Founder: Ted Sizer

Founder of the Coalition of Essential Schools, Ted Sizer was one of the 20th century’s leading educational visionaries and reformers.

Sizer received his B.A. from Yale and his doctorate from Harvard. After a career that included U.S. Army service, classroom teaching, serving as the Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and leading Phillips Academy Andover as its Headmaster, Ted Sizer came to Brown University as chair of its education department. There, in 1984, Ted founded the Coalition of Essential Schools to bring together examples of the radical school restructuring that was the focus of Horace’s Compromise, his work about the state of American high schools. Ted served as executive director of the Coalition of Essential Schools until 1996; during that time, he also established and led the Annenberg Institute for School Reform. He retired from Brown as Professor Emeritus in 1996, returning to Massachusetts to accept an appointment as Visiting Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he taught, along with Nancy, until very recently. In 1994, Ted and Nancy helped to found the Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School, in Devens, Massachusetts, where they served as trustees, and for one year as co-principals. With Nancy and other educators, Ted also co-founded the Forum for Education and Democracy. Until his death in 2009, Ted remained an active part of many of the institutions of which he was affiliated and organizations that he founded, including CES, of which he was Chairman Emeritus.