Teach for America founder Wendy Kopp will discuss her efforts to improve educational equality when she delivers the inaugural Ray and Nancy Loeschner Lecture on Leadership at 4 p.m. on April 17 in Leverone Hall at the Jacobs Center. Tickets for the free talk, presented by the School of Education and Social Policy, are available through Norris Center Box Office.
The Ray and Nancy Loeschner Lecture on Leadership has the goal of inspiring students to become leaders in their chosen fields of endeavor. The lecture series was established with a gift from SESP alumnus Ray Loeschner (MA57) of Grand Rapids, Michigan, the former president of Olivet University and leader in higher education who also received his PhD from Northwestern in 1962.
Kopp was selected to launch the lecture series because of her leadership and vision in addressing inequities in education. When Kopp was an undergraduate student at Princeton University, she got the idea for enlisting top college graduates to teach at K-12 schools in impoverished areas. She presented the idea for Teach for America in her senior thesis. Kopp was grateful for the high-quality education she had received and wanted students in all communities to have a high-quality education.
She founded Teach for America in 1990 to recruit a teacher corps of university graduates for underserved urban and rural public schools. Today she is CEO and co-founder of Teach for All, a global network of nonprofit organizations that extends the Teach for America model in other countries. She remains chair of the board of Teach for America.
SESP is sponsoring Kopp’s lecture as part of the Contemporary Thought lecture series at Northwestern University to provide broad outreach to the campus community.
The Ray and Nancy Loeschner Lecture on Leadership is intended to inspire students throughout the Northwestern community to higher levels of leadership. “Developing leadership in all walks of life is what Northwestern does best,” says Loeschner.
The lecture series grew out of a desire by Loeschner and his late wife to leave a lasting legacy at Northwestern in recognition of the opportunities the University provided him to grow his knowledge and skills. Speakers are selected for possessing qualities of integrity, imagination and vision and demonstrating outstanding character and leadership in their professional and community lives.
Kopp is an especially appropriate choice for Northwestern students because of the University’s track record with Teach for America. Northwestern was the top contributor of Teach for America teachers among medium-sized schools in 2012. Sixty-three members of the Class of 2012 joined the Teach for America corps, and throughout the organization’s history 479 Northwestern alumni have taught as corps members.