Alyson Goodner and her graduating classmate, Sebastian Stoddart are the founders of teacherplanit, a collaboration solution for schools where teachers share information with administrators, teachers and students. Utilising a personalized knowledge management system model, teacherplanit is a simple, sustainable and free online solution that increases teacher quality, fosters school community and ultimately enhances student performance. Teacherplanit was a finalist in the Saïd Business School 2008 Venture Capitalist Competition (the only social enterprise in the top ten) and a finalist in Idea Idol, 2009 and winner of Ideas to Market, 2009.
Alyson grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After graduating from Princeton University in 2000 with a major in Art History and certificates in African American Studies and Spanish, she worked for Gap, Inc. in San Francisco, managing international production and working on global compliance. In 2002 she joined Teach For America in California, teaching whilst gaining her teaching certification and Masters in education. She subsequently joined TFA in Philadelphia as High School Program Director and was a summer school principal at Clemente Middle School and Managing Director of District Strategy with the Philadelphia School District.
“At 29 years old, with seven years of work experience (five of which were focused on education reform) I knew I would bring a unique experience to the table at Saïd,” says Alyson. “In return I would be exposed to an incredible group of individuals who would help me develop as a thinker and ultimately return to have a larger impact on education.”
Alyson was drawn to Oxford for its far-reaching influence and diverse student body. Her fellow classmates were, and still are, her biggest inspiration. “We endlessly shared experiences from our own communities, gained new insights on our ideas for change-making ventures and established lifelong friendships that come with critical feedback and essential words of encouragement.” Teacherplanit was the brainchild of Alyson’s EP (Entrepreneurial Project) group. The company was launched in April 2009.
Alyson believes that the MBA helped her create a working business model, develop a cohesive and comprehension vision, critically think through operations, design an effective investor strategy and measure social return on investment. But perhaps the most valuable outcome was the confidence it gave her. “When starting a new initiative, especially one in a space that few understand well (social enterprise), there will be intense moments of doubt and frustration,” says Alyson. “It is in these moments that Oxford has taught us the best lessons: positive outlook and persistence.”