Educational leaders are often thought of as teachers because a teacher is on the front lines of learning, but that isn’t always the case. Many of the most famous educational leaders never taught, or if they did, they focused on higher education at colleges and universities. There have been many famous leaders that have brought education to the forefront of society, but here are 5 names that you may not have heard about.
1. Bill Gates
Bill Gates is often known as the co-founder of Microsoft, or the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation founded after his software days. What many people do not know is that the foundation has paid out billions of dollars for education initiatives since its founding. Many research and advocacy groups that support pro-education reform have one goal in mind: to improve student outcomes. Because charter schools are also supported, however, not every teacher likes the influence of this educational leader.
2. David Coleman
As one of the designers of the Common Core standards that are being used in several states across the U.S., Coleman is a very famous educational leader that you may have never heard about before. He is currently the President of the College Board as well, which is working on a complete redesign of the SAT. The decisions that Coleman helps to make impact almost every student, teacher, and school in the United States.
3. Michael Bloomberg
Bloomberg might be remembered more as a mayor of New York City or because of his business legacy, but he has also had a tremendous influence on the world of education. During his 3 terms in the mayor’s office, he was given direct control over the city’s public school system. Through this direct oversight, Bloomberg worked to expand the amount of charter schools that were available, bring resources to schools that were failing, and helped to bring an extra level of transparency to the public schools.
4. Wendy Kopp
Kopp is another influential educational figure that tends to stay more in the background than the foreground. Her notable accomplishment was to create Teach For America. It’s an organization that helps to put the thousands of college and university graduates back into the classroom so that their knowledge can benefit kids that need a break because of poverty, neighborhood strife, or other disadvantages. She serves as the chairman of the organization and just recently took the concept global with a new entity: Teach For All.
5. Mark Zuckerberg
The CEO and founder of Facebook donated $100 million to Newark public schools in 2010. Although much of this money ended up having very little impact, some of the good that did come out of the donation was a national measure of accountability for public schools so that communities can know everything that is going on. He has also been a part of the STEM Education Coalition to bring science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to the forefront of educational policies.