44. Linda Darling-Hammond
Linda Darling-Hammond is the president of the State Board of Education, the policy-making body that sets academic standards and curriculum for California’s sprawling K-12 educational system, which serves about 6 million students. If anyone was qualified for this gig, it’s Darling-Hammond. She’s a professor in education at Stanford University, the founding president of the nationally known Learning Policy Institute, and at Stanford founded the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education. She started out as a public school teacher, and founded a pre-school and high school. She’s got more than 60 publications to her credit – no, we won’t name them all, but one of them is partly titled “The Flat World and Education,” which sounds good, even for an academic tome. Darling-Hammond has a BA from Yale, and her doctorate in education from Temple.