teacher, Hobart Boulevard Elementary School, Los Angeles
Rafe Esquith is one of the most inspiring grade school teachers in America. He is celebrated by The White House, The Dalai Lama and Oprah, and called a "Modern-day Thoreau" by *Newsweek*. Mr. Esquith has taught kids from some of the toughest neighborhoods in Los Angeles with staggering success. His fifth-students are already tackling high-school fare: algebra, philosophy and Shakespeare. As a result, they consistently score in the top 5-10% on the state standardized tests. Mr. Esquith has been teaching for over 27 years in LAUSD.