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Podcast Episode 3: Featuring Wendy Kopp and Teach for America -

Teach for America is on a mission to transform education and systems that make it difficult for children to learn, lead and thrive. Wendy’s work inspires Service Academy’s Ryan and Thomas to create systems that enable scaling — ideas that can be templated, shared and applied locally.

- Show Notes

How do we build processes that enable scaling?

In this episode, meet Wendy Kopp, the Founder of Teach for America (TFA) and Teach for All, a leadership catalyst for education equality. 

Teach for America pioneered a leadership pipeline where the smartest, highest achieving college graduates are recruited to teach for two years in the country’s lowest performing schools, making a meaningful difference in the classrooms and developing an entirely new generation of education and social impact leaders. 

When our country faced catastrophic teacher shortages and saw tragic in-classroom performance for millions of our nation’s children, the smartest, most idealistic college graduates were being heavily recruited with lavish financial packages and structured leadership development programs at top financial and consulting firms.  There was no support structure for these talented college graduates to make a positive impact in the classroom while developing the leadership skills they wanted, until Wendy Kopp and Teach for America.

Using a well refined applicant assessment model and a rigorous new teacher training program, TFA has steered thousands of our country’s most talented young people into the classroom to support millions of our country’s most precious assets: our children. TFA corps-led classrooms have demonstrated a meaningful improvement in student performance with 5 out of 6 corps members staying in education after their 2 year commitment as teachers, principals, or superintendents or continue in the social impact sector. TFA has created an entire generation working to improve educational inequality worldwide.

One core principle of TFA is that any child regardless of their background is capable of high achievement with the right support structure. Teach for All takes the principles that made Teach for America effective and adapts them to the unique cultures of countries around the world, generating similar, measurable positive results.

TFA simultaneously recruits on college campuses to meet the demand for more teachers in our lowest performing classrooms while growing the global pool of passionate education systems change leaders.

Wendy’s work inspires Service Academy’s Ryan and Thomas to create systems that enable scaling — ideas that can be templated, shared and applied locally. Ryan and Thomas are applying the TFA model that focuses on the most engaged students in their community to help advocate for better, more meaningful service opportunities — ones that will allow students to develop the systems change leadership skills they want while making a positive impact in their communities.


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Service Academy is a youth-led social impact organization committed to elevating the social value of youth service and co-creating youth service activities that map to the life skills that young people value.

WITH SPECIAL THANKS — The Service Academy Podcast is created and produced in coordination with MCS Media, executive producers Donny Dykowsky, Dan Strong, Aaron Kheifets, and Mike Bulger.