About Mike

Dr. Mike Feinberg is Co-Founder of the KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) Foundation and Executive Vice Chair of KIPP Houston, which includes 26 public charter schools:  10 primary schools, 12 middle schools, and 4 high schools serving nearly 14,000 children. To date, 90% of the KIPPsters who have left the KIPP Houston middle schools have gone on to college, and 51% of those former middle school KIPPsters have graduated from college (compared with a national college graduation rate for low income children of 8%).

Mike received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania in 1991 and a Masters of Education from National-Louis University in 2005. He received an honorary doctorate of Humane Letters from Yale University in 2010 and from Duke University in 2015. Also in 2015, Mike was awarded the National Community Serve Award from Spelman College. He is a member of the Society of Fellows of the University of Houston’s Honors College. After graduating from Penn, Mike joined Teach For America and taught bilingual fifth grade in Houston, Texas.

In 1994, he co-founded KIPP with Dave Levin and established KIPP Academy Houston a year later.  In 2000, he co-founded the KIPP Foundation to help take KIPP to scale.  Today, KIPP is a network of 200 high-performing public schools around the nation serving 80,000 children, with 10,000+ alumni in college. In 2004, Dr. Feinberg was named an Ashoka Fellow, awarded to leading social entrepreneurs with innovative solutions and the potential to change patterns across society. In 2005, Mike was the commencement speaker for the University of Pennsylvania College of Arts and Sciences. Also in 2005, he led the effort to start a public K-8 school in Houston for Hurricane Katrina evacuees from New Orleans. The school, NOW College Prep (New Orleans West), opened in 10 days. In 2006, Drs. Feinberg and Levin were awarded The Thomas B. Fordham Prize for Excellence in Education, and the National Jefferson Award for Greatest Public Service by a Private Citizen. In 2008, Mike and Dave were named to the list of “America’s Best Leaders” by U.S. News & World Report and received the Presidential Citizens Medal in the Oval Office of the White House.  In 2009, they were the recipients of the Charles Bronfman Prize as well as the Manhattan Institute’s William E. Simon prize for Lifetime Achievement in Social Entrepreneurship. In 2011, they were awarded the Guardian of the Human Spirit award by the Holocaust Museum Houston given to dedicated Houstonians who have worked to enhance the lives of others and to better humankind. In 2012, they won they Brock Prize and in 2013, they were recipients of the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education. In 2014, they were named one of the Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneurs of the Year for their work in the US as well as supporting the start of similar schools in other countries via The One World Network of Schools, incubated by KIPP Foundation. Mike and Dave’s efforts became the story told by Washington Post reporter, Jay Mathews, in his book “Work hard. Be nice.”

KIPP has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS 60 Minutes, ABC World News Tonight, and in The New York Times, Houston Chronicle, Washington Post, and more.  Mike is married to Colleen Dippel, and they have two children:  Gus, age 11, and Abadit, age 6, who they adopted from Ethiopia in 2011.

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