Step aside boys, these women are taking the education industry by storm.

Here are 5 influential women currently working in education. These women range from the President of an Ivy League College, to a POTUS appointed secretary, to writers of impactful studies. Some of them are pioneers in their respected positions, being the first woman to hold their respective offices. It is evident by their achievements that I am not the only one that thinks they are making a big impact in the education sector.

Martha Kanter

Martha J. Kanter is the under secretary of education. She was nominated by President Barack Obama in April 2009 and was confirmed by the Senate in June 2009. Within this position of under secretary of education, she reports directly to the Secretary of Education. She is in charge of overseeing policies, programs, and activities related to postsecondary education, adult and career-technical education, federal student aid, as well as six White House Initiatives.

She is spearheading Obama’s goal of making the U.S. the best educated in the world by 2020. In order to do this she focuses on improving college access for young adults, making college more affordable for everyone, as well as improving quality of education. An example of her accomplishing these goals is within her first two years, she implemented the Direct Student Loan program which resulted in a 50-percent increase in college enrollment. Additionally, she increased the students who are Pell Grant recipients from 6 million to 9 million.

To recognize her accomplishments in education, she has received many awards. She was named Woman of the Year by the 24th Assembly District among other women of the year awards. She also received the Excellence in Education award from the National organization for Women’s California Chapter. These are just a few of her recognitions.


Stephanie Bravo

Stephanie Bravo is the Founder of connects college students with mentors from many industries and professions in order to help the students achieve their academic and career goals. This site is beneficial for students because many studies have been done that found that students with mentors are more likely to graduate than students without.

Creating this site and program has pushed her into the forefront of educational initiatives. She has been invited to the White House to meet with the President about the site and the role it has in helping to improve college completion as well as preparedness of students for the workforce. This initiative was taken in high regard by the President so they launched a partnership in 2012 to bring this initivative into the spotlight.

She graduated with honors from San Jose State University with a B.A. in Psychology, where she then attended Stanford University earning a M.A. in Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership. She has also been recognized as the top 100 most influential women in Silicon Valley in 2013 as well as a Fellow of the National hispana Leadership Institute and a Hispanic Scholarship Fund Scholar.


Carol Burris

Carol Burris has been the Executive Director of the Network for Public Education Foundation since August 2015. Before this position she was a principal and teacher at both the middle and high school levels throughout New York. She is a proponent for the misuse and unintended consequences of high-stakes testing. Her dissertation, which studied district’s detracking reform in math, helped to get her recognition within the industry. The dissertation won the 2003 National Association of Secondary Schools’ Principals Middle Level Dissertation of the Year Award.

Additionally she has co-authored Detracking for Excellence and Equity (2008) and Opening the Common Core: How to bring ALL Students to College and Career Readiness (2012). More recently she wrote a piece entitled On the Same Track: How Schools Can Join the 21st Century Struggle Against Re-segretation (2014).

Her works have appeared in Educational Leadership, Kappan, American Educational Research Journal, Theory into Practice, American School Board Journal, as well as the Washington Post and The Answer Sheet blog.


Belle Wheelan

Dr. Belle Wheelan is the current President of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. She is the first African American and the first woman to serve in this capacity. She is a pioneer in the industry for both women and African Americans, working over the span of 40 years in positions like chief student services officer, college president, and Secretary of Education.

She is a member of many distinguished societies on local, state and national levels. Some of these organizations include; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the President’s Round Table of the National Council on Black American Affairs. She also serves on the board of directors for many organizations like the American College Testing, Inc and the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame.

Countless awards and recognitions have been given to her as well. She was named Washingtonian Magazine’s 100 Most Powerful Women In Washington DC in 2012. She has won the AAUW Women of Distrinction Award, the AACC Leadership Award, as well as the John Jope Franklin Award from Diverse Issues in Higher Education for outstanding leadership in higher education. These are just some of the awards and recognitions she has obtained.


Drew Gilpin Faust

Drew Gilpin Faust is the currently the 28th president of Harvard University and the Lincoln Professor of History in Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. While at the college, she has accomplished many things such as expanding financial aid, broadening the University’s international reach, raising the profile of arts on campus, and creating many partnerships with other organizations.

Before becoming the president of Harvard University, she was the Annenberg Professor Of History at the University of Pennsylvania. She has also authored six books which have won various awards including being a finalist for both the National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize.

Some of her honors include awards in 1982 and 1996 for distinguished teaching. She was also elected to the Society of American Historians in 1993, the American Academy of Arts and Science in 1994, and the American Philosophical Society in 2004.