude to Wendy Kopp. She represents the emergence of a new breed of social entrepreneur, talented doers who are unleashing their generation's innovation and idealism to address long-standing social problems."

In 1989 at Princeton, Wendy Kopp proposed in her undergraduate senior thesis the creation of a new national corps that would enlist her generation's most promising future leaders in the movement to end educational inequity. This corps would inspire outstanding recent college graduates of all academic majors and career interests to commit two years to teach in the nation's neediest urban and rural public schools and to become lifelong leaders for expanding educational opportunity.

Kopp made her thesis a reality. Today, Teach for America is a shining example of commitment, innovation and success, fielding 3,000 corps members annually who teach in 22 communities and hundreds of schools across the country. It also involves nearly 9,000 alumni who exert continuing leadership in educational and social reform.

In her book, One Day, All Children: The Unlikely Triumph of Teach for America and What I Learned Along the Way

(Public Affairs, 2001), Kopp describes how she created and built Teach for America as well as her thoughts about what it will take to fully realize Teach for America's vision that one day, all children in this nation will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education.

Kopp holds honorary doctorate degrees from Pace University (2004), Smith College (2001), Princeton University (2000), and Connecticut College (1995), among others. She is the youngest person and the first woman to receive Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson Award (1993), the highest honor the school confers on its undergraduate alumni. In 1994, Time Magazine

recognized her as one of the forty most promising leaders under 40. Kopp has also been recognized with the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award (2004), the Clinton Center Award for Leadership and National Service (2003), and the Schwab Foundation's Outstanding Social Entrepreneur Award (2003), among others.

Kopp holds a Bachelor degree from Princeton University, where she participated in the undergraduate program of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. She resides in New York City with her husband and their three sons.

NOTE: Bio is as it appeared in the Forum program from November 29, 2006.