Famous American Educators

Eons before kindergarten became an integral part of our education system and a compulsory one at that, young children were made to slog at factories and mines, clean chimneys and work as household helps. They attended no school and were deprived of basic education. What is even scarier is that the children were considered adults by the tender age of seven. Thanks to a man named Friedrich Froebel who laid the foundation for pre-school education by inventing kindergarten. But he isn’t the only one. History is rife with many such powerful educational reformers and educators who with their vision, dedication, and hard work did everything in their power to make the world a better place. When we think of educators, names like Confucius, Aristotle, John Locke and Henry David Thoreau spring readily in our minds. But even America has homed educators who have rocked history by breaking down all barriers, opening new doors of understanding, and revolutionizing the teaching method. Dr. Temple Grandin, Anne Sullivan, Stephen Hawking, Elizabeth Blackwell, Emma Willard and Lisa Delpit are examples of some of America’s eminent educators who redefined education system in their own unique way. Let us explore their timeline, trivia, and interesting facts in the biographies below.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite American Educators

 1 Helen Keller

Helen Keller.
0
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: June 27, 1880
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tuscumbia, Alabama, United States
Died: June 1, 1968

A prolific author, having written 12 published books and several articles, Helen Keller was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. Her autobiography, The Story of My Life, made Keller famous and was adapted for film and stage. She was also an activist and campaigned for women's suffrage, labour rights, socialism and other such causes.

 2 Booker T. Washington

Booker T. Washington.
0
Birthdate: April 5, 1856
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Westlake Corner, Virginia, United States
Died: November 14, 1915
Booker T. Washington was born into slavery but rose to be an advisor to many U.S. presidents and also became the director of the Tuskegee Institute. His Atlanta Compromise, initially accepted and later rejected by black leaders, urged the blacks to work for their freedom through education and not revolt.

 3 Isaac Asimov

Isaac Asimov.
0
Famous As: Novelist, Professor
Birthdate: January 2, 1920
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Petrovichi, Russian SFSR
Died: April 6, 1992

Isaac Asimov was an American writer. Best known for his science fiction works, Asimov was regarded as one of the Big Three writers along with Arthur C. Clarke and Robert A. Heinlein. Asimov is credited with influencing most sci-fi writers since the 1950s. Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman stated that one of Asimov's works inspired him to take up Economics.

 4 John Dewey

John Dewey.
6
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 20, 1859
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Burlington, Vermont, United States
Died: June 1, 1952

A staunch advocate of progressive education and liberalism, the American philosopher and psychologist was the founder of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. John Dewey’s famous writings included The Reflex Arc Concept in Psychology and Human Nature and Conduct. According to him, passion for knowledge and intellectual curiosity were central to a teacher. He called himself a democratic socialist.

 5 Rachel Dolezal

Rachel Dolezal.
11
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: November 12, 1977
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lincoln County, Montana, U.S

 6 Anita Hill

Anita Hill
14
Famous As: Attorney
Birthdate: July 30, 1956
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Morns, Oklahoma, USA

 7 Mary Kay Letourneau

Mary Kay Letourneau
0
Famous As: Criminal
Birthdate: January 30, 1962
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tustin, California, United States
Died: July 6, 2020
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 8 Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich
19
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: June 17, 1943
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, United States

 9 John Astin

John Astin.
2
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 30, 1930
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
John Astin is best known as Gomez Addams from the 1960s’ series The Addams Family. He was a known face in movies of the horror-comedy/parody genre, such as the Killer Tomatoes films. Some of his other notable films were West Side Story, Freaky Friday, and National Lampoon's European Vacation.

 10 Stedman Graham

Stedman Graham.
4
Famous As: Educator
Birthdate: March 6, 1951
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Whitesboro, New Jersey, United States
Stedman Graham is known to people as the partner of legendary talk show host Oprah Winfrey. He owns the marketing firm S. Graham & Associates and has also authored many business and self-help books, taught at Full Sail University, and spoken at various events. He owns a non-profit, too.

 11 Sal Khan

Sal Khan
2
Famous As: Teacher
Birthdate: October 11, 1976
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Metairie, Louisiana, U.S.

What began as amateur math tutorials for his cousin later became Sal Khan’s dream project, the online education platform Khan Academy, which now has over 42 million users worldwide. Named to Time 100 in 2012, the American-born Bengali former hedge fund analyst is an MIT and Harvard alumnus.

 12 Tony Danza

Tony Danza
2
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 21, 1951
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

 13 Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson
7
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: December 19, 1975
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lincoln, Nebraska, U.S.

Best known for works such as the Mistborn trilogy and The Emperor's Soul, sci-fi and epic fantasy author Brandon Sanderson had initially studied biochemistry and then switched to literature. He has also worked as a missionary in South Korea and now teaches creative writing at his alma, Brigham Young University.

 14 Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates.
7
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: September 30, 1975
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States

Author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates gained international prominence while serving as the national correspondent at The Atlantic. His writings on socio-political issues related to African Americans and white supremacy garnered him much appreciation. He is a recipient of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center Prize for Writing to Advance Social Justice. He also writes fiction and comics.

 15 Katie Porter

Katie Porter
2
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: January 3, 1974
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Fort Dodge, Iowa, U.S.

 16 Karen Pence

Karen Pence
35
Famous As: Educator
Birthdate: January 1, 1957
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kansas, USA

 17 Ben Sasse

Ben Sasse
14
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: February 22, 1972
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Plainview, Nebraska, USA

 18 Martha McSally

Martha McSally
12
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: March 22, 1966
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Warwick, Rhode Island, U.S.

 19 Anne Sullivan

Anne Sullivan.
2
Famous As: American Teacher, Instructor
Birthdate: April 14, 1866
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Feeding Hills
Died: October 20, 1936

 20 Brene Brown

Brene Brown
2
Famous As: Researcher
Birthdate: November 18, 1965
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: San Antonio, Texas, U.S.

 21 Betty Shabazz

Betty Shabazz
2
Famous As: Educator
Birthdate: May 28, 1934
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Pinehurst, Georgia, United States
Died: June 23, 1997

 22 Dennis Hastert

Dennis Hastert
2
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: January 2, 1942
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Aurora, Illinois, USA

 23 George P. Bush

George P. Bush
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: April 24, 1976
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, U.S.

 24 Chuck Todd

Chuck Todd
3
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: April 8, 1972
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Miami, Florida, USA

 25 Robby Benson

Robby Benson.
11
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 21, 1956
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Dallas, Texas, United States

Robby Benson is an American actor, filmmaker, composer, singer, and teacher. He gained popularity in the late-1970s when he established himself as a teen idol, appearing in films like Ice Castles and One on One. Apart from being an entertainer, Robby Benson is also a fundraiser and activist for heart research.

 26 Marilyn vos Savant

Marilyn vos Savant
7
Famous As: Columnist
Birthdate: August 11, 1946
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

 27 John G. Trump

John G. Trump
9
Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: August 21, 1907
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: February 21, 1985

Better known as former U.S. president Donald Trump’s uncle, John G. Trump was an MIT physicist and engineer. Though he had initially aspired to be an architect and join his brother Fred’s real-estate business, John later concentrated on his research that led to the invention of high-voltage generators.

 28 Jane Elliott

Jane Elliott
2
Famous As: Schoolteacher
Birthdate: May 27, 1933
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Riceville, Mitchell County, Iowa, USA

 29 Sherrod Brown

Sherrod Brown
2
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: November 9, 1952
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mansfield, Ohio Mansfield, Ohio, U.S.

 30 William Edwards Deming

W. Edwards Deming.
2
Famous As: Statistician, Electrical Engineer
Birthdate: October 14, 1900
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Sioux City
Died: December 20, 1993

Born to a lawyer, William Edwards Deming grew up to become a renowned mathematical physicist and later taught statistics at the New York University. His research focused on the application of statistical methods to improve quality control in various industries. His ideas were later widely used by Japanese corporates.

 31 W. Edwards Deming

W. Edwards Deming
2
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: October 14, 1900
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Sioux City
Died: December 20, 1993

 32 Danny Lloyd

Danny Lloyd
2
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 1, 1972
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, USA

 33 August Coppola

August Coppola
2
Famous As: Academic
Birthdate: February 16, 1934
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hartford, Connecticut, USA
Died: October 27, 2009

 34 Sonya Curry

Sonya Curry.
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Famous As: Dell Curry's Wife
Birthdate: May 30, 1966
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Radford, Virginia, United States

 35 Erin Gruwell

Erin Gruwell
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Famous As: Teacher
Birthdate: August 15, 1969
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: California

 36 Lawrence Summers

Lawrence Summers
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Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: November 30, 1954
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New Haven, Connecticut, United States

Apart from being the president of Harvard, Lawrence Summers has also been the U.S. secretary of the treasury, the World Bank’s chief economist, and the NEC director. The MIT alumnus became one of the youngest tenured faculty members at Harvard. He also writes regularly for The Washington Post.

 37 Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Henry Louis Gates Jr.
2
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: September 16, 1950
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Keyser, West Virginia

 38 Erin Murphy

Erin Murphy
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 17, 1964
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Encino, California, USA

 39 Dan Savage

Dan Savage
2
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: October 7, 1964
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, USA

 40 Edward Said

Edward Said.
0
Famous As: Professor
Birthdate: November 1, 1935
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mandatory Palestine
Died: September 25, 2003

 41 Adam Nimoy

Adam Nimoy
2
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: August 9, 1956
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA

 42 Ennis Cosby

Ennis Cosby
0
Famous As: Teacher
Birthdate: April 15, 1969
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: January 16, 1997

 43 Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan.
2
Famous As: Author, Journalist, Activist
Birthdate: February 6, 1955
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Long Island, New York, United States
Author and journalist Michael Pollan is best known for his books such as The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food, which talk about the social impact of people’s culinary choices. He has also contributed to The New York Times Magazine and Harper's Magazine, and currently teaches journalism at UCB.

 44 John F. MacArthur

John F. MacArthur
2
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: June 19, 1939
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

 45 Philip Baker Hall

Philip Baker Hall
15
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 10, 1931
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Toledo, Ohio, USA

 46 Jill Biden

Jill Biden.
188
Famous As: First Lady of the United States
Birthdate: June 3, 1951
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hammonton, New Jersey

The former Second Lady of the United States, Jill Biden is the wife of Joe Biden, the 2020 presidential candidate. A passionate educator who is also fiercely independent, Jill continued to work as a full-time professor even when she was the Second Lady.  A vocal supporter of community colleges, she has also been supportive of military families and cancer research.

 47 Kathy Reichs

Kathy Reichs
2
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: July 7, 1948
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, USA

 48 Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay
2
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 15, 1974
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.

 49 Bill Ayers

Bill Ayers
2
Famous As: educator, autobiographer, university teacher, journalist
Birthdate: December 26, 1944
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Glen Ellyn

 50 Sylvia Earle

Sylvia Earle
2
Famous As: Marine biologist
Birthdate: August 30, 1935
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Gibbstown, New Jersey, U.S.