The aim of TheBestSchools.org is to help you gain the knowledge, skills, and credentials you need to achieve personal happiness and career success. As a leading education resource, we cover online and on-campus colleges & universities that include undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and post-doc programs. In addition, we cover K–12 and select alternative education programs.
The Need for The Best Schools
Successful careers depend on full-time, well-paid, satisfying jobs. In fact, a good job is one of the best markers of personal happiness. But in turbulent economic times, good jobs can be hard to come by.
To get a good job, you need an edge. That edge comes through further education. However, knowledge is not enough. You need the right education. This is where we come in.
What We Do—And How
Still deciding on the right career? We provide guidance through our career articles. If you know what you want to do, we help you find the best school and degree program for you through our ranking articles. Additionally, our features, resources, and magazine articles offer interesting insights into the intersection of school, learning, and life.
Wherever you are in your education, we will find the best school for you. Don’t have four years to devote to a college degree? We help you find a rewarding two-year associate’s degree program. We meet your need where you are.
Or you may have more time for education, but not at a traditional campus. Online degree programs offered by both traditional and online colleges let you to earn a college degree at your pace from any location. Bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees are all now available through online schools.
In all our school rankings and recommendations, we strive to be objective and balanced. We carefully research our rankings and recommendations, and we do so apart from any financial incentives. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain. We simply provide the best rankings on the web, and we make our process no mystery:
Who We Are
TheBestSchools.org is an independent organization comprised of a dedicated group of educators, editors, authors, and web professionals who—like you—believe learning transforms lives for the better and should remain a lifelong pursuit. The members of our Academic Advisory Board serve as experienced, professional, academic guides for TheBestSchool.org, providing needful insights into the field of education and its ever-changing dynamics. Editors at TheBestSchools.org know the academic world inside out, with some holding PhDs and having extensive experience in teaching, research, and publishing at the university level. Committed to freedom of thought and expression, we seek to avoid bias and conflicts of interest.
TheBestSchools.org Academic Advisory Board
Erika Camacho, PhD
Mathematical & Natural Sciences
Arizona State University
Erika brings a wealth of STEM knowledge in the field of mathematics. Her notable teaching career includes serving as the Dr. Martin Luther King Visiting Assistant Professor in mathematics at MIT, assistant professor at Loyola Marymount (LMU), and co-director of the Applied Mathematical Sciences Summer Institute at LMU & Cal Poly, with additional work with Los Alamos National Laboratory, Hope College, and Cornell University.
Erika has been profiled and featured in multiple media outlets, including Univision Nightly News in “Erika Camacho’s Inspirational Story,” the SIAM News in “The Intersecting Lives of Two Mathematicians in East L.A.,” and recently in Voces, “I Am the American Dream: Erika Tatiana Camacho, Ph.D.” CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News both interviewed her in a segment honoring Jaime Escalante, of whom she was a student at Garfield High School in East LA.
Henry Gradillas, EdD
Retired Master Educator
While Henry is best known as the principal working with Jamie Escalante, the teacher portrayed in the film Stand and Deliver, he coauthored a book of his teaching principles (Standing and Delivering: What the Movie Didn’t Tell); has served as a commissioner for the National Commission on Drug Free Schools; has been a special consultant on the staff of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction of California; has served as principal at several high schools in California and Michigan; has been a motivational speaker and consultant throughout North America; managed a working ranch; and continues in his eighties to work as a tutor, substitute teacher, and court interpreter. He holds a Doctorate in Education Specializing in Secondary Curriculum from Brigham Young University.
The annual educator excellence prize offered by TheBestSchools.org, the Escalante–Gradillas Prize for Best in Education is named in Henry’s honor.
Lisa Kaplan, MEd
Andrew Jackson School
2015 Escalante–Gradillas Prize Winner
Lisa’s thirty years in education helped develop the champion spirit she brings to urban, K–8 Andrew Jackson School, part of the Philadelphia School District. Drawing from her studies at the Sorbonne in France and Philly’s own Temple University, Lisa has worked in leadership positions within her district since 2001. Her work spans the education spectrum from supervising district special ed programs to education technology and curriculum design. Read more about Lisa’s selection as winner of our 2015 Escalante–Gradillas Prize for Best in Education.
Mary Poplin, PhD
Claremont Graduate University
An educator of educators, from kindergarten to college, Mary brings a wealth of wisdom, including insider work as a public school teacher. As the director of the Institute for Education in Transformation at Claremont, Mary has been a pioneer in the scientific assessment of the classroom effectiveness of different teaching philosophies and styles. In the early 1990s, she headed a team that studied educational practices at four public schools in southern California for a year, culminating in the influential white paper Voices from the Inside: A Report on Schooling from Inside the Classroom. A decade later, she led a groundbreaking study of 31 highly effective teachers in low-performing urban schools in LA that unlocked the secrets of effective teaching.
Anthony Yom, MEd
Abraham Lincoln High School
2016 Escalante–Gradillas Prize Winner
Among Anthony’s many math teaching accomplishments includes a 4.96 average student score on the grueling AP Calculus test, which 100% of his students passed, including one who achieved an unheard-of perfect score. Due to these successes, he received a White House Science Fair invitation and recognition, and he was the 2016 Los Angeles Unified School District Teacher of the Year and the Harvard Club of Southern California Educator of the Year. An immigrant to the US, who grew up in the inner city, Anthony identifies with his students and achieves these remarkable results in a school with a 91% poverty rate. Read more about Anthony’s selection as winner of our 2016 Escalante–Gradillas Prize for Best in Education.
James A. Barham, Ph.D.
President & General Editor
A Texas native, James has called Greece, France, and Serbia home. He received his BA in Classics from the University of Texas–Austin, his MA in the History of Science from Harvard University, and his PhD in the History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Notre Dame. In addition, he was a Harvard Sheldon Traveling Fellow at the University of Athens and a Visiting Fellow of the Byzantine Institute of the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences in Belgrade.
Publications that have featured James’s writing include Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Philosophia Naturalis, Rivista di Biologia/Biology Forum, and BioSystems.
Content Developer & Editor
Eddie attended Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, where he earned a BA in Philosophy and Chemistry. His wide array of interests led to graduate studies in Philosophy and Education. Eddie has classroom experience with students ranging in age from middle school to university. He has taught Physical Science, Chemistry, Logic, and Philosophy. His engagement with the academic community is best highlighted by his work on Object Transcendence, which he presented at the British Psychological Society’s conference on Consciousness and Experimental Psychology.
Wayne J. Downs
Vice President & Managing Editor
Wayne spent most of his formative days in the woods or in a welding shop. Then, in a pursuit for wisdom, he obtained his BS in Biblical Studies with a Minor in Psychology at Campbellsville University, an MDiv at Baylor University, an MA in Philosophy at Texas A&M, and completed PhD coursework in Philosophy at the University of Kentucky, focusing on the cognitive sciences and metaethics.
When not keeping TBS on the tracks, Wayne enjoys time with his wife and three kids, woodworking, smashing Tough Mudders and Spartan Challenges, and attempting to regrow his hair.
Director of Marketing Services
Dan holds a BA in Christian Education, summa cum laude, from Wheaton College in Illinois. His experience includes competitive analysis and technical marketing at Apple Inc., instructional design at Luxottica, knowledge management at Synchrony Communications, network administration at NASA Ames Research Center and Procter & Gamble, and business and academic writing/editing at Ethereal Pen Productions. He, his wife, and teenage son live on an organic fruit farm east of Cincinnati.
Editor at Large
Hillary’s education and experience are equally split between her three passions: science, education, and photography. She brings to TheBestSchools.org four years of photography and design school from Brooks Institute of Photography and Art Center College of Design, five years as a professional photographer, five years as a college-prep Biology and Chemistry teacher, and an MS in Biology from Clemson University. In addition to her editing and design responsibilities, she has worked in both public and private schools and wears more hats than we can list here.
Senior Vice President
Brian has worked in the higher education and career fields for more than a decade, evaluating and writing about colleges and universities, degree programs and careers. He has also provided guest posts on education and career subjects for college and university careers services departments and notable online newspapers throughout the country.
Brian spent several years in the automated warehouse industry performing economic and productivity analysis on large automated warehouse systems and working in sales and marketing.
Brian holds a BA in Economics.
Senior Communications Director
Prior to coming to TheBestSchools.org, Cliff was Special Partnerships Manager for EducationAxis. He has also worked in sales and marketing for a number of other companies. He co-founded Fontes Press, an academic and theological publishing company. Cliff has a BA in ancient Greek and Hebrew and is pursuing further graduate studies. He resides in the state of Washington with his wife and daughter, and he may be the only Pittsburgh Penguins fan in the state.
Bobby Rich has earned both an MA in Philosophy and an MA in English from the University of Louisville. His interests are wide ranging, and he works and researches with the constant desire to expand his knowledge base and, in the spirit of Buckminster Fuller, avoid over-specialization in favor of expert generalism.
Monica graduated from William Penn University with a BA in Elementary Education, with an Instructional Strategist endorsement. She taught in public schools for five years while obtaining her MA in Special Education from Morningside College.
Senior Editor & Media Producer
Rich is hounded by curiosity, revels in story, and cherishes overlooked details. A lifelong technologist and photographer, Rich craves the interrupted patterns, tangential questions, and stray minutia that surprise and inspire. For over twenty years, Rich has helped several institutions publish their content online—now he’s getting personal, probing the wisdom and insights locked in individual, personal narratives. Listen, watch, or read his latest interviews here.
The Mission of TheBestSchools.org
As a team, we use our collected wisdom in the field of education to
- Help learners find the best higher ed and K–12 schools in America,
- Raise awareness of trends, important voices, and topics in education that affect our lives every day, and
- Foster an informed, rational, and civil conversation about knowledge and learning that benefits us all.
If those goals matter to you as well, and you enjoy daily news and updates in the education field, please partner with us in our mission by connecting to us through our social media sites and subscribing to our newsletter:
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Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0