Until the 1970’s most books about education were written by men. When Vivian Gussin Paley, an early educator at the Lab School, wrote her first book, White Teacher, her work as an author/scholar was dismissed and chastised. Her fellow teachers and academics didn’t believe that it was the teacher’s place to study the lives of children she taught.
Action research is now taught in teachers colleges, but we still often forget to celebrate the work of women educators, for example, quotes by John Dewey show up daily on social media, but Helen Parkhurst, his contemporary and a pioneer in Progressive Education who created “the Dalton Plan”, is often forgotten.
We have some of the best voices in education at the Cooperative Catalyst and I thought it would be great to celebrate some of the women educators that inspire us, and celebrate some of the texts we look to and shape our own teaching, thinking and writing. I would like your help in creating a primer of women education philosophers and educators and/or wiki for students and new teachers.
I think we should be able to crowd source at least 100 (we passed 50 on May 28th 2012) Women educators and/or philosophers. Also I would love to put together a paragraph or two or blog post on each of them, along with annotations of some of their best work. Please help me by submitting or blogging your contribution or/and email me at email@example.com
Here is my list so far
- Maria Montessori
- Helen Parkhurst.
- Deborah Meier
- Vivian Gussin Paley
- Jill Ostrow
- Maxine Greene
- Eleanor Ruth Duckworth
- Adora Svitak
- Lisa Delpit
- Linda Darling-Hammond
- Ellen Key
- Sue Palmer
- Caroline Pratt (founder of City and Country School)
- Professor Gloria Ladson–Billings
- bell hooks
- Diane Levin
- Kirsten Olson
- Nel Noddings
- Zoe Weil
- Mary Wollstonecraft
- Sophia Blanche Lyon Fahs
- Sylvia Ashton-Warner
- Sydney Gurewitz Clemens
- Rebeca Wild
- Joan Almon
- Vea Vecchi
- Olivia Gude
- Diane Ravitch
- Gayle Moller and Marilyn Katzenmeyer
- Jean Anyon
- Annetee Lareau
- Mary Pipher
- Margaret Wheatley
- Michelle Fine
- Lisa Michelle Nielsen
- Rachael Kessler
- Maricela Oliva
- Catherine Marshall
- Jane Roland-Martin
- Susan Ohanians
- Carol Gilligan
- Susan Issacs
- Margaret and Rachel McMillan
- Sarah Lawrence-Lightfoot
- Mary Leue
- Alice Miller
- Riane Eisler
- Barbara Brodhagen
- Nancy Sizer
- Monika Hardy
- Elise Boulding
- Lucy Sprague Mitchell
- Betty Jones
- Carol Dweck
- Margaret Donaldson (Picture N/A)
- Chris Athey (Picture N/A)
- Maya Angelou
- Edith Abbott:
- Linda Levstik
- Nancy Atwell
- Lucy Calkins
- Susan Fleming
- Paula White
- Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum
- Virginia Lynn Fry (Picture N/A)
- Grace Llewellyn
- Jane Vella
- Ruby Payne
- Gail Griffin
- Angela Maiers
- Zenobia Barlow
- Marietta Johnson
- Grace Lee Boggs
- Vandana Shiva
- Staceyann Chin
- Suheir Hammad
- Melissa Harris-Perry
- Sheryl WuDunn
- Leymah Gbowee
- Angela Davis
- Sonia Nieto
- Angeline Stoll Lillard
- Aline D. Wolf
- Jane Nelsen
- Constance Weaver
- Rachel Carson
- Constance Kamii
- Susan Sontag
- Susan Engel
- Alice Waters
- Iona Opie
- Sally Jenkinson
- Peggy McIntosh
- Limor Fried
- Leah Buechley
- Deborah Ruf
- Debbie Silver
- Emma Goldman
- Carol Tomlinson
- Elizabeth Byrne Ferm
- Angella Gibbons
- Jane Jervis
- Kathleen Kesson
- Mary Carr
- Helen Keller
- Lynn Mikel Brown
- Margaret Ledwith
- Betty Jean Lifton
- Marie Clay
- Linda Christensen
- Naomi Shihab Nye
- Karin Chenoweth
- Karen Gallas
- Toni Morrison
- Audre Lorde
- Juliana Godoi
- Katie Salen
- Patty Younce
- Karla Haas Moscowitz
- Lella Gandini
- Loris Malaguzzi
- Dr. Sharon Friesen
- Laura Flores Shaw
- Heidi Hayes Jacobs
- Pearl Rock Kane
- Louise Rosenblatt
- Charlotte Hawkins Brown
If you want to write about any of them feel free to add it below in the comment section or Lisa Nielsen created a google doc to collect them more formally here
Via Sue VanHattum
“Please make sure Sylvia Ashton-Warner gets on your list. And I’ve really enjoyed a book by Sydney Gurewitz Clemens, The Sun’s Not Broken, A Cloud’s Just in the Way. She’s an early childhood educator in SF. I also find Rebeca Wild’s work very valuable.”
Good luck with this project.
Math Professor, Contra Costa College
Joan Almon has done amazing work with the Alliance for Childhood and the crisis in the kindergarten and crisis in early childhood. Her play-based focus and emphasis on real work and opportunities for children is inspiring and incredible.
Vea Vecchi and Olivia Gude are inspirational, progressive and passionate.
How about Diane Ravitch? I think she gets the current politics of reform and her current dialogue with Meier, Bridging Differences, is an informative testament to the many twists in the journey.
I vote for Nel Noddings…twice! For urging us to care.
I was waiting for someone to add her! One of my favorites!
I have read some of Maria Montessor’s books-Secrets of childhood and Absorbant mind are amazing.
Thanks for this–much needed. I have several suggestions.
First, Marilyn Katzenmeyer and Gayle Moller for “Awakening the Sleeping Giant,” the seminal book on teacher leadership. Also Jean Anyon, Amy Wells and Annette Lareau, for writing scholarly and persuasive books on the real impact of poverty on education. Mary Pipher, who broke new ground in writing about what it’s like to be a teenaged girl in America. And Margaret Wheatley, whose understanding of what lies under genuine leadership far surpasses the thousands of cook-book approaches to “leadership” as a step-by-step process.
Nancy Sizer, Barbara Brodhagen both scholars researchers and quiet radicals.
Quaker Sociologist Elise Boulding wrote a seminal work called “buildIng a global civic culture education for an interdependent world”.
Again a quiet radical who touched thousands.
British Pychoanalyst Susan Issacs pioneered early participatory action research….recorded children’s views of society and education.
i would “nominate” a friend and local, Michelle Fine
Angeline Stoll Lillard author of “Montessori, The Science Behind the Genius.” Dennis Schapiro, Editor of the Public Montessorian writes, “Angeline Lillard may have changed the rules of engagement for debates on educational reform.”
Aline D. Wolf, with 25 books to her credit, wrote a favorite of mine, “Nurturing the Spirit in non-sectarian classrooms.”
Jane Nelsen, Ed.D. has written many books regarding “Positive Discipline.” “The key to discipline is not punishment, but mutual respect.”
Rachael Carson, author of “Silent Spring.”
Current favorites online are Lisa Michele Nielsen of the Innovative Educator and Laura Flores Shaw of Collaborative Montessori Initiative.
Catherine Marshall and Maricela Oliva (2010) wrote a wonderful book titled: Leadership for Social Justice; Making Revolutions in Education. There are a few women contributors in this book who not only speak out about issues of social justice, they are actually doing wonderful work to challenge these inequities. Another valuable resource for anyone in the field of education is: The Power of Mindful Learning by educational theorist Ellen Langer. And last but not least, check out Rachael Kessler’s book:The Soul of Education, a amazing text on cultivating communities of inclusion, authenticity and learning.
Thank you so much for your suggestion about Rachael. I just found out about this blog and visited to add my nominations for great women educators. We miss Rachael dearly. — Also see this great blog http://is.gd/uafLpM on women in education and the need for their voices to be much more prominent. – warm regards, Mark —
Jane Roland-Martin (The Schoolhome)
Excellent list—all inspirations. I would like to suggest Susan Ohanian be added to the list. She has written several books that rail against standardized testing and advocates for having students fall in love with reading. Personally, I devour her site, susanohanian.org, where she features research, articles, and opinion pieces on school reform. She is my inspiration to speak out against the privatization of public schools.
Thanks for creating this important list.
via my tumblr feed
“Margaret McMillan, Susan Issacs, Chris Athey, Margaret Donaldson”
“Lucy Sprague Mitchell (founder Bank Street College)”
“Mary Wollstonecraft. Wrote Vindication of the Rights of Women, where she boldly argued for educating girls. ”
Riane Eisler!!! Tomorrow’s Children
Alice Miller (for exposing cruelty within education), Sarah Lawrence-Lightfoot (for contributions to qualitative research, portraiture, and general brilliance and wisdom), Mary Leue (for unyielding advocacy of freedom) -a diverse trio, this!
I would nominate Dr. Sharon Friesen from the University of Calgary and Galileo Educational Network (http://educ.ucalgary.ca/profiles/sharon-friesen). Over the last 20 years, she has been instrumental in initiating educational change at all levels of our education system. Her work continues to inform policy makers and push the educational research agenda forward both in our own province and around the world.
This is so much fun! We are at 50+… now lets get to 100! Also if any wants to do some writing around one of these amazing women let me know! Thank you all for your help!
I love this idea and would be happy to do some writing if you provided a sample and a template.
Me, too. I’m just not certain what kind of writing you’re looking for, but I’m so excited about your project. It’s a head slapper: “Why didn’t anyone ever think of this before??
Lella Gandini and Loris Malaguzzi, for preserving “the hundred languages.” Thanks, David. This IS fun! I find myself stopping short in the middle of doing something and thinking, “OMG, how could we have omitted…?!?!”
Okay, my last contribution: Zenobia Barlow (Ctr for Ecoliteracy.) Why don’t more people know this name? Check her out:
Great that Lucy Srague Mitchell was mentioned. I would also add Betty Jones at Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena. She looked at play and its impact on children. Books: The Play’s the Thing, Master Player and Playing to Get Smart. She influenced my life as an educator. Also am very interested in Carol Dweck’s work on how mindset affects learning. Her book: Mindset.
I would add Linda Levstik. Her life-time achievements in History Education have helped change the nature of that discipline from “dates, names, and places” to historical analysis and perspective.
Via My Friend that attend Goddard College
“Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, Diane Ravitch, Sarah Lawrence Lightfoot, Virginia Lynn Fry, Grace Llewellyn, Jane Vella, Ruby Payne, Nancy F. Sizer, to name a few.”
” Sophia Lyon Fahs!”
Amy Onslow O’Hara:
“Sue Fleming, Patty Younce and Karla Haas Moscowitz.”
I am adding Paula White, a Cooperative Catalyst founder and one of my favorite teachers and thinkers writing about elementary education, democratic education and social media! I am very lucky to call her a friend!
I nominate Angela Maiers
Angela is a leader in passion-driven learning and supporting educators in showing every child why they matter. Her site is http://www.angelamaiers.com/
gail griffin, from kalamazoo college, has made a tremendous impact on me with her books, teachings, and writings. i only WISH i’d gone to k- college!
Nancy Atwell for her work in popularizing writing and reading workshops as well as for her compassionate and utterly beautiful look at the Middle School learner.
Also, Katie Salen, whose view of the future of education through her Quest schools and the incorporation of game design into learning environments is an amazing, kung-fu like move within education.
Thank you. I am honored to be included among these women. So many of them have guided my work.
Glad you found this! Feel free to add anyone we missed, or share on your blog etc!
equalityblogdirectory answered: Vandana Shiva, Stacyann Chin, Suheir Hammad, Melissa Harris-Perry, Sheryl WuDunn, Leymah Gbowee
clarityplenty2011 answered: Toni Morrison
roxannewright answered: Audre Lorde if she counts
minhas–lembrancas answered: juliana godoi
Marietta Johnson! Founder of the The School of Organic Education in 1907.
“A proponent of a unique philosophy of progressive education, contemporary Rudolf Steiner and Maria Montessorri, Mrs. Johnson founded the School of Organic Education in Fairhope, Alabama. Her school had no examinations, no homework, and she did not believe any child should be allowed to fail.”
This list is exciting, women in this field definitely aren’t recognized or celebrated often enough. What a great idea to do this.
Two women that I thought of were Karen Gallas and Sonia Nieto. Below, I’ve written a bit about them, who they are, my experiences with their work, why they’ve inspired me, etc.
Karen Gallas –
“When given the opportunity, listen to the children. They will show you what they know and how they learn best, and often that way is not the teacher’s way.”
As a teacher-researcher, Karen Gallas has shared her classroom stories to show how she’s developed her philosophies about children and how they communicate their knowledge. By allowing and supporting exploratory talk, Gallas has great insights into alternatives for how we can ‘assess’ learning, and how we can learn from students.
Her examples of students using exploratory talk or artistic outlets to communicate are inspiring. When reading her book The Languages of Learning in my first education class, I found myself constantly stopping to think and rethink my beliefs about children. Gallas discusses how she had to check herself; sometimes it felt like a huge stretch to allow the kids to share their knowledge in a different way, and not get in the way of that. Sometimes, society’s traditional views on how children learn and what constitutes as learning become ingrained in us in small ways we hadn’t known. Gallas urges us to take a step back, to stop and think, to truly try and understand how kids (and everyone for that matter) learn and how they show it.
In another quote from The Languages of Learning, Gallas offers the way she, and her classroom, came to understand ‘knowing’:
“What we understood… was that knowing was not just telling something back as we had received it. Knowing meant transformation and change as well as a gradual awareness of what we had learned.”
Karen Gallas is a teacher-researcher who has taught in public schools of Massachusetts since 1972. While teaching, she has researched her own teaching philosophies and strategies, and has paid close attention to how children share their understandings. She also focuses on the role of the arts in learning, and has written some books about her experiences as a teacher-researcher and her findings. She received her Ed.D. in education from Boston University in 1981 and is a member of the Brookline Teacher Research Seminar.
Sonia Nieto –
Her eyes were bright, full of passion, full of kindness, full of intent not to lecture but to instead create an atmosphere where learning could happen. And so she created that atmosphere in a lecture room at The Evergreen State College – with her passion, kindness, and understanding. I had never heard of Sonia Nieto, but was urged to attend her talk she was giving at my college. Through exercises, discussions, questions and answers, and honesty, I managed to learn more in those two hours than I ever thought I could.
That day, Sonia Nieto got everyone in the room to think and talk about where we hold agency, or privilege, and where we don’t. We explored the idea of allyship. What does it really mean to be an ally? How do we continuously work towards being an ally?
Since then, I have read many of her articles, and have been waiting to get my hands on some of her books. Sonia truly understands what she writes and talks about. In no way does she claim to be the expert; she shows humility and makes it clear she is still striving to understand more and make change. Her ability to throw away the academic jargon and talk to people in ways we can understand and learn from was incredibly refreshing. Nothing is ‘dumbed down’, yet she makes her ideas accessible, which is something that I think many forget to do.
Sonia Nieto has experience teaching students all levels, from elementary to post grad, and from diverse backgrounds. She received her B.S. in Elementary Education from St. Johns University and proceeded to begin teaching in Brooklyn and The Bronx. Nieto then moved to Massachusetts and completed her doctoral studies n 1979 with specializations in curriculum studies, bilingual education, and multicultural education, and has written many books on those subjects.
Karin Chenoweth of The Education Trust. Her three books on high-achievement schools with challenging populations (It’s Being Done: Academic Success in Unexpected Schools, How It’s Being Done: Urgent Lessons from Unexpected Schools, and Getting It Done: Leading Academic Success in Unexpected Schools) give a blueprint of how to move schools and districts to high achievement for all students.
Reblogged this on elketeaches and commented:
Love it! 🙂
Constance Weaver-Grammar in context
Linda Christensen- Rethinking Schools
Naomi Shihab Nye- Poetry
Yes, yes, to both of these women. They are each, in their own way, quirkly, out of the box thinkers who remain true to their calling. Nye’s poem, “Famous” is one that I share with every group of students I work with. And Re-Thinking Schools is a beacon of good writing, progressive teaching, and just about the only non-apologetic progressive teaching tool around.
I am truly honored to be listed here. I have to tell you that I usually hate lists that share “the best….” or the “10 most readable….” or whatever, because NO ONE can know all that is out there or everyone that is our there and some amazing thinkers, writers, educators, twitterers, whateverers get left out. I hate exclusion of any kind.
So, what I really like about this is the crowdsourcing…the adding anyone that is suggested so that no one is excluded–there is no vetting, no examining of being “worthy” but instead there is trust in the crowd to share people we would all love to think with and get to know.
I also love that you are aiming for 100, but if we got 1000 that’s okay too–we’ll list folks who are suggested, and I, for one, will look to learn from them.
Thank you for starting this, my friend.
Your comment means a lot. I agree sometimes it is good just to celebrate, no ranking! This process is allowing me to learn something about all of these women. I am amazed by the variety of their work and their impact. Beyond that it is just fun!
By the way, I am taking on your challenge to get to 1000! 🙂 My first goal was 25… we are probably at 100 now.. I need to finish adding all the new names.
Marie Clay needs to be here. Her work with early literacy has impacted so many teachers, and thus, so many, many kids. She was an amazing educator whose work will continue to impact young children learning to read.
Love this. Here’s a few more:
– Elizabeth Bryne Ferm: Educator and author in the late 1800s and early 1900s, brought Froebel’s ideas to life, worked with Modern Schools, and wrote a great little book called Freedom in Education
– Betty Jean Lifton: Author of books and plays for children and adults, she also publicized the incredibly life and story of Janusz Korczak, a Polish educator and advocate for children’s rights who ran progressive orphanages before and during WWII and was killed with his students. Thanks to Betty Jean Lifton, we have an amazing biography about him called The King of Children
– Margaret Ledwith: British educator and Freirian scholar, she’s applied Freire’s work to youth organizing and social justice work. Amazing book by her: Participating in Transformation – Towards a Working Model of Community Empowerment.
– Lynn Mikel Brown: Foremost researchers and educators on girl empowerment and gender equality. Many great books including Girlfighting and Meeting at the Crossroads with Carol Gilligan.
Thanks for these Dana! I learned a lot! I am adding Emma Goldman too!
Oh, and Debora Ruf–a gifted educator (and educator who researches giftedness) who wrote one of my favorite books, originally titled “Losing Our Minds: Gifted Children Left Behind.” A must read for everyone, in my mind–it makes one think, even if the reader does not agree with all of it.
And then there’s Debbie Silver–an educational motivational speaker who recounts her stories of the classroom and will have you in tears one moment and laughing through those tears within another 30 seconds. She wrote another of my favorites, “Drumming to the Beat of Different Marchers: Finding the Rhythm for Teaching Differentiated Learning.” She’s an amazing speaker and educator.
And how could anyone who teaches gifted ed not mention Carole Tomlinson. Her work has brought differentiation to the forefront of many educators’ thinking–but she advocates it not for gifted children, but for all–and her definition of differentiation is “just good teaching.” As a teacher in my building says, “Everyone gets what they need.”
This really has me going now–expect more. 🙂
In my ongoing thinking about material tinkering next year, I think often of Limor Fried and Leah Buechley.
Please don’t forget Peggy McIntosh and Emily Style, co-founders of SEED, (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity. SEED trains teachers to lead seminars for their own faculty. Each month we devote time reading, thinking and talking about our own gendered experiences and its impact in the classroom. The experience changed my life forever.
Can’t believe I forgot to add Constance Kamii. Kamii has written many books on Piaget’s theory in practice and on reinventing math. Click on the link above to find a huge collection of her writing.
inkyhands answered: Susan Sontag
“Narrative development, autobiographical memory, children’s play, teaching and learning in schools, and the development of curiosity”
Most recently she is seen in the video for the Independent Project.
“Sally Jenkinson is a lecturer, mother and kindergarten teacher. She works for the Alliance for Childhood, having advised Waldorf kindergartens for many years. She is a respected contributor to British and European research conferences on early childhood. She is a tireless advocate of children’s holistic developmental needs, particularly to the Department for Employment and Education during their consultation on early years education for the national curriculum.” (http://www.steinerbooks.org/author.html?au=1007)
Iona Opie ” is a world-renowned researcher and writer on European folklore and children’s street culture. She is considered an authority on children’s rhymes, street & playground games and the Mother Goose tradition.”
Alice Waters, the chef, author and activist “bring school children into a new relationship with food by making a healthy, fresh, sustainable meal a part of the school day”
Also Helen Keller! Can’t believe we forgot her!
Also Helen Keller! Can’t believe we forgot her!
David, Thank you! What a wonderful group of women and I am honored to be mentioned. There are so many wonderful educators who have contributed to my life and the lives of so many already on this list. I am adding a few more ( although I could add many others) Angella Gibbons, Director of EarthWalk and Jane Jervis, past president Evergreen, Kathleen Kesson, previous EDU Program Director Mary Carr, Boston English High School and Fenway teacher.
Please add Pearl Rock Kane of the Klingenstein Center at Columbia to your list. Many independent school educators hold her in the highest of esteem.
Could you also add Heidi Hayes Jacobs of Curriculum 21. Genius!
Sarah B. Thomas
Jun 4 (2 days ago)
Via Margo Julia DiGregorio
Avital Ronell: Literary critc, philosopher and feminist
Examined Life – Judith Butler & Sunaura Taylor
Westview Press: Kinderculture by Shirley R. Steinberg
“I submit Carol Ames and Ann Brown.
Bill Sowder suggested “Louise Rosenblatt”
I would like to nominate Mary Utne O’Brien from CASEL who died in 2010. There is an award in her honor at CASEL. Mary Utne O’Brien Award To honor Mary’s memory and promote her dedication to high-quality practice in social and emotional learning. http://casel.org/publications/mary-utne-o%E2%80%99brien-award-brochure/
I have felt for a long time that “teacher leadership” suffered from the time-honored tradition of grooming (male) coaches for the (male) principalships, (male) superintendentships, and so on up the food chain. In gatherings of “teacher leaders”, I experienced the co-opting of discussions by those selfsame (male) teacher leaders that I finally opted not to play in their sandboxes any more. However, when I look at the voices that have been most influential in my practice, the education of students with disabilities, I am much heartened by the number of women who have come to shape my thinking:
And, I thank goodness for scholars in Disability Studies in Education who are appearing in the arena of public opinion more and more:
I’ve plenty of role models, new and established, whom I can follow when I seek to invent myself as a social activist and teacher leader.
For all the women who teach, even if you do not write, stand at the forefront or take the limelight of center-stage, remember to include yourselves. You do not need to be a “rock star” to be important.
Here are the names of four sisters from a family of eight children you are unlikely to have heard of: Elizabeth (Fisher) Miller; Helen (Fisher) Davis; Katheryn (Fisher) Tjart, and Irma (Fisher) Snavely. Each taught for decades — one for forty years. Each left their mark upon their students and all others they interacted with.
I would like to recommend that Bel Kaufman, author of “Up the Down Staircase” be added to this list.
Ella Flagg Young.
Marian Wright Edelman (Children’s Defense Fund) is one of my heroes. Her work for children is to be lauded.
Uh oh, dude, Loris Malaguzzi is a man, so I guess he has to come off the list, my bad. Can I offer a substitute? Louise Cadwell.
I would like to mention late Elisabeth Cohen, emeritus professor of education and sociology at Stanford University. I wrote a bit about her work here: http://shankerblog.org/?p=3324
Thank you for this wonderful project.
Lisa, did you include yourself? You are definitely a leader and educator that effects change as an advocate for students. If not done already, I would like to nominate Sheryl Nussbaum Beach for her work in mentoring educators on academia and technology to positively impact student achievement. Sheryl’s blog: http://www.21stcenturycollaborative.com
Dr. Elizabeth Coe is a Montessorian and created a secondary model for Montessori education.
Marilyn Burns came immediately to mind as someone who has informed my teaching of math – definitely a “must read” for new (or any, really) teachers. I’m also a big fan of Gail Boushey and Joan Moser (aka “The Two Sisters”), authors of ‘The Daily 5’ and ‘The CAFE Book’. These books completely changed the way I teach literacy.