James P. Comer is the founder and chairman of the School Development Program at the Yale University School of Medicine's Child Study Center. Since 1976, he has been the Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine. He developed the Comer Process, a system of education focused on child development in inner-city schools. His School Development Program has been utilized in more than 600 schools in eighty-two school districts across twenty-six states. Founded in 1968, the Comer School Development Program promotes the collaboration of parents, educators and community resources to improve social, emotional and academic outcomes for children, which in turn, helps them to achieve success in school. One of the country's leading child psychiatrists, Comer is best known for his pioneering efforts to improve performance of children from low-income and minority backgrounds. Unlike most education-reform programs, which focus on academic concerns, such as improving teachers' credentials and building students' basic skills, the Comer Method emphasizes the development of children's social skills and self-esteem.

Carl Glickman is President of the Institute for Schools, Education, and Democracy and Professor Emeritus of Education at The University of Georgia. He began his career as a Teacher Corps intern in the rural south and, later, was a principal of award winning schools in New Hampshire. While at the University of Georgia for nearly three decades, Carl and colleagues founded the Georgia League of Professional Schools, a national network of high functioning public schools. In 1997, he was awarded the title of University Professor for bringing "stature and distinction to the mission of the University," and students honored him as the college faculty member who had the greatest influence on them "both inside and outside of the classroom."

John I. Goodlad is an educational researcher and theorist who has published influential models for renewing schools and teacher education. Goodlad's most recent book, In Praise of Education (1997), defines education as a fundamental right in democratic societies, essential to developing individual and collective democratic intelligence. Goodlad has designed and promoted several educational reform programs, and has conducted major studies of educational change. Books he has authored or co-authored include The Moral Dimensions of Teaching, Places Where Teachers Are Taught, Teachers for Our Nation's Schools, and Educational Renewal: Better Teachers, Better Schools. Goodlad has published over 30 books, 80 book chapters, and more than 200 journal articles. His best known book, A Place Called School (1984), received the Outstanding Book of the Year Award from the American Educational Research Association and the Distinguished Book of the Year Award from Kappa Delta Pi. He is a past president of the American Educational Research Association and, in 1993, received that organization's Award for Distinguished Contributions to Educational Research.

Henry M. Levin is the William Heard Kilpatrick Professor of Economics and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Director of the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education. He is also the David Jacks Professor Emeritus of Higher Education and Economics at Stanford University where he served from 1968 to 1999. He is a specialist in the economics of education and human resources and has published fourteen books and almost 300 articles on these and related subjects.

Deborah W. Meier is currently on the faculty of New York University's Steinhardt School of Education, as senior scholar and adjunct professor as well as Board member and director of New Ventures at Mission Hill, director and advisor to Forum for Democracy and Education, and on the Board of The Coalition of Essential Schools. Meier has spent more than four decades working in public education as a teacher, writer and public advocate. She began her teaching career as a kindergarten and HeadStart teacher in Chicago, Philadelphia and New York City schools. She was the founder and teacher-director of a network of highly successful public elementary schools in East Harlem. In 1985 she founded Central Park East Secondary School, a New York City public high school in which more than 90% of the entering students went on to college, mostly to 4-year schools.

George H. Wood is principal of Federal Hocking High School in Stewart, Ohio and serves as the Executive Director of The Forum. Dr. Wood's 30-year career in public education includes work as a classroom teacher, school board member, professor of education, and school principal. He is the Founding Director of Wildwood Secondary School in Los Angeles and has served as principal of Federal Hocking for 17 years. Federal Hocking is a rural school in Appalachian Ohio which has been recognized as a Coalition of Essential Schools Mentor School, a First Amendment School, and as one of America's 100 Best by Readers' Digest. He authored Governor Ted Strickland's (OH) K-12 Education Transition Paper as well as the books, Schools That Work, Time to Learn, and Many Children Left Behind (ed. with Deborah Meier).