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Thought Leaders in Education: 10 You Need to Follow on LinkedIn

In the education industry, nothing is more important than knowledge. The very core of education is focused on learning and forward thinking, so it’s only natural that thought leaders are some of the most important individuals within this industry. 

Innovation within the education industry creates a necessity for continual learning, and it’s pioneered by thought leaders. 

Why Follow Thought Leaders in Education?

Thought leaders are those who excel in their profession and create and share content for educational and motivational purposes. Thought leaders within education generate motivation and create better pathways for learning, calling the very best from our schools and universities. 

One of the best places to find valuable informational material from thought leaders is on LinkedIn. Thought leadership content can take many forms, and those in education know best how to communicate their information. You might find thought leadership content in the form of:

  • Blog posts
  • Whitepapers
  • Live events
  • Webinars
  • Interviews
  • Instructional videos

And that's just a few examples. 

But why is it important to follow thought leaders?

The education industry continually evolves with the progressive development of our society, and in order to not only stay in the loop, but ahead of the game, you need to know where your industry is going. And nobody knows and can share this information better than thought leaders. 

10 of the Top Thought Leaders in Education on LinkedIn

1. Robyn D. Shulman | Executive Editor, Influencer Inc.


Named one of LinkedIn’s top voices in education of 2018, Robyn D. Shulman started her career as a 4th grade teacher, but she’s since made an impactful name for herself within the greater education industry. She has held numerous leadership positions in higher education, and she’s also a contributing writer for Forbes within the sector of education and entrepreneurship.

Robyn posts a wide variety content that addresses the intersection between entrepreneurs and educators. Her content largely focuses on breaking developments within education and teaching that are contemplative and progressive, such as How to Best Support Introverted Students, and 5 Innovative Conferences for Educators and Entrepreneurs to Attend in 2019.

She also interviews fellow thought leaders and innovators to utilize their knowledge and make it more accessible to her audience. 

To stay ahead in her industry, Robyn actively listens to her audience. For example, she regularly uses LinkedIn to conduct research for her Forbes posts and other articles. Having these active, engaged touchpoints with her audience and within her industry is what makes Robyn such an advanced thought leader in education. 

2. Jim Tudor | Founder, Future Index


Jim Tudor specializes in marketing strategies for higher education institutions. He’s the founder of Future Index, a trends consulting firm for universities, and the director of Waterfall, a creative agency that focuses on communication optimization within the education industry. 

Jim’s content largely focuses on trends within higher education marketing, bringing universities forward into the world of podcasts and social media. 

He also keeps an eye on the future, and what’s to come, working with his company Future Index to create insightful content about the habits and mentality of future students in 2024, and trends, inventions, and technology advancements he predicts for 2020 and the coming years. 

3. Karen Gross | Senior Counsel, Finn Partners


Karen Gross does a little bit of everything, and she does it all incredibly well. She’s an author of both adult books on education and children’s books. She continues to be a visiting professor at numerous elementary schools and universities. She’s a consultant on student success and educational leadership, and even the management of educational crises. 

She even worked as a policy advisor for the U.S. Department of Education. And did we mention she was also a law professor for 22 years? Seriously, this woman is an educational superstar. 

In addition to the books she has published, she also posts a steady stream of content on LinkedIn. Just like Jim, she has her own predictions for the education industry in 2019 and beyond.

However, her content also includes contemplations on the intersections between our current political climate and how it affects the education industry.

Stay tuned for her latest book, Generation Trauma Goes to School, which will be released in 2020.  

4. Farouk Dey | Vice Provost, Johns Hopkins University


Farouk Dey is the VP of John Hopkins University, where he is working on an integrative learning and life design project. He is also a 2019 TEDx speaker in education, but above all other titles within his extensive academic career, he likes to think of himself as an “agent of change.”

Farouk actively engages with his LinkedIn audience, often responding to comments and questions on his posts. Of late, one of his posts about his predictions for trends in 2019 has sparked quite a bit of conversation. 

5. Allison Dulin Salisbury | President, Entangled Studios


Allison Salisbury began as social justice teacher focused on experiential learning, but she has since gone on to achieve even greater feats. She is now a partner at Entangled Studios, an “education innovation studio” that works with universities and develops solutions to industry issues.

She also writes for Inside Higher Education and Forbes about emerging developments and future predictions within the education sector. 

One of the things we find most inspiring about Allison is her passion for education as a “tool for individual and community empowerment.”

Much of Allison’s content focuses on amending the disconnect between education and applicable career skills, and even social circumstances that impact a student’s ability to learn. 

She also looks at active examples of organizations that are working to develop these solutions, such as her article on co-branding between community colleges and tech companies to solve the skills gap. 

6. Heather McGowan | Co-Founder, Work to Learn


Heather McGowan is forever forward thinking. She has led the development of several university projects and curriculums that focus on innovative critical thinking, entrepreneurial thinking, and emotional and mental agility.

Her primary goal is to help our students – the adults of tomorrow – be prepared for and integrate into the workforce that our society is currently developing into. 

McGowan understands that in order to do this, she needs to work with education executives and institutions to develop the programs and academic framework to properly train and educate students. If you’re interested in staying in the know about applicable thought patterns and valuable skills for our ever evolving society, McGowan is the woman to follow. 

Her LinkedIn content focuses on forward thinking trends in the job market, including articles such as Jobs are Over: The Future is Income Generation.

However, she also devotes a lot of time to reading and commenting on articles written by other thought leaders in her industry, spreading their knowledge to her audience within the frame of her own mindset. 

7. Dr. Josie Ahlquist | Digital Leadership Speaker, JosieAhlquist.com


After over a decade working on college campuses, Dr. Josie Ahlquist redirected her career within the education industry to work as a consultant on digital communications and leadership. Throughout her endeavors, she has become an accomplished international public speaker. 

As she is highly skilled in developing and fostering digital communities, Ahlquist is an incredibly active creator of content that she shares with her audience on LinkedIn. As you might’ve guessed, her content largely focuses on how to better utilize online spaces, including valuable resources such as Digital Leadership Coaching and Social Media Guide for Campus Leaders

In addition to her LinkedIn content, you can also find Ahlquist’s work in publications such as The Handbook of Student Affairs Administration, The Journal of Leadership Studies, and more. She also has a digital leadership podcast, Josie & The Podcast, and a higher education technology blog. 

She’s currently working on her first book on digital leadership within the higher education sector, set to be released in 2020. 

8. Karl Kapp | Professor of Instructional Technology, Bloomsburg University


Karl Kapp is perhaps the most uniquely innovative thought leader on our list. He considers himself to be a “learning professional who specializes in gamification.” What does that mean exactly? Kapp focuses his work on interactive, game-centered learning approaches. 

Kapp is always within the midst of developing several innovative game-centered educational platforms, from card games to high tech virtual reality games. He hosts workshops, online courses, and professional consultations with educational professionals and institutions to teach them about his specialized field of learning expertise.

He has written and co-authored many books on gamification, including The Gamification of Learning and Instruction and Play To Learn: Everything You Need to Know About Designing Effective Learning Games

As you might have guessed, much of the content Kapp posts on LinkedIn focuses around this specific area of education, including articles such as Board Games and Card Games: Leading the Learning Game Field in 2018 and Is eLearning Really Dead? Is Instructional Design Dying with it?

9. Tom Vander Ark | CEO, Getting Smart


One of LinkedIn’s top voices in education of 2017, Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart, an innovative learning design firm that develops knowledge design and strategic educational plans for institutions. 

Tom is incredibly active when it comes to posting fresh content for his LinkedIn followers. His material focuses on progressive learning and teaching trends, including articles such as Why Schools Need Research and Design Space and 20 Tips for Real Life Learning. He also takes an interest in the green education initiatives and pursuits for a better overall community space. 

We’re incredibly excited about the impact that Tom’s thought leadership makes within the greater educational sector, and you should be too. 

10. Jesse Martin | Managing Director, Socelor


We’re incredibly excited about what Jesse Martin will achieve in the future with his expansive knowledge about the ‘science of learning.” Jesse was the director of the Academy for the Scholarship of Learning in Alberta, Canada for several years. 

In addition to being an ongoing university professor, he recently founded Socelor – an educational company devoted to teaching people the skills of abstract cognitive enablers. 

The content Jesse shares with his audience is rooted in his expansive knowledge about the real nuts and bolts of how people learn, and includes articles on topics such as Convergent and Divergent Creativity and Neuroanthropology and Education.

Learn from Leaders 

If you work in the education industry, you know how important it is to always be continually learning. However, there is a risk that you might get so wrapped up in teaching, you forget that you’re supposed to be continually learning as well! 

As an educator, higher education executive, or institute administrator, it’s important that you stay ahead of the curve of the latest developing trends within one of the most impactful industries of our society. Education shapes the minds of the people who make up our world, so following these thought leaders will provide you insight on the trajectory of where our world is headed in the future. 

Remember to utilize all your available resources – LinkedIn is always a great place to find thought leaders at the forefront of your industry. 


Claire Cortese

Claire Cortese

I am a content creator here at Bluleadz. In my free time, I enjoy hugging dogs, watching reruns of The Office, and getting sunburnt at the beach.