Betty Dao’s career path took an unexpected turn after attending a Teach for America informational session in Maryland. Already employed full-time as a marketing manager, she decided to quit her job, joining TFA as an elementary school teacher in Baltimore. As the second in her family to graduate from college, she found special meaning in what became her second career.
“My parents never went to college,” Dao says. “For me, the bigger purpose was getting into education for kids similar to me, to make sure they have the same opportunities as I had.”
From Baltimore, Dao went to work in the District of Columbia Public Schools, serving as an instructional coach at a K-6 school as the city implemented its IMPACT evaluation system. She later served as a resident principal at a Massachusetts elementary school while getting her masters in school leadership at Harvard University, and then went to Achievement First, where she served as principal-in-residence at an elementary school in New York. Realizing the needs of emerging school leaders like herself, Dao co-founded the non-profit Consortium of Education Leadership Learning (CELL), a group of school leaders committed to providing each other with targeted support and professional development.
Reflection led Dao to SchoolWorks, where she’s excited by the opportunity to continue helping school leaders find solutions. “I like to go into challenging environments and create structures and systems that truly support student achievement,” she says.