Monique Burns Thompson (HBS)

Senior Lecturer of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

Monique Burns Thompson is an accomplished social entrepreneur who returns to HBS (class of 1993) and brings her twenty years of successful start-up and organizational leadership experience to her research and teaching at HBS.  She has led as a co-founder, President and Chief Curriculum Officer focusing specifically on building organizations and systems, developing leaders and closely aligning programs and products with marketplace need.  In addition to teaching Leadership and Corporate Accountability at Harvard Business School, Burns Thompson is collaborating with the Harvard Graduate School of Education to develop and deliver the Certificate for School Management and Leadership (CSML): a high quality, low cost, school leadership and management training program designed for school principals worldwide. This entrepreneurial venture launched in 2018, using HBS Online, and has had over 10,000 participants.

Prior to HBS, Burns Thompson was the co-founder and President of Teach Plus, a national non-profit that trains excellent, experienced teachers to take leadership over key policy and practice issues that affect their profession and their student’s success.  Teach Plus trained over 30,000 teacher leaders during its founding years and those leaders have introduced groundbreaking policies at the district, state and federal level, and partnered with districts to use teacher instructional leadership to turn around failing schools.

Burns Thompson was also co-founder, President and Chief Curriculum Officer of what FastCompany Magazine has called “one of the top ten companies changing the world,” New Leaders for New Schools.  Her primary focus was the development, management and delivery of a world class training curriculum that focuses on giving new principals concrete skills in instructional and managerial leadership.  New Leaders is now the largest recruiter and trainer of school leaders in the US.

When not an entrepreneur Burns Thompson has spent her time working inside districts and the charter sector with leaders who are focused on change.  This included as a consultant with The McKenzie Group in Washington, DC (opening four middle schools for DCPS) and spending a year as the assistant principal of one of those schools.   Being the Special Assistant to the Superintendent of the Philadelphia Public School District and leading the implementation of a $45 million productivity and efficiency program, leading the long range planning process for a $765 million building maintenance report, and negotiating a ground breaking contract with the National Brotherhood of Firemen and Oilers Local 1201.

While working on her doctorate at Harvard Graduate School of Education, Monique was a leadership coach and consultant for 14 charter school in Massachusetts.  She has consulted in the area of management, operations and training for organizations that want to ensure they are providing the highest quality learning experience for their students. Her business career started at the Quaker Oats Co. in marketing and brand management and she credits Quaker for her foundational learning in marketing. “If you can sell Pup-peroni dog treats you can sell anything.”

Burns Thompson earned her Bachelor's Degree from Dartmouth College, her MBA from Harvard Business School, and her Master’s in Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education.  She is ABD for her doctorate in Education Administration and Social Policy.

Burns Thompson is the proud mother of two daughters.  She keeps her balance in this world by running long distances slowly, skiing quickly, and traveling whenever possible.