This week, we’re looking back at the stories that resonated the most with you in 2016. This story was first published in November.
There’s no shortage of education “experts” out there.
You want access to big ideas. You thrive off creative thinking. But that’s assuming you have the time—and the patience—to cut through all the noise. The Internet’s a big place. Do you really want to spend your time kicking the tires on 20,000 blogs and social media accounts—and for what, to find half a dozen people you can trust?
We get it. That’s why we’ve done that work for you!
Welcome to the inaugural installment of the TrustED 20, a judiciously vetted and painstakingly curated list of splash-making education thought leaders who are worthy of your time to read, friend, and follow.
Our list includes a unique mix of current and former teachers, administrators, innovators, and education advocates, each of whom cuts a compelling narrative about the state and future of our nation’s public schools.
Welcome to the TrustED 20 (appearing in no particular order).
Eric Sheninger @E_Sheninger
An award-winning former principal and best-selling author, Sheninger writes about school leadership and student engagement. His collection of thought-provoking and practical posts shed light on the need for thoughtful technology implementation, more effective learning strategies, and stronger school branding, among other ideas. A senior fellow and thought leader on digital leadership with the International Center for Leadership in Education, Sheninger brings some serious street cred to any water-cooler conversation about the need for stronger, more creative school-building leadership. esheninger.blogspot.com
Matthew Lynch @lynch39083
The sheer number of blogs Matthew Lynch manages alone might put him on our list. Lynch writes and manages the Education Week blog, Education Futures: Emerging Trends in K-12. He’s also the creator of The Edvocate and its recent sister site, The Tech Edvocate. But Lynch’s professional resume is the real reason you should take notice. A former social studies teacher, Lynch is a professor and researcher committed to finding solutions to help America’s schools. He writes and speaks frequently on such topics as school leadership, technology, and equity. blogs.edweek.org/edweek/education_futures
Angela Maiers @AngelaMaiers
With over 25 years of education experience, Angela Maiers has serious chops—and a serious social media following to boot. Through her “Choose2Matter” initiative, Maiers empowers students to acknowledge their self-worth and use their own voice to impact learning. If you’re looking for ways to uplift and engage students, Maiers’ blog is as good as it gets. www.angelamaiers.com
Steven W. Anderson @web20classroom
A former teacher and director of instructional technology, Anderson brings a lighter side to the school reform movement. His blog, Blogging about the Web 2.0 Connected Classroom, gives teachers and administrators insight on using social media for education, best practices for technology implementation, and introduces cutting-edge tools and programs that teachers can use in their classrooms. If you’re looking to implement ed-tech in your school or classroom, Anderson’s blog should be one of your first stops. blog.web20classroom.org
Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher
The “Cool Cat Teacher,” Davis focuses on everyday tools and strategies for the classroom. Whether you’re in the market for new learning innovations, grants and offers to help teachers stock their classrooms, or new teaching methods or ideas to help move the needle on student achievement, Davis tackles all of these issues and more. Her blog also features audio interviews with well-known education leaders. Looking for practical advice for your schools or classrooms? Davis is one cool cat—and a must follow. www.coolcatteacher.com
Erin Klein @KleinErin
Ready to be “Kleinspired?” Ready to discover new ways that education technology can be used to enhance the student experience? Erin Klein’s experiences as an educator, author, and speaker fuel her blog, Kleinspiration. Read it to uncover new teaching strategies, innovative technology implementations, and the latest and greatest classroom tools. Klein brings a ton of experience to her posts. She’s been an ASCD Emerging Leader, a featured speaker for the national Digital Learning Day, and a SMART Technologies Exemplary Educator, to name a few. kleinspiration.com
George Couros @gcouros
Couros has been a principal and technology chief in schools across Canada. He uses his blog to highlight stories of innovative school leadership and to empower students to follow their passions in the classroom. A main theme of Couros’ work is that change is inevitable—and something that we should embrace, especially in schools. Without it, there is no innovation. Ready to make change in your schools? Follow Couros to get the ball rolling. georgecouros.ca/blog
Andrew Rotherham @arotherham
A co-founder of the non-profit Bellwether Education Partners, Rotherham is an expert on education philosophy and policy. His blog, Eduwonk, offers deep insights on the latest federal and state education policy debates. If you’re looking for updates and analysis on the politics surrounding education—i.e. the latest on ESSA implementation—Rotherham’s your man. Rotherham espouses the power of education to spur upward mobility for America’s underserved communities. www.eduwonk.com
Scott McLeod @mcleod
McLeod is the Founding Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE), an academic center that studies the technology needs of schools and school leaders. McLeod’s expertise in school technology and innovation has led to honors from the National School Boards Association and ISTE. His blog, Dangerously Irrelevant, explores K12 learning strategies, policies, and the power of technology to innovate our schools. Sounds dangerously relevant! dangerouslyirrelevant.org
Diane Ravitch @DianeRavitch
When it comes to K12 education policy, Diane Ravitch is something of an institution. An NYU professor and historian of education, Ravitch’s blog and social media networks follow the latest battles over school choice, accountability, and the other thorny political issues affecting public education. Unlike others on this list who focus on strategies for classrooms or school administrators, Ravitch explores the nuts-and-bolts politics and policies affecting our schools. Her posts tend to get people talking. Her opinions are her own. dianeravitch.net
Tom Murray @thomascmurray
Another former school principal, Murray is the Director of Innovation for the Alliance for Excellent Education’s Future Ready Schools project. He’s also a big advocate for the advancement of education technology and writes often about the importance of student-centered, personalized learning in the classroom. If you’re on the conference circuit, chances are you’ve seen him speak. Follow him here—and say hello. thomascmurray.com/blog
Anthony Salcito @AnthonySalcito
Salcito is one of only a few of the thought leaders on our list who’s not a current or former educator. As the Vice President for Education at Microsoft, Salcito’s “Daily Edventures” blog focuses on how technology can enhance the classroom experience. Mostly through posts and interviews with leading educators, Salcito provides keen insight from the perspective of the school technology provider. A train of thought that might be worth exploring ahead of your next big-ticket technology decision. dailyedventures.com
Terry Heick @terryheick
Heick got his start as a classroom teacher, but moves beyond the classroom here. TeachThought, the blog he founded and directs, explores how learning is changing in the 21st century. There’s a lot about education technology here—it’s hard to talk about the future without at least mentioning technology. But his main thrust is not technology, per se; it’s how new technology and social trends affect learning, and how educators can adapt to those changes. www.teachthought.com
Tom Vander Ark @tvanderark
Do a quick google search of “innovation + schools” and Vander Ark’s name will likely be among your top results. As an advocate, writer, and investor, Vander Ark focuses on how best to re-design our schools for the future. He founded and is executive editor of Getting Smart, a popular blog that features the latest on education technology, school leadership, and learning. He also writes the “Vander Ark on Innovation” column for Education Week. For Vander Ark, any type of change in schools is fair game— whatever it takes to help students succeed in this new era of learning. gettingsmart.com
Kasey Bell @shakeuplearning
Admittedly, Kasey Bell has a bit of a bias to Google. Many of the posts on her Shake Up Learning blog provide pointers and updates on Google-fueled learning. But Bell also occasionally goes beyond simple technology pointers to examine how technology can be used to enhance learning. So, whether you use Google in your schools or not, she’s worth a follow. It’s certainly hard to argue with her credentials. Among other things, she was awarded a Digital Innovation in Learning Award from EdSurge and Digital Promise. She’s a Google Certified Innovator. www.shakeuplearning.com/blog
Megan M. Allen @Redhdteacher
She calls herself an “Edugeek,” but Allen is first and foremost an expert on teacher leadership. A 2010 Florida Teacher of the Year, Allen now directs a college-level Master of Arts in Teacher Leadership program. She writes “An Edugeek’s Guide to K-12 Practice and Policy” for Education Week. On the blog, Allen explores the ins-and-outs of a range of hot-button issues, from school funding to student assessment. And she goes deep, too, sometimes asking big questions, such as what does leadership mean in education. Spend some time geeking out on education with Allen. We do. blogs.edweek.org/teachers/edugeek_guide
Valerie Strauss @valeriestrauss
A staple of national education policy reporting, the Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss dives into the issues facing America’s schools via her popular “Answer Sheet” blog. Strauss expertly connects the dots on education policy, and she deftly links education with world affairs. If you want to understand the politics, challenges, and trends facing public education in this country, the Answer Sheet is a must read. www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet
Jose Vilson @TheJLV
Vilson is a New York City math teacher as well as a speaker and activist. On his blog, Vilson tackles challenges facing teachers in urban school districts. He also explores the many ways in which race and culture intersect with our education system. Vilson has a decidedly different take on education than many of the others on this list. So, if you’re looking for a perspective often underrepresented in education thought leadership, you should give this one a shot. thejosevilson.com
Peter DeWitt @PeterMDeWitt
Peter DeWitt is a nationally-recognized advocate for collaborative leadership and inclusive school learning environments. In his “Finding Common Ground” blog for Education Week, DeWitt tackles issues facing both school leaders and teachers. He provides ideas for new learning strategies and poses questions for school leaders to better measure and evaluate their own leadership approach. blogs.edweek.org/edweek/finding_common_ground
Will Richardson @willrich45
Richardson has more than 22 years of experience in schools, both as a teacher and technology administrator. He now travels the world speaking and consulting and helping school leaders navigate the chaotic world of education technology. At its core, Richardson’s work is about defining the role of schools and education in a connected world. willrichardson.com
Love this list? Know somebody who you think should be on it? Drop us a line in the comments section. We’re already taking suggestions for next year.