Maureen Costello brings nearly 40 years of education and publishing experience to her roles as director of Teaching Tolerance (TT) and member of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Senior Leadership Team. Since joining TT in 2010, she has grown the program significantly, adding new initiatives such as: the Teaching Tolerance Award for Excellence in Teaching; the Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards; the Teaching the Movement project; the Perspectives text bank and custom Learning Plan Builder; 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 has 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 helped name the phenomenon “The Trump Effect.” She also held a lead role in the production of 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. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama. 

Articles by Maureen

The World for Immigrant Children in Two Letters

We’ll always support educators who stand up for their students. Teaching Tolerance Director Maureen Costello explains why.

A Message From Our Director

Maureen Costello At the end of July, a group of students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School came through Montgomery on a regional March for Our Lives tour. Before they left Florida, they had visited every

AP World History Is Worth Saving

Teachers are pushing back against proposed changes they say would reframe AP World History as Eurocentric. Teaching Tolerance stands with them.

A Message From Our Director

TT Director Maureen Costello reflects on her appreciation for teachers who made the most of a tough school year.

Making King Real for Students Today

TT Director Maureen Costello watched Dr. King's legacy evolve from a "dangerous man to a secular saint in the public mind." On the anniversary of his assassination, she encourages teachers to break through the simplistic narrative and share his righteous anger at poverty and militarism.