Shaheen Mistri is the CEO of Teach For India, and serves as one of its founding board members. She has earned global recognition for her dedication and commitment to the fight for educational equity.
Born in Mumbai, Shaheen lived in 13 different countries while growing up. At the age of 18 she returned to Mumbai, where she soon realized that children living in the city’s slums lack access to quality education and are deprived of the skills necessary to compete in India’s formal, competitive job market. She founded the first Akanksha Center in 1989, enrolling 15 children and employing college friends as volunteers. The center eventually evolved into the Akanksha Foundation, a non-profit education project that provides after-school tutoring to children from low-income communities. Over the past 25 years, the Akanksha Foundation has expanded from serving 15 children in one center to almost 4,500 children in 51 centers and 16 schools in Mumbai and Pune.
As the recognition of Akanksha’s work grew, Shaheen saw an opportunity to expand her reach even further and work for more transformative changes when she met Wendy Kopp, the founder of Teach For America. Along with five colleagues, Shaheen launched Teach For India in 2008. Since then, the organization has recruited, trained, and placed nearly 1700 Fellows in schools across seven cities. More than 1200 Teach For India alumni are now working to realize the organization’s mission from within and outside of education.
Shaheen is an Ashoka Fellow (2001), a Global Leader for Tomorrow at the World Economic Forum (2002), and an Asia Society 21 Leader (2006). Shaheen also serves on the boards of Ummeed, The Thermax Social Initiatives Foundation, The Akanksha Foundation, The Indian School Leaders Institute, and Design For Change, and is an advisor to the Latika Roy Foundation. She also serves as a committee member for the National Council for Teacher Education. Shaheen has a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Manchester, England.