What needs to change to develop the talents of all our nation's students? Meet 10 education troublemakers who are shaking things up in big bold ways. Some are empowering passionate and creative teaching methods; others are creating entirely new school models and a couple are still students themselves. Watch these troublemakers share their story and we think you'll agree - while there's much to do, an education revolution is underway.

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John Werner

Chief Mobilization Officer & Managing Director, Citizen Schools

John is an activist, athlete, change agent, connector, educator, idea generator, parent, photographer, social entrepreneur, technologist and founding member and current Chief Mobilizing Officer of Citizen Schools. Over the past 17 years at Citizen Schools John has redesigned, and redefined, classroom learning; developed a pipeline for the next generation leaders; created opportunities for all adults to take part in the education of youth in their community; and helped youth create paths towards high school graduation, college, and career success. Citizen Schools helps students develop self-confidence and a zest for learning by achieving mastery and creating products of value to the community. John has helped transform Citizen Schools into a thriving national educational program with over 500 employees, an annual budget of $27 million, and programs in seven states and 16 cities.

If you thought transformational change in education was impossible spend some time chatting with Citizen School's John Werner. There's no magical solution to transforming schools, but Werner understands it’s a complex matrix that involves engaging all players in the system. As our first speaker, his model of collaborative experiential learning set the perfect tone for BIF-7!

Dale J. Stephens

Founder, UnCollege and Thiel Fellow

Dale J. Stephens brings a unique perspective on the future of education, talent, and innovation.  At 19, Dale leads UnCollege, a social movement that applies the methods of unschooling—the self-directed brand of homeschooling with which he was raised—to the realm of higher education. In May 2011 Dale was selected out of hundreds of individuals around the world as a Thiel Fellow.  The Thiel Fellowship recognizes the top changemakers around the world under the age of twenty. He is currently writing on a book about the opportunity cost of going to college and how to create your education from the world.

Dales Stephens, unschooler and Thiel Fellow, finds the mediocre, cookie-cutter education typical of most colleges today does not justify the exorbitant and ever-rising costs of an expanding higher education system. Pretending to teach and pretending to learn is not good enough for Stephens, so he decided to hack his education. Understanding his model for learning is not for everyone, he is a champion for learning and finding success in life. 

Nell Merlino

CEO & Founder, Count Me In

Nell Merlino is Founder, President and CEO of Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence, the leading national not-for-profit provider of resources for women to grow their micro businesses into million $ enterprises.  She is author of “Stepping Out of Line: Lessons for Women Who Want It Their Way in Life, in Love, and at Work,” from Broadway Books. Throughout her career, Nell Merlino has been inspiring millions of people to take action. She is the creative force behind Take Our Daughters to Work Day, which moved more than 71 million Americans to participate in a day dedicated to giving girls the opportunity to dream bigger about their future.

The women's rights activist and pioneer shares a moving story about helping women break through the economic barriers that keep them from earning more.

Dennis Littky

Co-founder and Director, The Big Picture Company

When Dennis "Doc" Littky took the stage at the first BIF Summit, barely a dry eye was left in the audience when he finished his story. Littky is the co-founder and director of Rhode Island's Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical Center, more commonly known as The Met. The brainchild of Littky and his colleague Elliot Washor, The Met's innovative high-school educational model individually tailors curricula to a student's needs, interests and passions and then applies the academic learning at internships in the community.

His shoes said it all; Dennis Littky is a colorful man! The radical educator, who has been in the business of tapping into potential for decades, isn't afraid to be challenged--in fact, he loves it. Driven by the fact that one student drops out of school every 12 seconds in this country, he has spent the bulk of the life on a fierce campaign to correct educational imbalances.

Ntiedo Etuk

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Tabula Digita

Entrepreneur who launched Tabula Digita, a developer of educational video games that look and feel like 3-D PlayStation games and teach core K-12 subjects including math, literacy, science and history.

Educational gaming is challenging standard notions of what a classroom is supposed to be. It has the potential to shake out obsolete practices that hamper vibrant learning. In this video, Tabula Digita CEO Ntiedo Etuk talks about the critical role video gaming will play in transforming our K-12 education systems.

Cassandra Lin

7th grader and co-founder, Project T.G.I.F. (Turn Grease Into Fuel)

Social entrepreneur who co-created a sustainable system for converting used vegetable oil into bio-fuel to heat homes.

Clear-sighted, logical with a splash of ingenuity. Meet 7th grader Cassandra Lin who has created a (truly) revolutionary business model called T.G.I.F. that turns cooking oil into biodiesel to provide emergency heating for the needy in her community.

Len Schlesinger

President, Babson College

Leonard A. Schlesinger became the 12th president of Babson College on July 1, 2008. He came to Babson from Limited Brands, where he served in executive positions since 1999, most recently as Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer.  Earlier in his career, he was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Au Bon Pain. His academic career includes twenty years at Harvard Business School. President Schlesinger is well-known for his pioneering research and publications on the “service profit chain.”  He is the author or co-author of nine books, including The Value Profit Chain, The Service Profit Chain and The Real Heroes of Business…and Not a CEO among Them, and has written over 40 articles for academic audiences as well as for The New York Times, Fast Company, and Harvard Business Review.

Babson president Len Schlesinger observes that infants view things with an open mind. As they learn more, they get better at predicting responses to actions, awareness gets narrower and deeper, and people begin to optimize their lives. Until they can’t. And this is the struggle of the entrepreneur. In this video story, Len inspires us to think differently about keeping an open mind.

Paola Antonelli

Senior Curator, Architecture & Design, Museum of Modern Art

Paola Antonelli is one of the world's foremost design experts and was recently rated  one of the top one hundred most powerful people in the world of art by Art Review. She is a Senior Curator in the Department of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art. Antonelli received her MA in Architecture from Milan Polytechnic in 1990, and worked at the design magazines Domus and Abitare before coming to MoMA in 1994. Antonelli is known for her eclecticism, and has curated well-received shows such as Design and the Elastic Mind (2008), an exhibition on science, design, and innovation and Workspheres (2001), devoted to the workplace of the near future. Antonelli has taught design history and theory at UCLA and Harvard and is the author of Humble Masterpieces: Everyday Marvels of Design, and co-author of 2008 book Design and the Elastic Mind.

The MOMA senior curator gives her take on the design process and its ability to understand the increasingly complex nuances of consumer preference.

Alice Wilder

Educational Psychologist, Television Producer, Writer, Blue’s Clues, Super Why, Think It Ink It Publishing

As a producer and director of research and development for Nick Jr.’s break-out preschool series Blue’s Clues, Alice was part of the creative team responsible for all content and creative decisions related to every aspect of the series and co-authored the curriculum on which Blue’s Clues and Blue’s Room were based. She has been nominated for Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Preschool Children’s Series as well as Outstanding Writing in a Children’s Series. Currently, Alice is Co-Creator and Head of Research and Education for Super Why! airing on PBS Kids. She is also the co-creator of Think It Ink It Publishing a new venture that is designed to promote creative writing for children from the ages of 4-12 years old.

Alice Wilder is passionate about listening. As the former head of R&D for kid's show Blue's Clues she has learned the importance of listening and watching children. Kids want to be heard and to express themselves. As an advocate for education she challenges communities to watch children learn and to witness first hand what sparks their attention.

Clay Christensen

Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

BIF research advisor Clayton Christensen is the Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. His research and teaching interests center on managing innovation and creating new growth markets. His latest book Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change The Way The World Learns has been named one of the "10 Best Innovation and Design Books in 2008" by BusinessWeek, and the best Human Capital book of the year in the Strategy + Business Best Books of 2008. His latest book is The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education From the Inside Out.

Clayton Christensen is the Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. His research and teaching interests center on managing innovation and creating new growth markets. His latest book is The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out.