As the daughter of a public school teacher, I was raised with the understanding that educators have the most important jobs out there. Forget captains of industry, politicians or the doctors who kept us healthy, without the work of teachers none of them could do what they do.
Of course, for all of its importance education can be a thankless job. On nights when my mother returns home from a school day that ended at 3 as late as 6pm, she spends evenings making calls and sending emails to parents who often care less about their child's grades than their teacher does. She earned her Master's three years ago and spends her weekends traveling to seminars and retreats to learn the latest techniques and technologies to give her kids the best chance at success-all while taking in stride jokes about teaching as the "easiest profession" for its short hours and summers off.
All this to say I was thrilled to work on FORBES 30 under 30: Education list, which is new to the package this year. Would there even be such a list without education? Gut reaction: absolutely not. Our brilliant editors and staffers have our own teachers to credit for putting us behind these desks.
30 Under 30: Education Full Coverage
The 30 Gen-Yers on our list are innovators, advocates, thought-leaders and reformers. Through outreach initiatives and engineering they're committed, like my mom, to giving kids everywhere the best chance at success. They're committed to making the lives of teachers like her just a little bit easier, whether through technology that saves them precious minutes communicating with parents or helps them use data analytics to track performance more efficiently than traditional paper grade books ever could.
Others are reinventing higher education with programs like Jeremy Johnson's 2U. As the cofounder of 2U (which until this Fall was known as 2tor), Johnson, 28, is at the forefront of the online education revolution. The great white hope? That getting a degree online will become on par with, if not preferred to, an on-campus education. With USC and Georgetown now offering for-credit graduate level coursework online, 2U seems on-track to make that dream a reality, removing costly barriers in the process.
Johnson may be the standout in the category, but he's in good company. Click through the gallery for the 30 men and women who are disrupting education from top to bottom. To learn more, visit their websites and follow them on social (you'll find that all on the 30u30 lander). Reach out to congratulate them, to give them well-deserved credit for their hard work.
And if you do get in touch with them, ask what teacher they have to thank for helping them land on our pages.