The Norman Transcript


July 12, 2014

OU grad leads veterans teaching initiative



Although working for Teach For America may be a challenge, Ellington said it is one veterans will succeed at.

“Veterans have already met similar challenges in the military,” he said. “And those in the military have a sense of service. They join the military to serve and with Teach For America, they can continue to do that.

“One of the biggest problems in America is education inequality. Pulling a student back from the brink of dropping out and watching them graduate is very very personally satisfying.”

On active duty from 1985 through 2005, Ellington deployed throughout the Western Pacific and Middle East in roles ranging from SEAL Team Platoon Commander to Commanding Officer-Naval Operations Support Center. Upon retirement he earned his PhD in public policy, concentrating in military counterinsurgency, from OU, where he remained for four additional years teaching political science courses.

After joining TFA and working in New Orleans, Ellington transitioned to work for the Louisiana Recovery School District, where through his work as program manager for their Truancy Improvement Initiative he helped imagine and execute the Youth Opportunity Center of New Orleans, which will open its doors this August.

Teach For America was founded by Wendy Kopp, who recently spoke at OU’s May commencement, on the concept of the Peace Corps. Since its beginning, Teach For America’s nearly 38,000 participants have reached more than 3 million children nationwide during their two-year teaching commitments in the nation’s highest need urban and rural schools.

For more information about Teach For America, visit

Katherine Parker


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