At almost the exact moment Michelle Rhee took to a podium at a downtown D.C. hotel ballroom to announce her departure as the District’s schools chancellor in October, people working for her flipped the switch on a fancy new website, Facebook page, and Twitter account.
The well-choreographed roll-out was followed the next day with Rhee making the rounds on the network morning shows, marking the beginning of a media cycle that’s showed no sign of slowing since. Less than two months after her resignation, Rhee was sitting on Oprah’s comfy chairs announcing plans for a new advocacy group, StudentsFirst, that has already become a dominant force at the nexus between education and politics.
Just how was Rhee able to cement her brand as a national player so quickly? After all, there were reports from the Wilson Building that as of the morning after Adrian Fenty’s primary defeat, Rhee was still interested in staying on as chancellor. That, of course, wasn’t meant to be. She had become famous in three years at the D.C. Public Schools; as she shifted into the private sector, it became clear that she also had a ready-made organization standing by to keep her in the spotlight.
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