August 28, 2018

Howard Brown’s journey from Wall Street to a high school classroom

This summer, Howard Brown left Management in Education, one of his first classes in Penn GSE’s Education Entrepreneurship master’s program, inspired—and not just because he was learning about collaboration and group dynamics.

Howard Brown, left, works on a team project at an Education Entrepreneurship class this summer. Brown says the collaborative work inspired him to rethink how he runs some of his classes.

Brown saw how he could use the class’s collaborative model when he teaches marketing and business administration to juniors and seniors at Philadelphia’s Northeast High School.

This is Brown’s second year as a teacher. The Philadelphia Inquirer recently documented the 36-year-old’s journey from a lucrative career on Wall Street to his role as one of only 19 Black male teachers at one of the city’s largest, and predominantly Black, high schools.

Brown told the Inquirer that he enjoyed working as a banker, but always felt he had something more to give back. He recounted the story Monday, the first day for Philadelphia’s public schools. “It was awesome getting back to see the kids,” Brown said. “Not a lot of homework, but it was a good day.”

Brown enrolled in Penn GSE’s Education Entrepreneurship program so he could get a more global view of the education system and how it operates. The one-year program for working professionals is designed to give students the skills necessary to conceptualize, develop, manage, and scale 21st century education innovations.

“I’ve worked on Wall Street, I’ve run my own business, I’m a teacher, I’m an entrepreneur — this program brings that all together,” Brown said.

In addition to teaching, Brown continues to be involved with Philadelphia nonprofits. Through the Education Entrepreneurship program, he also hopes to find better ways for nonprofits and the district to partner.

“Just the opportunity to come back to my hometown, get to pursue my passion, and be in this program, it’s like having my cake with ice cream,” Brown said.

Read the Philadelphia Inquirer’s full profile of Howard Brown here.