These are the people that excite me most about teaching these days. They are educational researchers, psychologists, early childhood specialists, authors, parents, and everyday people. I have included only one or two links for brevity, but each person has a whole canon of work that is incredible. There are many other people who have positively influenced my teaching, but for simplicity, I'll keep it at these.
Dr. Richard Ryan & Dr. Edward Deci
Researchers on Motivation
Co-Developers of Self-Determination Theory
Dr. Ryan & Dr. Deci and many other scientists have an incredible breadth of research and articles on the SDT website linked above