Founder and CEO, StudentsFirst,
Philanthropy and School Reform
The USC Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy concluded its 2010-11 Distinguished Speakers Series with an address by Michelle Rhee on May 5, 2011. An integral part of the Center’s work and its mission is to provide a forum for bringing together leaders in the philanthropic, nonprofit, policy, and business communities to consider the promise and potential of philanthropy for public problem solving, and what it takes to realize those aspirations.
Michelle Rhee is the Founder and CEO of StudentsFirst. She has been working for the last 18 years to give children the skills and knowledge they will need to compete in a changing world.
In 1997 Ms. Rhee founded The New Teacher Project (TNTP) to bring more excellent teachers to classrooms across the country. Under her leadership TNTP became a leading organization in understanding and developing innovative solutions to the challenges of new teacher hiring. As Chief Executive Officer and President, Ms. Rhee partnered with school districts, state education agencies, nonprofit organizations and unions to transform the way schools and other organizations recruit, select and train highly qualified teachers in difficult-to-staff schools.
On June 12, 2007, Mayor Adrian Fenty appointed Chancellor Rhee to lead the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), a school district serving more than 47,000 students in 123 schools. Under her 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.
Michelle 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. 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.