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Wendy Koop

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Wendy Kopp is the founder and CEO of Teach for America. Teach for America is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to reduce or eliminate the educational inequity in the United States. Educational inequity could be describes as the lack of equal opportunities that individuals have as a result of differences in quality education. Wendy Kopp has been recognized as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People and has received numerous honorary degrees and awards for public service. (Teach for All) She is the author of A Chance to Make History: What Works and What Doesn’t in Providing an Excellent Education for All, and One Day, All Children: The Unlikely Triumph of Teach For America and What I Learned Along the Way. Wendy Kopp also serves as the chief executive of Teach for All, which supports the development of Teach for America’s model in other countries. Wendy Kopp shows all characteristics of an entrepreneurial leader: cognitive ambidexterity with her creation of Teach for America, self-awareness and context awareness with knowing her desire to meet a need in society, social, environmental, and economic responsible (SEERS) helping to make educational change. Wendy Kopp is also shows characteristics of an Ethical entrepreneur by increased happiness and reduced suffering.
Wendy Kopp shows cognitive ambidexterity in her creation of her organization Teach for America, by showing both the creation and prediction aspects of cognitive ambidexterity. For individuals to be cognitively ambidextrous they must have the ability to shift between creation and prediction approach. They must know when to take action, even when all the variables are unknown. Individuals must be able to look beyond the financial statements and create social, environmental and economic value. Wendy Kopp founded Teach for America in her 1989 Princeton University undergraduate thesis. Following graduation, Wendy worked to make the idea come to life. Wendy had many obstacles to overcome including attaining individuals to not only finance the project, but to find individuals who were willing and committed to move to low income communities and teach for two years, and schools had to be found who wanted to participate in the program. Almost two decades later, Teach for America continues to change education in low-income communities across the country. There are nearly 10,000 new corps members each year that reach over 750,000 of the greatest need students. (Makers, 2014) Corps members receive many benefits of participation in Teach for America. Not only do they receive salary, they may be available for benefits including federal loan forbearance, interest accrual payments, and education awards.
Wendy Kopp shows characteristics of being both self-aware, and context aware. This is shown in the book One day, all children …. The book about Wendy challenges of creating her organization and the lessons learned along the way. In the book Wendy talks about her time while attending Princeton University. Wendy became aware of student’s unequal access to the kind of educational excellence that she had while growing up. Wendy talks about how she didn't believe it was fair that where you were born would play a role in determining your educational prospects. In order for individuals to be self and context aware they need to have a deep awareness of how the decisions they make are impacted by who they are, what their values are, their biases, backgrounds, and abilities, as well as the social and traditional context in which they operate in. Wendy Kopp is very conscious about her own character and feelings about herself, and found a need in society that she wanted to fix.
Wendy Kopp shows that she is social, environmental, and economically responsible (SEERS) through her organization Teach for America. “Teach for America has proven to be an unparalleled source of long-term leadership for educational change.” (Teach for All) Wendy Kopp has made through her organization educational change sustainable. In an interview by Times Magazine Wendy Kopp stated
“We have 20,000 Teach for America alumni today, and 65% of them are working full-time in education. So this experience is clearly transforming their career trajectories. At the same time, we know that some of them have to take the perspective they gain and go into law or journalism to create policies that will make it easier to effect change.”
According to the Principles of Entrepreneurial Leadership found in Entrepreneurial Leadership entrepreneurial leaders must be able to learn to engage social, environmental, and economic value creation simultaneously rather than sequentially. Wendy Kopp has proven that she is social, environmental, and economically responsible through Teach for America with providing teachers in high need areas, changing the lives of not only the student and their family, but of all the corps members by reducing educational inequity, and providing perspective to individuals who will create policies that will effect change.
There are four ethical views for entrepreneurs: Moral rights view, Justice view, Individualism view, and Utilitarian view. Moral rights view is respects and protects the fundamental rights of all individuals. Justice view promotes fair and impartial treatment of people according to legal rules and standards. Individualism view promotes independence, self-reliance, and an individual’s rights to pursuit their goals and desires. Wendy shows a characteristic of Utilitarian view which is the proper action is what maximizes utility or increased happiness and reduced suffering. Utilitarian view is what would deliver the greatest amount of good to the greatest number of people. Wendy shows characteristics of Utilitarian view by reaching students in high need areas for education and reducing the educational inequity in less developed areas. Wendy is providing the greatest amount of good to the greatest number of individuals. Wendy Kopp through her organizations Teach for America, and Teach for All shows that she is an Entrepreneurial leader showing characteristics of cognitive ambidexterity with the creation of Teach for America and Teach for All, self-awareness and context awareness with knowing her desire to meet a need in society, educational inequity; social, environmental, and economic responsible (SEERS) helping to make educational change in the United States. Wendy Kopp is also shows that she is an Ethical entrepreneur by increased happiness and reduced suffering throughout the world, by her goal of eliminating educational inequity.


10 Questions for Wendy Kopp. (2011). Time.

Greenberg, Danna. & McKone-Sweet, Kate. & Wilson, James H. (2011). The New Entrepreneurial Leader: Developing Leaders Who Shape Social & Economic Opportunity. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Koop, Wendy. (2001). One day, all children…. Public Affairs.
Makers. (2014). Wendy Kopp Founder & CEO, Teach for America. Accessed date October 25, 2014. Makers. Accessed from

Teach for America. (2014). Accessed on October 25, 2014. Accessed from

Teach for All .(2014) . Accessed on October 29, 2014. Access from

Times Magazine. (2013). Accessed on October 29, 2014. Accessed from…...

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