Tiffany Cooper Gueye – uAspire First One Awards Boston

By: Chris Loney | Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tiffany Cooper Gueye

CEO, Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL)

Dr. Tiffany Cooper Gueye received both her undergraduate degree and Ph.D. from Boston College. She currently serves as the CEO of Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL).

While Tiffany’s single mother, who did not attend college, did not press the specific concept of college, she did emphasize achievement as the focus for her children. Tiffany entered the METCO program as a third grader, and endured a long commute daily from Dorchester to the Dover Sherborn schools. A neighbor child her same age was working just as hard as she in school, but it dawned on them that Tiffany was studying at a much more rigorous level at METCO. Experiencing that gap motivated Dr. Gueye toward her career in education.  While in many ways entering Dover Sherborn as a youngster made many parts of the eventual transition to college run smoothly, she did remember the occasional racist encounter.

Eventually, Tiffany enrolled at Boston College where she excelled academically, eventually earning her Ph.D. Through her studies, work and life experiences, Dr. Gueye believes high expectations should be held for all children and that all are capable of attending college. Dr. Gueye’s college education has “served as an inspiration to her family. All her siblings received college educations and she now acts as a college and financial aid counselor to her nieces and nephews.

Drawn to BELL in 1998 by the organization’s mission to eliminate educational inequalities and improve opportunities for children in underserved communities, she has been a key force behind BELL’s rigorous academic program. Tiffany began as an after-school tutor and mentor, and quickly climbed the ranks of BELL’s program management team. In a few short years, her work to evaluate the program’s impact on scholars’ self-esteem and academic skills, along with her leadership qualities and vision for the organization, led to her role as Chief Operating Officer, overseeing a multi-million dollar annual operating budget. As CEO, Tiffany guided BELL through the economic downturn, ensuring the organization received alternative revenue streams, such as several new foundations and grants, and an increased level of commitment from existing funders.

In 2008, she was named CEO of BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life), a national nonprofit organization that provides summer and after school tutoring and mentoring programs to underserved K-8 students, whom BELL refers to as “scholars.” A Dorchester native, she has been the driving force behind BELL’s rigorous, award-winning academic program, transforming the life trajectories of more than 15,000 scholars per year. Through Tiffany’s leadership, BELL’s programs, outcomes and evaluation methods have been nationally recognized as best practices and have already begun to impact the quality of education throughout the United States and even internationally. During her time with the organization, BELL has grown its enrollment from 500 scholars to more than 15,000 scholars nationally.