SheShinesOn…Celine Coggins, Teach Plus


Chief Executive Officer and Founder

Started Teach Plus as a pilot in Boston in December 2007 and launched as a national organization in 2009

Serial marathoner

Formerly a teacher in Worcester

Received her PhD from Stanford University

Q: What would the world be like without Teach Plus?

Teaching is typically work where excellence with students—far from being celebrated—is ignored. Great teachers, who want to know that their efforts are changing the world, tend to leave urban classrooms within their first few years. We’re changing that—offering the best teachers in urban systems opportunities to grow and lead from the classroom. As a result, they are extending their commitment to teaching, getting to work with top-performing peers, and building a culture that values success.

Q: What kind of training has best prepared you to launch and run Teach Plus?

I think doing marathons has been the best preparation for leading an organization that is trying to change the world. Both take endurance, optimism and clear goals.

Q: What did you have to learn to do in order to be able to do be a leader?

I’m a nerd at heart with an overriding passion for changing the teaching profession to better serve kids. I’ve had to learn—and keep learning every day—that our success depends on me being more extroverted and less humble than my natural comfort zone would allow.

Q: That sounds like a lot of work! How do you manage to take time for yourself?

I recently went to Nantucket for a few days to celebrate the last weekend of my thirties. I guess it wouldn’t count as a major vacation in terms of length or distance from home, but it was a perfect moment in time that represented the capstone on an amazing decade of my life.

Q: That sounds amazing! How else do you make sure to unwind?

Sunday is kids cooking night in our house. I few days ago, my elementary-school-aged girls led the process of making filet mignon with roasted potatoes and cucumber, tomato, and mango salad in a lime vinaigrette. To borrow a phrase from Master Chef, it was “restaurant quality”!

Posted in SheShinesOn.

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