Marilyn Anderson Rhames started her career as an Ivy League-trained journalist and a promising New York City reporter at PEOPLE and TIME magazines. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 compelled her to quit her job as a newspaper reporter to follow her secret passion: teaching children. She returned to her native Chicago, and enrolled in a graduate program for education, and began her journey as a public school teacher. In 2011, after nearly ten years of teaching grades 3 through 8, Marilyn started to write again.
Marilyn was named 2013 Commentator/Blogger of the Year by the Bammy Awards, and she has gone on to author more than 300 education op-eds and blogs published in The New York Times, Education Week, Huffington Post, Education Post, RealClearEducation, and Black Enterprise, among others. She has served as a conference speaker and thought partner at numerous universities, including Harvard and Yale. Marilyn has delivered two TEDx talks –“Finding the Courage to Voice the Taboo” and “Why Faith Will Fix Education.” She has served as a regular education commentator on Moody Radio Chicago and edited a math curriculum, a children’s book, and a teacher prayer guide. A nonpartisan bridge builder, Marilyn’s voice has advised two U.S. Secretaries of Education in both Democratic and Republican administrations.
Armed with a strong Christian faith, Marilyn founded the nonprofit Teachers Who Pray in 2011. TWP has more than 100 chapters nationally and is helping teachers ground their work in faith, prayer, and spiritual practices. Her 15 years in public education and the school reform debate has convinced her that the changes parents, educators, and policymakers so vigorously demand won’t come through increased funding and better policy alone. No, education is as much of a spiritual pursuit as it is a social, legal, or intellectual one. Yet very few leaders in the profession are willing to acknowledge the spiritual dimension of the work, let alone offer up spiritual solutions.
In The Master Teacher, Marilyn boldly addresses the divine nature of education while honoring the humanity of the teachers who deliver it. Marilyn is not afraid to address the taboo issues that go unspoken in education yet cause so much harm: racism, classism, hypocrisy, political corruption and empty piety—particularly in the Christian community.
Marilyn is challenging educators of faith to do what the Master Teacher did, not just quote what He said. This wife and mother of three became an educator because of a spiritual calling, and she believes, without apology, that faith in action is the only way to rescue the public school system from itself.