U.S. judge: Teach for America was “rewarding and challenging”

A U.S. attorney who successfully prosecuted the country’s second-largest Ponzi scheme became the youngest-sitting judge upon his appointment to Galveston’s federal bench, but Gregg Costa considers his two-year teaching stint in rural Mississippi among his greatest challenges and community contributions.

Before graduating from the University of Texas School of Law in 1999, Costa joined Teach for America and taught fourth grade at East Sunflower Elementary in Sunflower, Miss., a town then of 751 people in the Mississippi Delta.

“Teach for America is like the Peace Corps but in the U.S.,” Costa said. “It’s a hell of a lot harder than being a lawyer, and the contribution was better than I’ll ever make being a lawyer or judge. It was rewarding and incredibly challenging.”

“Costa prosecuted R. Allen Stanford in Ponzi scheme”, Chris Paschenko, Galveston Daily News, October 29, 2012.

Costa credits the book Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools by Jonathan Kozol (1992) for inspiring him to join Teach for America.

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