SheShinesOn…Monique Burns Thompson, Teach Plus


President of Teach Plus, co-leader with Celine Coggins

Previously served as Co-founder, President & Chief Curriculum Officer of New Leaders for New Schools

Serial entrepreneur, consultant, educator, and change-maker

Q: You have quite a depth and breadth of experience across sectors – where did you get your start?

I started my career in the business sector (Quaker Oat Co.) in marketing and brand management before moving to the education sector as a consultant for McKenzie Group, opening model middle schools in Washington, DC. My experience as a social entrepreneur, management and human capital consultant and reform-oriented district administrator have all been important to prepare me for my work at Teach Plus.

Q: What has surprised you most in working in the nonprofit/education sector?

I have been focused on the use of human capital as the key to turning around failing schools for most of my career in the education sector. This work started with New Leaders for New Schools and the training of high quality urban principals. What most surprised me about the work of developing teacher instructional leaders for turning around schools is how they take on this work in such an authentic, earnest and ego-less way. I have always been a believer in the power of an amazing teacher to change a student’s life; I am now equality as impressed with their ability to do this and grow the capacity of their peers at the same time.

Q: Do you have any kids of your own?

I have two amazing daughters. First, I won the step-daughter lottery with my 16-year-old Mikaela, who is a state champion diver, honors student, and responsible and loving big sister. Second, I have my firecracker six-year-old, Isabelle, who loves first grade, sparkly fashion, theater and dance, and in the winter is an accomplished black diamond skier. I work very, very, hard to keep up with the two of them!

Q: That’s quite a range in age, interests, and skills! What kinds of activities do you do as a family?

My family and I prefer physically active vacations. This summer has brought us to Hawaii to hike volcanoes, snorkel in coral reefs, tour Pearl Harbor, and learn how to surf. Aloha!

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