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Dr. Leigh Parise

Co-Founder, Classroom Champions

Leigh Parise holds a Ph.D. in Educational and Social Policy from Northwestern University, with a specific focus on teacher quality and professional development. Having earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s in Teaching from Pace University, she has spent more than ten years teaching and researching educational policy, teacher professional development, and school leadership in public school systems.  Prior to that, she was a public school teacher in New York City. 

Together with her brother Steve, Leigh co-founded Classroom Champions in 2009 with the goal of inspiring kids and helping them realize their potential by pairing Olympic and Paralympic Athlete Mentors with teachers and students. Sitting on both the U.S. and Canada Boards of Directors, as Head of Education at Classroom Champions Leigh helps guide the team’s education planning and priorities. In addition, Leigh is a mixed-methods Research Associate at MDRC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan education and social policy research organization focused on improving the lives of low-income individuals, families, and children. Her work at MDRC has led her to working with the Gates Foundation and school districts across the U.S. analyzing the effectiveness of programs and policies for various ages and populations.