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Birmingham City University to honour Teach First founder

Brett Wigdorz will be celebrated by the university with an honourary doctorate

Posted by Charley Rogers | July 28, 2017 | People

The founder and CEO of Teach First, Brett Wigdortz, will receive an honorary doctoral degree from Birmingham City University.

Brett has led Teach First since its launch in July 2002. The charity aims to tackle educational inequality, providing training and support to create inspirational classroom leaders who help to change the lives of children living in low-income communities across the UK.

Originally from New Jersey, Brett completed his education in the United States, graduating with an Honours Bachelor degree in Economics from the University of Richmond and a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Hawaii.

After graduating Brett worked as a consultant, a journalist, and a researcher, before joining worldwide management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company.

Brett founded Teach First in 2002, and since that time the charity has recruited nearly 7,000 teachers and now partners with schools serving low-income communities in every region of England and Wales.

He is also Co-Founder and Trustee of Teach For All, a global network of independent social enterprises working to expand educational opportunities in their own countries. 

The University’s commitment to both our participants undertaking their teaching qualification and their support for disadvantaged pupils in the Midlands is truly inspirational. It’s therefore a huge privilege to become part of the university with this honorary doctorate.

Brett was awarded an OBE in the 2013 Queen’s New Year’s Honours list for Services to Education and has won numerous awards over the past 15 years. His book ‘Success Against the Odds’, a candid account of the first ten years of Teach First, was named WHSmith’s Business Book of the Month in 2012. 

He will step down as CEO of Teach First in the autumn of 2017 to take on the role of Honorary President.

Ahead of receiving his honorary award Brett said: “Since Teach First launched in the Midlands in 2007, we’ve worked alongside Birmingham City University to place over 1,000 graduates into schools serving low-income communities in the area. The University’s commitment to both our participants undertaking their teaching qualification and their support for disadvantaged pupils in the Midlands is truly inspirational. It’s therefore a huge privilege to become part of the university with this honorary doctorate.”

Brett will be handed his honorary doctorate by the university’s Chancellor, Sir Lenny Henry on Tuesday 25 July in a ceremony at Symphony Hall alongside students graduating from the Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences.

Also receiving honorary awards from Birmingham City University that week are Nigel Terrington, Chief Executive of the Paragon Group of Companies; Jamil Ahmed, Director of Facilities Management, Aston Martin Lagonda, and Andrew Pollard, Assistant Director at the Institute of Education, University College London.

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