Final 50 Selected for Book of Learning Stories

Learning, Voice

Nine months ago, the Rethink Learning Now campaign launched a national storytelling initiative by asking people to reflect on their most powerful learning experiences, and/or their most effective teachers.
Since then, the campaign has received hundreds of insightful and illustrative submissions from people across the country –from students to social workers to the Secretary of Education himself. And this past month, I’ve had the difficult challenge of selecting just 50 of those stories to be collected into a book that will be released next spring.
My work has been so difficult because the stories people have submitted are all so good, and so varied. Some are about teachers who changed their students’ lives. Some describe the moment when a person first discovered how to ask the right questions, or found what they were most passionate about.  Others are about making art, or going on a challenging hike, or studying everything from Morse code to Macbeth to Kung Fu. But all of the stories in the campaign – and, ultimately, the book – are about one central thing – learning, and what it feels like to discover one’s purpose, passion, and capacity for greatness.
And so, I’m proud to officially announce the Final 50. I want to congratulate all of you who took the time to share your stories with the campaign. And I want to urge anyone that hasn’t yet done so to add your voice to our growing patchwork of learning memories. Do so today at

  1. Zainab Ali – Office of the Mayor – Los Angeles, California
  2. Anonymous — Evanston, Illinois
  3. Rachel Barnes – Humanities Teacher — Chatham, Massachusetts
  4. R. Dwayne Betts – Spokesman, Campaign for Youth Justice — Suitland, Maryland
  5. Maritza Brito – World Languages Teacher — Toms River, New Jersey
  6. Cass Carland – Youth Voice Consultant, QED Foundation – Keene, New Hampshire
  7. Gary Cohen – Businessman, CO2 Partners – Wayzata, Minnesota
  8. James Comer – University Professor — New Haven, Connecticut
  9. Elijah Cummings – United States Congressman — Baltimore, Maryland
  10. Jill Davidson –Director, Coalition of Essential Schools — Providence, Rhode Island
  11. Arne Duncan – United States Secretary of Education — Washington, DC
  12. Michelle Durange – 1st & 2nd Grade Teacher — Littlestown, Pennsylvania
  13. Joel Elliott – Peace Corps Volunteer — Limpopo Province, South Africa
  14. Amy Estersohn – Afterschool Program Volunteer, Learning Unlimited — Chicago, Illinois
  15. Jamal Fields – Elementary School Principal — Livermore, California
  16. Jenna Fournel – Outreach Director, Center for Inspired Teaching — Alexandria, Virginia
  17. Jenifer Fox – Founder, Strong Planet — Franklin, Tennessee
  18. Al Franken – United States Senator — Minneapolis, Minnesota
  19. Emily Gasoi – Student — Washington, DC
  20. John Goodlad – President, Institute for Educational Inquiry — Seattle, Washington
  21. Loretta Goodwin – Senior Director, American Youth Policy Forum — Arlington, Virginia
  22. Carl Glickman – Educator and Writer — Athens, Georgia
  23. Stedman Graham – Businessman and Educator — Chicago, Illinois
  24. Patrick Ip – Student — Chicago, Illinois
  25. Gerlma A.S. Johnson – Middle School Principal — Detroit, Michigan
  26. Gloria Ladson-Billings – University Professor — Madison, Wisconsin
  27. Liz Lerman – Choreographer — Takoma Park, Maryland
  28. Sitembiso Ncube Maduma – Special Education Teacher — San Bernardino, California
  29. Andrew Margon – Special Education Teacher — Brooklyn, New York
  30. Kevin McCann – Senior Vice President, Edelman Public Relations — Washington, DC
  31. Robert McLaughlin – Administrator, New Hampshire Board of Education — Concord, New Hampshire
  32. Deborah Meier – Retired Educator – Hillsdale, New York
  33. Renee Moore – Teacher Instructor — Cleveland, Mississippi
  34. Steve Moore  — Reading Instructor — Republic, Missouri
  35. Larry Myatt  — School Leadership Consultant — Boston, Massachusetts
  36. Susan Oliver – Communications Consultant — Waterford, Virginia
  37. Margaret Owens – Student – Palo Alto, California
  38. Terry Pickeral – President, Cascade Educational Consultants — Bellingham, Washington
  39. Bruce Deitrick Price – Founder, — Virginia Beach, Virginia
  40. Jan Resseger – Minster for Public Education and Witness, United Church of Christ – Cleveland, Ohio
  41. Mark Rockeymoore – Senior Fellow, Global Policy Solutions — San Antonio, Texas
  42. Carrie Rogers — 2nd Grade Teacher — Rancho Cucamonga, California
  43. Elizabeth Rogers, Public Affairs Director, Oral Health America — Portland, Maine
  44. Ahniwake Rose – Policy Analyst, National Congress of American Indians – Washington, DC
  45. Chantale Soekhoe – Legislative Liaison, New York Civil Liberties Union —  Bronx, New York
  46. Maya Soetoro-Ng – Education Specialist, East-West Center – Honolulu, Hawaii
  47. Angela Valenzuela – University Professor — Austin, Texas
  48. Jill Vialet – Founder, Playworks — Oakland, California
  49. Stephen Vick – Director of Child Welfare, Association House — Chicago, Illinois
  50. Jenerra Williams – 2nd & 3rd Grade Teacher — Boston, Massachusetts