Newsletter

Stay up to date with the latest from MAKERS delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for new stories from trailblazing women, a big dose of inspiration, and exclusive MAKERS content.

Newsletter Confirmation

Thank you for joining! Please check your inbox for our special welcome letter
with exclusive updates from MAKERS.

MAKERS Profile

Michelle Rhee

Education Reformer

More From Michelle

In this video

Michelle Rhee on her early teaching days, mission to improve public education, and controversial term as Public Schools Chancellor in DC.

Michelle's Biography

Cause of Choice: City Year
Most Proud Of: Raising two great kids
Inspirational Role Model: Warren Buffet
Meaningful Advice Received: Former NYC Schools Chancellor Joel Klein telling her to "lead from the front."

The daughter of South Korean émigrés, and herself educated for a year in her parents’ homeland, Michelle Rhee graduated from Cornell before landing in the principled—and prestigious—Teach For America program. By her late 30s, she had become the point person for one of the boldest and most controversial school reform efforts in American municipal history. As Chancellor of Washington DC’s schools, Rhee instituted merit pay for teachers, fought for art and music classes, and championed charter schools (look for Rhee in the acclaimed documentary Waiting for Superman).  Her push meant locking horns with teachers’ unions and, as Rhee predicted sadly, cost Mayor Adrian Fenty his job. But it did something more: her example helped to drastically reshape the national discussion on teachers and schools. In late 2010, while advising Republican governors in Florida and Nevada, she formed StudentsFirst, a bipartisan grassroots movement committed to enlisting one million members and raising a billion dollars on behalf of American education.

Related Videos

Dee Dee Myers
Dee Dee Myers
Political Analyst

Dee Dee Myers is a groundbreaking political analyst and former White House press secretary. After graduating from Santa Clara University, Dee Dee Myers took on a full-time role on...

Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice
Former Secretary of State

Raised in Birmingham, Alabama Rice was on her way to becoming a concert pianist before turning to international relations and developing a career as a respected Soviet specialist. ...

Eleanor Holmes Norton
Eleanor Holmes Norton
U.S. Congresswoman, District of Columbia

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, now in her twelfth term as the Congresswoman for the District of Columbia, knew from a young age she wanted to make change to end the severe se...

Rebecca Morris
Rebecca Morris
Abstract Painter

Rebecca Morris is known for revitalizing abstract painting through her acclaimed artwork. Among her many accomplishments, Morris is the recipient of the 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship,...