Stepping Up. James Shelton might have become a teacher, but Mom advised, "Earn money first." After DC's Gonzaga High School, Morehouse College, and Stanford, he worked as a management consultant and founded educational organizations focused on improving urban schools. Now 37, he's the Washington-based program director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's education division. He oversees the granting of $200 million annually to create and improve schools nationwide and to help low-income students get college educations: "I enjoy proving that students people think of as incapable can be high achievers."
Washingtonian staff contributing to this section were Chuck Conconi, Sherri Dalphonse, Susan Davidson, Mary Clare Fleury, Cynthia Hacinli, Thomas Head, Stephanie Jones, Ann Limpert, Drew Lindsay, Chad Lorenz, Leslie Milk, William O'Sullivan, Cindy Rich, and Jeremy Stahl. Also contributing were writers Cathy Alter, Ann Cochran, and Jenny Sullivan.