On June 15, 2011, Michelle Rhee, Founder and CEO of Students First, spoke at Roosevelt House on education reform and creating schools of excellence.
Michelle Rhee began her career as a Teach for America (TFA) corps member in a Harlem Park Community School in Baltimore City. Through her own trial and error in the classroom, she gained a tremendous respect for the hard work that teachers do every day. She also learned the lesson that would drive her mission for years to come: teachers are the most powerful driving force behind student achievement in our schools. 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; non-profit organizations and unions to transform the way schools and other organizations recruit, select and train 23,000 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. 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. In 2010, she left DCPS to found her own organization – Students First – which she describes as a grassroots movement designed to mobilize parents, teachers, students, administrators, and citizens throughout country, and to channel their energy to produce meaningful results on both the local and national level.
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