2012 The Root 100

Russlynn Ali is the Education Department's top civil rights official who handles anti-discrimination laws.

  • Influence: 144.7
  • Reach: 4.0
  • Substance: 8.5
  • Media Mentions: 12
  • Internet Mentions: 789
  • Twitter Followers: 0
  • Russlynn Ali

  • The Education Department's top civil rights official, who oversees the enforcement of all anti-discrimination laws related to education.
  • Job: Assistant secretary for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Education
  • Sector: Government/Politics
  • Location: Washington, D.C.
  • Age: 41
  • Bio: Russlynn Ali, whom President Obama appointed in 2009 to handle civil rights within the Department of Education, has spoken out this year on the stark inequality in our nation's schools and the dangers of bullying. In July the former Children's Defense Fund staffer and law professor listened to angry parents' groups from several major cities -- including New York, Chicago and Detroit -- when they flocked to Washington to air grievances about the impact of closures, privatization and structured destabilization of schools in communities of color. That was just a few months after her office expressed concern about students' college readiness and schools' disciplinary policies, releasing data that showed blacks accounting for 46 percent of suspensions but just 18 percent of the student body. "The findings demand our attention," she wrote in a column at CNN.com.