Through Bain Capital's collaboration with New Profit, a venture philanthropy organization in Boston, David Spiller, Senior Vice President, Bain Capital Private Equity, recently joined the board of New Teacher Center (NTC). NTC trains nearly 10% of all new teachers in America and has shown some outstanding results in raising student achievement in underserved schools.
Shruti Sehra, a New Profit Managing Partner who serves alongside David on NTC's board, said, "David has been a fantastic addition to the New Teacher Center board. He has an obvious passion for education and the organization's work, and he has applied his business-building skills to help make us stronger in so many ways. And he's been with us less than a year!"
New Profit recently talked to David about his experience, what drove him to pursue the opportunity, and the advice he would give to others who are interested in getting more involved with New Profit's portfolio organizations or with Bain Capital Community Partnership.
What led you to decide to get more involved in education reform, and how did you get connected to the opportunity to serve on NTC's board?
DS: I have long had an interest in the educational system because I have a number of teachers in my family. My daughter also reached school age recently and that led me to think a lot about it. Many of us are really privileged to be able to send our kids to great schools, and I had an urge to get involved to make that opportunity available to less fortunate kids as well. As I started to look around for board opportunities, I reached out to Kim McCaslin, Managing Director, Bain Capital Private Equity, about connecting with New Profit. Sam Hiersteiner and Shruti Sehra at New Profit made the match with NTC and it seemed like a great fit all around.
What inspires you most about the work that NTC does to train teachers and change the education system?
I am inspired by a number of things about NTC. First and foremost is Ellen Moir, the founder and CEO. Ellen is a remarkable visionary and leader and the success she has had in growing NTC over 20 years is truly impressive. I am also inspired by the reach and measurable impact of NTC's work. They train nearly 10% of all new teachers in America, and a recent evaluation study showed that students benefit powerfully from the model. The nature of the work, because it leverages teachers, is able to scale and impact many more students than otherwise would be feasible. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to meet many of the NTC staff members and have been universally impressed with their dedication to the organization's mission as well as their focus on evolving NTC to remain relevant.
What is the biggest lesson you've learned about education during your time on the NTC board?
I don't think I fully appreciated how many stakeholders are involved in decision-making at all levels of the educational system. It goes to show how leaders in social change need to think beyond just programming to engaging policymakers, community leaders, teachers, and students themselves if they want to change the overall system.
How are you applying the skills you have honed at Bain Capital to the complex work of social problem solving and education reform?
Because the NTC board has a mix of people with experience in education, philanthropy, and the private sector, I try to really focus my energy in areas where I have specific relevant experience. For example, I have volunteered to help lead an important executive search process for the organization, which is something I have done at a number of my portfolio companies. Similarly, I have gotten involved in the board technology committee, helping develop the strategy for a more technology-driven NTC business model. We have capability building expertise that is not always available to nonprofits, so it feels good to be able to apply it in a valuable way.
What's your message for other Bain Capital employees who are also interested in getting more immersed in social problem solving?
I have had an extremely rewarding experience at NTC and highly recommend seizing this type of opportunity, either through reaching out to New Profit, which supports more than 40 organizations in various issue areas, or other partners. I have really enjoyed applying my skillset to a very different set of problems, and I think my experience has been a real value add to the NTC team.