Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

5 Women Who Shape Education Policy 5 Women Who Shape Education Policy

This ad will end in seconds
Close X

Want access to this content? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation


Not a member? Forgot your password?

5 Women Who Shape Education Policy


5 Women Who Shape Education Policy

Nina Rees implemented much of President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act while Carmel Martin oversaw Race to the Top grant applications.

By National Journal Staff

This year, National Journal's Women in Washington list focuses on women who exercise powerful influence in five policy areas: energy, health care, technology, defense, and education.

Carmel Martin (Richard A. Bloom)Carmel Martin, Executive Vice President for Policy, Center for American Progress

Martin was Education Secretary Arne Duncan's right-hand aide until March, when she left her post as assistant secretary to run the education-research unit at the liberal Center for American Progress. At the department, she oversaw Duncan's major endeavors, including Race to the Top grant applications. At CAP, Martin is a go-to expert on all things K-12. She previously worked for education guru Edward Kennedy in the Senate.

Karen Lewis, President, Chicago Teachers Union

Anyone who can go toe to toe with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel must have some stamina. As president of the Chicago Teachers Union, Lewis has been on the front lines of the city's battles over longer school days, teacher evaluations, and salaries. She led the 2012 teachers union strike, when her members sought a 30 percent pay increase.

Melinda Gates  (Richard A. Bloom)Melinda Gates, Cochair, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Gates is the non-Microsoft face of a philanthropic organization that has revolutionized how education is viewed in the United States. The Gates Foundation bankrolls dozens of groups dedicated to reforming public schools, and is a big supporter and funder of the controversial Common Core State Standards. She is also a prominent force for reducing global poverty.

Nina Rees, President and CEO, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

Rees is an outspoken advocate of school choice and has frequently functioned as a conservative spokeswoman on education. She implemented much of President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act, and served as an education adviser to Mitt Romney during the 2012 campaign.

Deborah Delisle, Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education

At the Education Department, Delisle—Arne Duncan's top aide on all matters pertaining to pre-K and K-12—is in charge of approving states' requests for No Child Left Behind waivers. Before joining the department, she was a senior fellow at the International Center for Leadership in Education, which partners with schools and districts to create best practices for classrooms.

This article appears in the July 26, 2014 edition of National Journal Magazine as 25 Women Who Shape National Policy.


When Fundraisers Cater to Women