Maureen Costello, retired director of Teaching Tolerance, has been a teacher and educational leader for over 40 years. After joining TT in 2010, she grew the program significantly, adding a number of new initiatives: the Teaching Tolerance Award for Excellence in Teaching; the Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards; the Teaching the Movement project; Teaching Hard History: American Slavery; in-person professional development activities; and the Educator Grants program supporting anti-bias programming in classrooms, schools and districts. Under Costello’s leadership, Teaching Tolerance magazine went from two to three issues a year and garnered dozens of awards, including the AAP’s Golden Lamp Award. She wrote two groundbreaking reports on the impact of the 2016 campaign and election on American schools, and she helped name the phenomenon “The Trump Effect.” She also held a lead role in the production of the student-friendly documentaries Bullied and Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot.
Before joining the Southern Poverty Law Center, Costello worked for Scholastic, Inc. and directed the Newsweek Education Program. She began her career as a history and economics teacher at Notre Dame Academy High School in Staten Island. Throughout her career, Costello has been committed to fostering the ideals of democracy and citizenship in young people. She is a graduate of the New School University and the New York University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. In retirement, she continues to write and speak on education issues. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama.