Penny Kittle teaches a 12th-grade writing workshop in New Hampshire. From her, I learned the importance of writing WITH my students. She also emphasizes the importance of critique (much like Juli Ruff). I highly recommend her book, Write Beside Them.
I’m a huge admirer of Kelly Gallagher, who teaches 9th- and 12th-grade English at Magnolia High School in Los Angeles. He emphasizes authentic writing in his classroom and encourages students to read thoroughly and joyfully. His books Readicide and Write Like This have left me with deep impressions on what to “assign” to students. Although he may not teach in a school that emphasizes an exhibition of a final product, he does make sure that students are writing real texts and not just essays for the teacher’s judgmental eyes.
Seth Godin is a writer and “agent of change” who has strong an insightful ideas about how to break free from the traditional, industrial model of education (much like Sir Ken Robinson). I have enjoyed his books Linchpin and Poke the Box and am excited to see him address education in his “manifesto”: Stop Stealing Dreams.