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

Education v. Poverty

Education v. Poverty

More From Michelle

In this video

The remarkable power good teachers have to close the achievement gap.

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

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. ...

Ellen Gustafson
Ellen Gustafson
Food System Activist

Ellen Gustafson is committed to revolutionizing the global food system. She is the Founder and Director of the 30 Project, a think-and-do tank bringing together key organizations a...

Shelly Lazarus
Shelly Lazarus
Pioneering Advertising Executive

In her 40-plus years at Ogilvy & Mather, Shelly Lazarus went from frequently being the only woman in the room, to being the woman running the show at the global advertising gia...

Angela Salinas
Angela Salinas
Major General, US Marine Corps (Ret)

Angela Salinas is a retired Major General of the US Marine Corps and a role model for women in the armed forces. Raised by two Mexican immigrants, Salinas was the first in her fam...