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

Winning Students Over

Winning Students Over

More From Michelle

In this video

Rhee shares her insights on how, as a young teacher, she eventually won over her unruly students.

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

Judy Blume
Judy Blume
Best-Selling Author

Judy Blume is one of America’s most beloved authors and one of its most vigilant and committed anti-censorship activists. Her 28 titles include Tiger Eyes, Forever, and Are Y...

Brenda Berkman
Brenda Berkman
First NYC Female Firefighter

Brenda Berkman served the City of New York for 25 years before retiring in 2006 as a captain in its storied Fire Department. Her bravery was twofold: Berkman was summa cum laude gr...

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 ...

Yael Cohen Braun
Yael Cohen Braun
Co-Founder, Fuck Cancer

After her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, Yael Cohen Braun founded Fuck Cancer, a cancer education organization that activates millennials to engage with their par...