Celine Coggins, Ph.D. is the new executive director of Grantmakers for Education (GFE). As founder of Teach Plus, a nonprofit with a mission to empower and advocate for teachers, Coggins has become a nationally-known figure in the education sector. She first started off as a teacher herself at a middle school in Worcester, Massachusetts. Wanting to have a wider impact, she then went on to become a special assistant to the Massachusetts Commissioner of Education to work on initiatives improving the state’s teaching force. Having already earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in educational research, Coggins moved to the West Coast to continue her education and earn a Ph.D. in education policy analysis from Stanford University. Returning to Massachusetts, she then took a job at Cambridge’s Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy. It was after this that she founded Teach Plus in 2007, going on to lead it for ten years as it expanded to a dozen states with over 30,000 teachers participating in its policy and practice programs.
Coggins is currently a lecturer at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and authored a book released in 2017 titled How to Be Heard: Ten Lessons Teachers Need to Advocate for Their Students and Profession, which has essentially become the go-to guide for impactful education activism. She has also authored more than two dozen journal articles and reports. Her education and experience has made her nationally-recognized expert in the field, having been interviewed by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Atlantic as well as appearing regularly in many other media outlets. She has also talked at the Philanthropy Round Table and on NBC’s Education Nation.
Ever-involved in improving education, Coggins is a National Council on Teacher Quality advisor, an Aspen Institute Education Fellow and a Mind Trust Education Entrepreneurship Fellow. “I am a deep believer in the exponential impact networks can have by galvanizing collective action,” said Coggins for GFE’s press release about her appointment. “At a moment when the federal government is taking a more limited approach to advancing a vision for education excellence and equity, philanthropic leaders have an important role to play in driving a national conversation on adequately funding schools, protecting high-need students and fostering innovation.” Celine Coggins assumes the responsibilities of her new role immediately, succeeding Ana Tilton who has served in this position for more than five years.
This report has been updated.