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Hot...For Education (2008)

Ed_in_08_logo_homehot It's not concern for the kids that energizes school reform efforts.  It's the good teeth, the charm, and the outfits that bring in the foundation dollars and get the negotiations done.

With that in mind, the third annual "Hot...For Education" issue is finally out.

No, there are no painted-on bikinis or six-pack abs. (Maybe next year?) As you will see, "hot" is defined broadly here -- think "multiple measures." Among the selected include those who are good looking, those who have had a great year, those who are particularly passionate about school reform, or some mixture of the above.For example, one of the "honorees" is no longer with us, in the traditional sense.  Another of the honorees doesn't exist, in the traditional sense.

As always, your suggestions and comments are welcome -- pictures, too.  Who did I miss?  What did I get wrong?  Remember, previous honorees aren't eligible.  Neither are folks who don't have a picture I can find on Google images.   

Click images to enlarge.

Heather_mcgheeWhat could be hotter in education circles right now than being Barack Obama's domestic policy adviser, Heather Higginbottom?  No one's going to vote "present" when it comes to Heather.  All those who say "Aye!"


It's not just that Chicago's Arne Duncan is one of the youngest big-city superintendents in the nation and -- despite the choirboy looks -- isn't afraid to close a school or two.  He plays basketball with Hyde Park buddy Barack Obama. He's lasted way longer than anyone thought.  Who knows, he could be the next EdSec if he let Obama score on him a little bit more.


Former academic Roland Fryer joined the NYC school system to help make education immediate and real to low-income kids and their parents -- and generated heaps of controversy along the way.  But that doesn't stop him from looking good.  Do you think he motivates himself to keep all GQ with cash incentives and cell phone ring tones?  Who cares, as long as the results are this good.


Still-new District of Columbia schools superintendent Michelle Rhee is one of the most prominent TFA alums out there.  That's a lot of pressure on the young Korean-American -- you know how important alums are to TFA -- but she seems to be handling it just fine so far.



The New America Foundation's early childhood analyst Sara Mead is everyone's favorite education wonk. Plus, she's got a blogger boyfriend, Matt Yglesias.  Now you know why early childhood education is so popular these days.

He isn't very good looking in the traditional sense, and he's been dead 10 years or so, but he was charismatic and compelling and, thanks to Rick Kahlenberg's 2007 biography, there's no one hotter in education circles than former AFT president Al Shanker.



Education reporter Pauline Vu (aka "the Vuster") has a big online fanclub, even though she works for a tiny outlet called Stateline.org.  There's no confusion she always gets the story right.

Jbenton_mugHe may be on sabbatical or something, but the Dallas Morning News' award winning reporter and columnist Josh Benton makes women fall off their seats. Not just ones he's interviewing.  We've seen it happen at EWA events.  Come back, Josh, come back! 


Canada_geoff300 Eduwonkettevalentineday_160Geoff Canada started the Harlem Children's Zone and has a book about him coming out in September.  Not bad for a day's work.  Plus he looks awful good in a suit.

The mysterious and elusive Eduwonkette took the blogging world by storm this past year.  She's cute, she's fun, she's tiny.  She's a superhero.  She makes fun of Andywonk for me.  Now just who is she?  My guess is she's former Teachers College president Art Levine in drag.

Barr_cropRandiw07 New York City teachers union president Randi Weingarten is having a very hot year.  She's managed to protect her members without getting left out of the reform discussions.  She came out of the closet.  And she's poised to become AFT president -- or Education Secretary -- in the very near future. Must find better picture.

If Green Dot founder Steve Barr isn't hot, I don't know who is.  He's got the funders and reformistas eating out of his hands.  He's got union presidents begging him to start charter schools in their districts.  The media can't get enough of him.  He's disarmingly candid and charming in a shambly kind of way.  As I've said before, he's the Lindsay Lohan of school reform.  (Better than being the Britney Spears.)

Will_okun Jadefloydrevised9Chicago high school teacher Will Okun became the New York Times' first and only teacher blogger last year.  Reporting from the front lines of urban education, Okun wrote about teen pregnancy, racial differences, and gangs -- generating scads of responses each time out.

In reality, recently departed AACTE press honcho Jade Floyd isn't really hot for education.  She's just hot.  So hot that she won hottest DC press person from DC Fishbowl.  This skin-bearing come-hither shot might have helped. 

Luke_sHe's a higher ed guy, not K12 like he should be, but there's no denying his all-American good looks and boyish charm, which have, I'm told, single-handedly persuaded legislators to lower student loan rates. Ladies and thus-inclined men, I give you Luke Swarthout.

Insideteaching7d There aren't many men who are manly enough to work on education issues, but Kennedy education staffer Roberto Rodriguez overcomes all that with his smoldering good looks and easy charm.  Roberto_rodriguezPlus, he does whatever Carmel tells him to do.   What could be hotter than that?

Give Wendy Kopp credit for something.  Recent reports suggest that, over the past decade, teachers have gotten smarter.  That is, their average SAT scores are higher.  But that's not all.  They've also gotten better looking.  As illustrated by this TFAer profiled in a recent USA Today article, Caitlin Woo.

Elizabeth_weiss_green_140x140_2With ability (and ambition) to spare, the NY Sun's relatively new education reporter Elizabeth Green regularly breaks news and scoops her competitors. All the while looking snazzy.  Watch out, big-time education reporters.  Elizabeth is eating your lunch. 


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I laughed pretty hard when I realized you'd ganked the Ed in '08 logo.

Are you serious? Do you have evidence that Arne Duncan can beat Obama?

One of Obama's class mates told me a hilarious story about Obama's law school team, lead by Barack, was rolling up the Mass state prison. The prisoners placed all of their bets based on their appraisal of the best player in the gym, Obama. Through his trash-talking, Obama supposedly learned that he was lighting up a double murderer who wasn't happy about it. Obama stopped shooting and Harvard lost.

Sorry I can't remember the name of my source, but he's a star on one of the CSI shows and he was voted one of America's sexiest men, and he comes from Iowa.

By the way, I learned from experience on a lot of playgrounds that if you have the White man's disease, and you're slow, and fouls along with hards picks and aggressive D don't work, and you stink up the court, just put a tee-shirt over your head as you walk off the court, and nobody can see you.


Arne Duncan played pro ball in Australia from 1987-91. I'm pretty sure he can school Obama on the court.

My bad.

Alex, if you're going to appropriate the logo, you could at least throw a little love to some of the "hot" ED in '08 staffers...http://www.flickr.com/photos/edin08/1105242895/in/set-72157601411875856/

And wow, Matt, you hate us, huh?

fair enough, rachael --
i stole your logo without any credit --
i'll work the EDINO8 hotties into the mix in a separate post.

btw, i've just been informed that the pic above isn't of heather higginbottom. doh! pwned on my own site. anyway, a correction and the real HH is going up soon. anyone know who is in the original picture?

I hope you mean that in a "haha, you hate us!" punch-on-the-arm sort of way.

Or do you really think I'm wringing my hands and twisting my waxed mustache as I chortle away because Alexander used your logo while having a bit of fun?

Thank you, Rachael, for finally addressing me. I'll admit that I expected a quicker response - after all, I e-mailed you on September 10, 2007.

Ohhhhh snap!!!!!!!

The mislabeled Heather is Heather McGhee of Demos.

Getting an education can take time and money. But for many careers, it is necessary in order to earn promotions or even find an entry level position.

Hey, you know the picture you have up for "Heather Higgenbottom" is totally wrong, right? The woman whose image you have there is Heather McGhee, third year law student at Berkeley Law School. FYI.

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