2009
Feinberg + Levin
Co-Founders
Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP)
www.kipp.org

Jewish Values

“We’re taught that ‘The world itself rests upon the breath of the children in our schools’ (Mishna Sanhedrin 4:5). Our goal is to put that value into action by helping children learn how to be successful in school—and in life.”

Global Impact

The Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) aims to transform the face of public education for underserved children by building tuition-free, college-preparatory schools, and it has achieved outstanding results nationwide.

 

KIPP’s proven track record of preparing students for long-term academic and life success is based on its strong philosophy of accepting students regardless of their prior academic record, conduct, or socio-economic background. KIPP puts learning first by hiring outstanding educators, providing increased school hours, creating a strong culture of achievement, and building partnerships among parents, students, and teachers. Currently, there are 90,000 students in 209 KIPP schools throughout 20 states and the District of Columbia with over, 81 percent of KIPP alumni going on to college where their college completion rate is 500 percent greater than the national average despite 87 percent of KIPP students coming from low-income backgrounds. KIPP has helped educators start KIPP-inspired schools in Chile, India, Indonesia, Israel, Mexico, and South Africa.

Biography

Mike Feinberg

Mike Feinberg’s extraordinary vision and unyielding resolve have transformed the lives of students in under-resourced communities throughout the U.S. As Co-Founder of the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) Foundation and Executive Vice-Chair of KIPP Houston, Feinberg has challenged public education expectations and practices and demonstrated how to improve outcomes.

 

Along with Co-Founder David Levin, he has built KIPP into a network of 200 high-performing public schools in 20 states and the District of Columbia, collectively serving 80,000 children from kindergarten through grade 12.

 

Underscoring KIPP’s success, and the promise envisioned, more than 90 percent of the network’s middle school students have graduated from college, and a vast majority — 81 percent — of KIPP alumni have gone on to college and university study. This is a considerable accomplishment considering that nearly 84 percent of students are from low-income families and 95 percent are African American or Latino.

 

Feinberg and Levin have also helped to export the KIPP model and help educators start KIPP-inspired schools in Chile, India, Indonesia, Israel, Mexico, and South Africa.

 

In addition to serving as a model in the education field, KIPP has been widely recognized as a standard-bearer for effectively scaling social change. In 2004, Feinberg was named an Ashoka Fellow, an honor awarded to leading social entrepreneurs with innovative solutions and the potential to change patterns across society.

 

Fenberg and Levin’s work has earned them extraordinary honors across the spectrum of educational, social and humanitarian citations. These include: the Thomas B. Fordham Prize for Valor, the National Jefferson Award for Distinguished Public Service by a Private Citizen, the Manhattan Institute’s William E. Simon Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Social Entrepreneurship, the Guardian of the Human Spirit Award of the Holocaust Museum Houston, the National Community Serve Award from Spelman College, the Brock Prize, the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education, and the Presidential Citizen’s Medal, the country’s second-highest presidential award given to a private citizen.

 

The Washington Post reporter Jay Matthews profiled their efforts and successes in his 2009 bestseller Work Hard. Be Nice: How Two Inspired Teachers Created America’s Most Promising School. Additionally, KIPP’s ground-breaking work on character development is featured in Paul Tough’s book How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character. The two have been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS’s 60 Minutes, ABC’s World News Tonight, and in The New York TimesHouston Chronicle, and The Washington Post. In 2008, U.S. News and World Report included them in its “America’s Best Leaders” list.

 

Feinberg received a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1991 and a master’s of Education from National-Louis University in 2005. He received an honorary doctorate of Humane Letters from Yale University and from Duke University in 2015.  He is a member of the Society of Fellows of the University of Houston’s Honors College. He supports KIPP regions and global development for the KIPP Foundation and continues a board leadership role at KIPP Houston. He lives with his family in Houston, Texas.

 

David Levin

After graduating from Yale University, David Levin joined Teach For America where he taught fifth grade in Houston, Texas, for three years. In 1994, he co-founded the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) with Mike Feinberg, and the next year went on to found KIPP Academy in the South Bronx. Levin served as Superintendent of KIPP NYC until 2012. He now leads the KIPP Teaching and Learning Labs team at the KIPP Foundation while continuing in a board leadership role at KIPP NYC where he works with KIPP leaders on instructional innovation, leadership development, and teacher training.

 

Along with Co-Founder Mike Feinberg, Levin has built KIPP into a network of 200 high-performing public schools in 20 states and the District of Columbia, collectively serving 80,000 children from kindergarten through grade 12.

 

Underscoring KIPP’s success, more than 90 percent of the network’s middle school students have graduated from college, and a vast majority — 81 percent — of KIPP alumni have gone on to college and university study. This is a considerable accomplishment considering that nearly 84 percent of students are from low-income families and 95 percent are African American or Latino.

 

In addition to serving as a model in the education field, KIPP has been widely recognized as a standard-bearer for effectively scaling social change. Feinberg and Levin have also helped to export the KIPP model and to assist educators in opening KIPP-inspired schools in Chile, India, Indonesia, Israel, Mexico, and South Africa.

 

In 2004, Levin was named an Ashoka Fellow, an honor awarded to leading social entrepreneurs with innovative solutions and the potential to change patterns across society. He has also been awarded the Robin Hood Foundation’s John F. Kennedy, Jr. Hero Award.

 

Levin and Feinberg are the recipients of the Thomas B. Fordham Prize for Valor, the National Jefferson Award for Distinguished Public Service by a Private Citizen, the Manhattan Institute’s William E. Simon Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Social Entrepreneurship, the Guardian of the Human Spirit Award of the Holocaust Museum Houston, the National Community Serve Award from Spelman College, the Brock Prize, the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education, and the Presidential Citizen’s Medal, the country’s second-highest presidential award given to a private citizen.

 

Levin and Feinberg’s work is the subject of the 2009 bestseller by Jay Matthews, Work Hard, Be Nice: How Two Inspired Teachers Created America’s Most Promising Schools. Additionally, KIPP’s ground-breaking work on character development is featured in Paul Tough’s book How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and The Hidden Power of Character.  The two have been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS’s 60 Minutes, ABC’s World News Tonight, and in The New York TimesHouston Chronicle, and The Washington Post. In 2008, U.S. News and World Report included them in its “America’s Best Leaders” list.

 

Levin has also co-founded three organizations: Relay Graduate School of Education, the Character Lab, and Zearn. He lives in New York City with his family.

AWARD PRESENTATION

The Powerhouse, American Museum of Natural History | New York. See below for photo highlights from the evening.