R. Gaynor McCown, the founding director of the Teaching Commission, a national organization that seeks to change the way teachers are prepared, recruited, retained, and paid, died Nov. 14 of a rare cancer. She was 45.
At the beginning of her career, Ms. McCown, a native of Mobile, Ala., taught science and health for five years at Bronx Regional High School in New York City. She also worked for a Roman Catholic lay service program in Chile immediately after college.
In 1993, she was named a White House Fellow and then served in the Clinton administration for three years, focusing on education and economic development. After heading the education and workforce-development effort of the New York City Partnership, a group of business leaders, she moved to Edison Schools Inc., where she worked as a senior vice president from 1998 to 2002.
Tapped to direct the Teaching Commission in 2002 by Louis V. Gerstner Jr., the former head of IBM who founded and chairs the New York-based group, Ms. McCown helped craft its agenda and write the commission’s bipartisan 2003 report, “Teaching at Risk: A Call to Action.”