Public School Reform

Public School Reform

Michelle Rhee

10.13.2009

Michelle Rhee

On June 12, 2007, Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty appointed Chancellor Michelle Rhee to lead the District of Columbia Public Schools, a school district serving more than 47,000 students in 123 schools. Chancellor Rhee’s commitment to excellence in education began in a Baltimore classroom in 1992 as a Teach For America teacher. At Harlem Park Community School, she learned the lesson that informs her work every day: a city’s teachers make up the most powerful driving force behind the its future prosperity by building the academic skills that yield positive life choices for children’s futures.

Chancellor Rhee founded The New Teacher Project (TNTP) in 1997, a leading organization in understanding and developing innovative solutions to the challenges of new teacher hiring. As Chief Executive Officer and President, she partnered with school districts, state education agencies, non-profit organizations, and unions to transform the way schools and other organizations recruit, select, and train highly qualified teachers in difficult-to-staff schools. Her work with TNTP implemented widespread reform in teacher hiring practices, improving teacher hiring in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Miami, New York, Oakland, and Philadelphia. TNTP placed 23,000 new, high-quality teachers in these schools across the country.

Chancellor Rhee currently serves on the Advisory Boards for the National Council on Teacher Quality, the National Center for Alternative Certification, and Project REACH of the University of Phoenix’s School of Education. She is an Ex-Officio Member of the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees.

Chancellor Rhee holds a bachelor’s degree in government from Cornell University and a master's degree in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

With no previous administrative experience, Michelle Rhee was an unconventional choice as the chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools system when she was hired in 2007. But the former Teach for America participant and founder of the highly successful teacher recruitment nonprofit, The New Teacher Project, has dramatically shifted the culture of public education in Washington. By ushering in reforms that have closed over a dozen schools and replaced poor performing teachers, Chancellor Rhee has moved to the forefront of America’s public school reform debate.