Marilyn Rhames

Guest Blogger

Alumni Support Manager, Chicago Charter School

Chicago, Illinois

Marilyn Anderson Rhames has taught in district and charter schools in Chicago since 2004. She now serves as alumni support manager at a K-8 charter school, helping graduates persist through high school and on to college and careers.

Rhames authors a popular self-titled blog for Education Post. Previously, she spent four years writing the Education Week Teacher blog, Charting My Own Course, for which she won the Bammy Awards’ 2013 Commentator/Blogger of the Year. That year, online readers also voted Rhames for the Educators’ Voice Award and she went on to give a TEDx talk titled Finding the Courage to Voice the Taboo. Since then, Rhames has been a regular guest on 90.1 FM Moody Radio Chicago to provide both human and spiritual perspectives on matters concerning public education.

A 2016 Surge Institute fellow, Rhames is dedicated to promoting more diverse education leadership to improve the education of students of color. She was also a Teach Plus teaching policy fellow in Chicago from 2010 to 2012.  In 2011, Rhames founded the Christian nonprofit Teachers Who Pray, which to date has more than 70 school chapters nationwide. She believes that tapping into the spiritual nature of teaching is a key, but often missing, component to providing the highest quality of education possible. Earlier this year, Rhames edited the picture book “The Emancipation of Grandpa Sandy Wills,” a slave narrative for middle-school students.

Prior to becoming a teacher, Rhames worked as a reporter for People and Time magazines, as well as New York Newsday and The Journal-News newspapers. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University and a master’s in education from National Louis University. Rhames is married to a music producer and is the mother to three children: an aspiring pianist, violinist, and singer-babbler.

RECENT POSTS

Posted May 23, 2017

Founders, Eggs and Fists: How the NewSchools Summit Proved That the Fight Over Education Is Spiritual

When the NewSchools Summit in San Francisco ended last week, Black attendees were asking me what I would write about…

By Marilyn Rhames

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Posted May 15, 2017

Race, Reform and the Firestorm: Reflections on Our Progress a Year Later

One year ago, I excused myself from dinner with friends and returned to my hotel room to blog about my…

By Marilyn Rhames

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Posted May 13, 2017

Happy Mother’s Day: A Tribute to Black Moms Who Use Education as Their North Star

Whenever you see a low-income, single Black mother, I challenge you not to judge. I challenge you to see greatness…

By Marilyn Rhames

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Posted May 8, 2017

The Invisible Teacher: How the Secret Lives of Educators Can Impact Students

When you enter a school, it’s easy to notice the brightly colored bulletin boards and the roar of chatter spilling…

By Marilyn Rhames

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Posted Apr. 18, 2017

A Candid Convo With a Chicago Principal Who Says Black Boys Learn Best When Success Looks Like Them

Christopher Goins is the founding principal of Butler College Prep, a four-year-old charter high school on the far South Side…

By Marilyn Rhames

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Posted Apr. 13, 2017

Here’s Where It Landed When Ed Reformers Talked About Race Behind Closed Doors

“But life at its best is a creative synthesis of opposites in fruitful harmony.” ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  …

By Marilyn Rhames

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Posted Apr. 10, 2017

Power, Policy and Prayer: My Eye-Opening Phone Call With Betsy DeVos

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog expressing my exasperation with my children’s public school education and my attraction…

By Marilyn Rhames

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Posted Apr. 6, 2017

Ms. Rhames Goes to Washington: My Visit at the U.S. Department of Education

U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos mentioned me by name in her keynote speech (starting at 29 min.) at the…

By Marilyn Rhames

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Posted Mar. 22, 2017

When the Only Real Choice Is Private: My Unlikely Attraction to School Vouchers

I felt that the free education my daughter was getting was just too expensive. I needed to find a school that would start filling her academic gaps while also providing culturally responsive pedagogy.…

By Marilyn Rhames

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Posted Feb. 15, 2017

The Greatest Teaching Tool a School Can Have? Love.

Somewhere along the way, public schools stopped investing in the souls of children.…

By Marilyn Rhames

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Posted May 24, 2017

I Made Every Phone Call, Sent Every Email, Text and Tweet So My Student Could Attend the College of Her Dreams

For two years in my English class, we had talked about her dreams of becoming an intelligence analyst at the CIA. Unlike some students, this…

By Anna Baldwin

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Posted May 24, 2017

When Paying Rent Is So Stressful That You Get Evicted, Arrested and Drop Out

During my senior year of high school, college was a subject I didn’t like to talk about. I knew I didn’t want to go, but…

By Kalil Warner

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Posted May 25, 2017

A Principal Helping Kids to Be the First in Their Family to Go to College, Just Like He Was

First-generation college student Vincent Gay started his journey on a wrestling scholarship at Edinboro University, near Erie, Pennsylvania. Early on, he got into such difficulty…

By Maureen Kelleher

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