Wendy Kopp (2004)

Read the New Frontier Award® announcement


While still an undergraduate at Princeton University, Wendy Kopp outlined her idea for Teach for America in her college thesis. Frustrated by the poor quality of America’s public school system, Ms. Kopp decided to create a national corps of energetic young teachers by using funds from corporate sponsors to recruit top college graduates to teach in the nations’ most desperate school districts. Since 1990, more than 12,000 exceptional individuals have joined Teach For America, committing two years to teach in low-income rural and urban communities. Teach For America now has 22 regional sites across the country.Wendy Kopp continues to serve as CEO of the organization she founded in college, and she continues to fight for a more effective education system in the United States. Wendy Kopp was honored with the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award for elevating the debate about public education in the United States, and for showing young Americans how they can change lives through their own public service.