NEW YORK - Teach For America appointed a latina for the first time as co-CEO of the organization and named its founder as chair of the board of directors.
Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach for America, was named as board chair, succeeding Walter Isaacson, who will become chair emeritus after more than seven years as chair.
The board also appointed Elisa Villanueva Beard and Matt Kramer co-CEOs of Teach For America, effective March 1.
Kopp will continue in her current role as founding CEO of Teach For All, a global network working to expand educational opportunity.
As board chair of Teach For America, Kopp will work closely with Villanueva Beard and Kramer to inform the organization’s strategic direction.
She will develop and lead the national board of directors, cultivate external support, and provide advice and counsel to the leadership team.
“Today’s announcement reflects Teach For America’s strength. Our dramatic growth over the past few years calls for more leadership capacity to respond to growing needs and opportunities,” said Isaacson.
“We are excited to elevate two proven leaders who have a lot more to contribute and free up our founder to focus on the areas where she can add the most unique value.”
Villanueva Beard and Kramer have served as senior members of Teach For America’s leadership team for eight years, and this transition is a natural evolution of their existing responsibilities.
As co-CEOs, they will be jointly accountable for the organization’s performance and will assume the leadership role in charting its strategic direction, developing its team and culture, building external relationships, and raising public awareness.
Elisa Villanueva Beard will oversee Teach For America’s regional operations and represent the organization publicly.
A native of the Rio Grande Valley, Villanueva Beard joined Teach For America in 1998, teaching bilingual first and second grade in Phoenix for three years. She then spent four years as executive director of Teach For America’s Rio Grande Valley region, before joining the national staff as chief operating officer.
In that position, she managed Teach For America’s now 46 regions, which are responsible for the placement and development of more than 10,000 corps members, fostering the leadership of their local alumni, and raising 80 percent of Teach For America’s funding.
“Having grown up in the Rio Grande Valley, my life’s work is fighting for educational justice for underserved kids in my hometown and across the country,” said Villanueva Beard.
“I am honored to continue this work as co-CEO of Teach For America, an organization that I know has such deep potential to move us toward the day when all children have the opportunity to attain an excellent education. Matt and I look forward to working together to take Teach For America to the next level.”
Matt Kramer will manage all aspects of the central Teach For America structure, including recruiting and admissions, corps member training, administration, development, marketing and communications, and central programmatic support of the regions.
Inspired by his wife’s experience as a corps member, Kramer originally joined Teach For America as chief program officer in 2005. He then moved into the role of president, where over the past five years he has helped oversee all aspects of Teach For America’s national operations, from growth and strategy to performance and organizational culture.
“I am thrilled to continue my partnership with Elisa, now as co-CEOs of Teach For America,” said Kramer.
“Teach For America plays such an important role in developing the leadership our country needs to live up to our highest ideals, and Elisa and I are eager to continue the hard work of ensuring that all children in our country have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
With information from Teach For America