Boston, MA—Michelle Boyers, chair of the Teach Plus Board of Directors, today announced that Roberto J. Rodríguez, who served in the White House as Deputy Assistant to President Barack Obama for Education, has been selected by the Board to assume the role of President and CEO.
“The Teach Plus Board and leadership team are excited to work with Roberto to grow the size, focus, and strength of the teacher leadership movement,” said Boyers. “As Senator Kennedy’s chief counsel for education and President Obama’s chief education advisor, Roberto brings extensive experience and expertise in education policy and strategy to the helm of Teach Plus. With his leadership, Teach Plus will continue to scale its impact by empowering teachers to advocate for effective policies and practices that they are passionate about and that impact our country’s most vulnerable students.”
Rodríguez has served in senior roles in the United States Senate and in the White House. From 2009 to 2017, he developed and led President Obama’s “cradle-through-career” national education agenda to improve opportunities and outcomes for learners across the educational continuum. His efforts led to an increase of tens of thousands of additional children enrolled in early learning programs; new partnerships to better personalize and re-design the high school experience for students; creation of a new, national focus on excellence in STEM education; and an expansion of the Pell Grant to boost participation in higher education. His support for higher academic standards, enhanced teacher development and advancement, and deeper investment in America’s schools ultimately led to the enactment by Congress of the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015.
"As the son of educators, I developed an early admiration and respect for the transformative effect that teachers have in the lives of their students. Empowering teacher voice and elevating the teaching profession have always been in my DNA,” said Rodríguez. “Teach Plus has been at the forefront of developing and advancing teachers as leaders at every level, and I couldn’t be more excited to expand the mission of the organization. I look forward to charting a course that places the best ideas and contributions of teachers at the vanguard of the movement for a more equitable and excellent education for all students.”
Prior to his service in the White House, Rodríguez spent eight years as principal education advisor to the late U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy, marshalling successful bipartisan efforts that resulted in the enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and the Individuals with Disabilities Act of 2004. Rodríguez began his career in Washington D.C. at the National Council of La Raza, where he directed the research and policy analysis of federal and state education issues.
George Miller, former U.S. Representative from California and Teach Plus Board member, said: “When I served in Congress and worked closely with Senator Kennedy and President Obama, I always found Roberto to be a staffer who respected the expertise and insights of teachers. He is committed to helping underserved children—the ultimate goal of Teach Plus' teacher leadership programs—and it is going to be great to work with him again in my role on the Teach Plus board."
“Throughout his career, Roberto has embraced the simple, yet powerful idea that teachers should be valued both as experts in education and as leaders who inform the development of policies that affect the work educators do each day with students in classrooms,” stated John B. King, Jr., former U.S. Secretary of Education and President and CEO of The Education Trust. “Roberto will advance this notion through his new role at Teach Plus, helping to support the next generation of Teach Plus teachers who are inspired and equipped to lead school- and system-level change to ensure our nation’s most vulnerable children thrive.”
Teach Plus runs Teaching Policy Fellowships for teachers in nine regions, including California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Texas. Through the Fellowship, highly effective teachers learn to develop their voice in policy and work to shape and advocate for policies that meet the needs of their students and the teaching profession. Teach Plus’ Teacher-Led Professional Learning (TLPL) programs empower excellent teachers to help others improve. In California, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Tennessee, Teach Plus works with schools, districts and across regions to structure professional development that allows great teachers to spread their expertise beyond their own classrooms.
Rodríguez succeeds CEO Celine Coggins and President Monique Burns Thompson, who are stepping down after ten years since founding Teach Plus. “Celine and Monique grew Teach Plus into the catalyst for a movement around teacher leadership that now has touched school districts and state houses nationwide,” said Boyers. “Their contributions to this organization cannot be overstated. On behalf of Teach Plus’ staff, the Board, and Teach Plus teacher leaders, I thank Celine and Monique for their vision and leadership in empowering teachers to change the conversation about their profession.”
“Roberto has been a long-time supporter of our mission, creating meaningful opportunities for teachers to have a voice in policy during his time in the White House. His experience and perspective make him exactly the right leader to take Teach Plus to new levels. I’m confident that together with our talented and committed team, he’ll lead the organization successfully into its next chapter,” said Coggins.
Rodríguez is a graduate of the University of Michigan and of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He lives with his wife and two children in Washington, D.C. He begins his post at Teach Plus on September 5.
About Teach Plus
Teach Plus empowers excellent, experienced teachers to take leadership over key policy and practice issues that affect their students’ success. Teach Plus programs are designed to place highly effective teachers at the center of improvements in schools as leaders of their peers and outside schools influencing policy decisions that affect their classrooms. The programs develop excellent teachers into leaders who achieve change and mobilize others in their school, district, state, and across the nation to bring change to scale. Since its inception in August 2007, Teach Plus has grown to a network of more than 26,000 solutions-oriented teachers across the country. www.teachplus.org