Iris Chen leads the startup and growth of Wildflower Schools in New York City. Previously, Iris led The Fund for Public Schools, where she raised more than $21M during a major transition year (FY15), and developed public-private partnerships to support New York City’s 1.1 million students. Iris also helped launch Braven, a social enterprise that empowers young people on their paths to college graduation and strong first jobs, and served five years as President and CEO of the “I Have A Dream” Foundation.

Iris began her career as a fourth- and fifth-grade teacher at P.S. 307 in Brooklyn as part of Teach For America’s charter corps. She subsequently held several leadership roles at Teach For America (TFA) during different chapters of the organization, including Director of Public Affairs (1994), where she created a new team to manage external engagement; National Program Director (1995-98), where she led TFA’s program strategy and operations across the organization and its regions nationwide; and New York City Executive Director (2003-07), where she grew the local corps from 250 to 1,000 teachers. She also worked briefly as a consultant at McKinsey & Company and was a Coro Fellow.

Iris graduated magna cum laude from Yale with a BA in East Asian Studies and received a JD/MBA degree with honors from Harvard. She serves on the Board of Trustees of East Harlem Scholars Academy and of New York Civil Rights Coalition, and on the Advisory Board of the Teach For America National Collective. She is serving her second term as a member of the New York Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and is a retired (and never-having-practiced) member of the New York State Bar Association.

Iris grew up in Washington, DC, as the middle child of seven. In her spare time, she likes to cook, entertain, and run marathons.

Work Experience
  • New York Site Entrepreneur
  • Wildflower Schools
Equity and Belonging, Nonprofit & Social Impact