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Michelle Rhee      

Founder of StudentsFirst & Education Reform Advocate; Former D.C. Public Schools Chancellor

Michelle Rhee is an American educator and advocate for education reform. She was Chancellor of District of Columbia Public Schools from 2007 to 2010. In late 2010, she founded StudentsFirst, a non-profit organization that works on education reform.

Inspired by a PBS special that she saw during her senior year in college, Rhee signed up with Teach For America, went through their five-week summer training program, then worked for three years as a teacher in Baltimore, Maryland. She was assigned to Harlem Park Elementary School, one of the lowest-performing schools. In 1997, Rhee founded and began serving as the CEO of The New Teacher Project, a nonprofit that within ten years of its founding, trained and supplied urban school districts with 23,000 mid-career professionals wanting to become classroom teachers. The project primarily serves New York, Chicago, Miami, and Philadelphia. Beginning in 2000, the project began redesigning the D.C. schools' recruitment and hiring processes.

Michelle first came onto the public stage on June 12, 2007, when Mayor Adrian Fenty appointed her to lead the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), a school district serving more than 47,000 students in 123 schools. Under Michelle’s leadership, the worst performing school district in the country became the only major city system to see double-digit growth in both their state reading and state math scores in seventh, eighth and tenth grades over three years. The graduation rate rose, and after previous steep declines, enrollment rose for the first time in forty years.

In the ever-evolving landscape of education in America, Michelle Rhee has been working tirelessly for the past two decades to give children the skills and knowledge they will need to compete in a changing world. From adding instructional time after school and visiting students’ homes as a third grade teacher in Baltimore, to hosting hundreds of community meetings and creating a Youth Cabinet to bring students’ voices into reforming the DC Public Schools, Michelle has always been guided by one core principle: put students first.

Each chapter of Michelle’s story has convinced her: students of every background and ZIP code can achieve at high levels, and for our schools to become what children deserve, every educator is called to believe this. Even in the toughest of circumstances, all teachers are called to turn the incredible potential that fills their classrooms daily, into the achievements worthy of our children and country.

Michelle has a bachelor’s degree in government from Cornell University and a master’s in public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

News


What’s next for Michelle Rhee, once the national face of education activism? Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article43619241.html#storylink=cpy

Michelle Rhee, the combative former D.C. public schools chancellor who founded the national advocacy group StudentsFirst, has retreated recently from public view.

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