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Teach for America founder to address aspiring school principals in Rice training program

Wendy Kopp to speak to local educators through REEP

By Jessica Stark
Rice News staff

Wendy KoppWendy Kopp, the founder and CEO of Teach for America, will speak to aspiring K-12 school leaders in the Rice Education Entrepreneurship Program (REEP) at 4 p.m. March 4 at Rice University. More than 350 local educators will attend the event, which is open to the Rice community, including those involved in the selective REEP program.

REEP combines a business school education with an intensive educational entrepreneurship curriculum. It aims to educate leaders of underserved schools by equipping them with knowledge, skills and resources to run schools and districts that close achievement gaps and propel more underserved students to complete postsecondary education.

A well-known innovator of K-12 education, Kopp will be speaking about her experience founding and growing Teach for America, the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates and professionals who commit to teach for at least two years in urban and rural public schools and who become leaders in the effort to expand educational opportunity.

Kopp proposed the creation of Teach For America in her undergraduate senior thesis in 1989 and has spent the last 19 years working to sustain and grow the organization. In the 2008-09 school year, more than 6,200 corps members are teaching in the nation's neediest communities, reaching approximately 400,000 students.

The talk, which will be in McNair Hall's Shell Auditorium, is part of REEP's Thought Leadership Series, which brings nationally recognized leaders on education entrepreneurship to Rice to interact with REEP students and explore important questions, ideas and issues in the field. Aspiring school leaders from the Houston Independent School District, YES Prep Public Schools and KIPP Charter Schools are part of REEP's inaugural class.

Now in their second semester, REEP participants are going through much of the same training as many future CEOs. The experience poises them to become some of the top leaders of schools nationwide. All participants are part of the Rice MBA for Professionals program, which features 100 percent tuition reimbursement for graduates who serve in leadership roles in underserved public schools in the Greater Houston area, or the Rice Advanced Management Program, an executive management certificate program.

The launch of REEP was funded in part by a $7.2 million grant awarded by Houston Endowment Inc. REEP is also partnered with Teach for America and Houston A+ Challenge. More information is available at http://reep.rice.edu.