Linda Cliatt-Wayman

High school principal
As a Philadelphia high school principal, Linda Cliatt-Wayman held an unwavering belief in the potential of all children.

Why you should listen

Linda Cliatt-Wayman grew up in poverty in North Philadelphia, where she experienced firsthand the injustice being perpetrated against poor students in their education. She has dedicated her career and her life to ending that injustice, working within Philadelphia's fractured public-school system. She spent 20 years as a special-ed teacher before becoming a principal, leading two low-performing urban high schools to success with improved test scores and increased college admissions among students.

At Philadelphia's Strawberry Mansion High School (rapper Meek Mill's alma mater), Wayman and her team once again proved what is possible for low-income children. Test scores have improved every year since Wayman took over, and the school was removed from the federal Persistently Dangerous Schools List for the first time in five years. Diane Sawyer and her team spent the 2012-2013 school year documenting Wayman’s efforts for ABC World News Tonight and Nightline.

Cliatt-Wayman retired from Strawberry Mansion High School in May 2017.

Linda Cliatt-Wayman’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Linda Cliatt-Wayman


The Big Idea: 3 reasons to be kind to educators

September 12, 2017

Any dedicated educator can tell you: A teaching job extends far beyond the hours of the school day. Molding the minds of future leaders while simultaneously ferrying them across the rapids of childhood and adolescence — and dealing with the economics of the job — is a calling not for the faint of heart. Here […]

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We humans

All kids deserve the best, wherever they grow up

June 26, 2015

Linda Cliatt-Wayman has spent her career working in low-income, low-performing schools. She has developed a thick skin and a tough attitude … laced with fierce love for her students. Here, she shares her approach to fixing a broken system and doing right by kids who deserve the best.

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