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 Moment

Being Direct

Being Direct

More From Michelle

In this video

Rhee describes her straightforward, honest communication style which she suspects may have rubbed people the wrong way.

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

Lilly Ledbetter
Lilly Ledbetter
Equal Pay for Equal Work

Lilly Ledbetter worked as an area manager at Goodyear plant in Gadsden, Alabama for nineteen years. Her crusade to remedy the gender-based pay discrimination that she suffered duri...

Cherríe Moraga
Cherríe Moraga
Writer & Playwright

Cherríe Moraga is a playwright, poet, and essayist whose plays and publications have received national recognition for her unique and personal perspective as a Chicana/Anglo...

Claudia Chan
Claudia Chan
Entrepreneur and Journalist

Claudia Chan is the founder of ClaudiaChan.com, a for-purpose media brand that brings women’s empowering stories to one place. ClaudiaChan.com was launched in March 2012, 12 ...

Courtney E. Martin
Courtney E. Martin
Author

Courtney E. Martin’s first book, Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: How the Quest for Perfection is Harming Young Women was called “smart and spirited” by the New...