Deliberate Excellence

Three Fundamental Strategies That Drive Educational Leadership

by S. Dallas Dance

Number of pages: 160

Publisher: Corwin

BBB Library: Education, Leadership

ISBN: 978-1506392011

About the Author

Mr. S. Dallas Dance, Ph.D. serves as Superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools. He has been a Director of The International Society for Technology in Education Inc since May 2014. Mr. Dance is a Member of Executive Committee at American Association Of School Administrators, Inc.


Editorial Review

Leaders must continue growing, sometimes by gaining new knowledge through experiences and at other times by broadening perspectives about knowledge they have already attained. In this book, the author gives you three success principles for your leadership no matter what the complexities of your personal journeys are. 

Book Reviews

"This book will provide superintendents the formula to do both because it provides specific, clear, and pragmatic approaches to leadership that are grounded in Dr. Dance's vast experience while being supported by educational and executive management research! As I read Dr. Dance's book I was very impressed by his simple, but highly effective strategies for leading change, building diverse quality teams, and fostering equity. Educational leaders and CEOs will love this read and find themselves referring to it often when they need clarity in developing sustainable solutions for all students!"

"Deliberate Excellence is a well-written book that encourages educational leaders to examine education through an equity lens. Dr. Dance discusses the importance of maintaining open and honest communication with administrators, teachers, parents, and students alike. The book encourages leaders to fully study the history of their district, to learn who the most influential individuals are in the district, and to spend time with these individuals so that they will support the leader’s strategic plan. Throughout the book Dr. Dance discusses his tenure as an administrator, as a middle school chief officer, and as a Superintendent using real-life examples that he has encountered."

“Deliberate Excellence “ is a Must Read! I believe communication is very important to us all and the Leading through communication: Telling your storyWas one of my favorite chapters!"

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Wisdom to Share

Every day, leaders must continue growing, sometimes by gaining new knowledge through experiences and at other times by broadening perspectives about knowledge they have already attained.

Our actions will not change unless our beliefs change and our beliefs will not change unless our values change.

In terms of education, ensure you are deciding on behalf of all children in the same vein you would make it if it were your own child. This standard raises the bar, which is where it should be.

Equality engenders a sense that someone must “lose” for others to gain because you cannot make people equal. However, equity is different. When we operate through an equity lens, we ensure every single person with whom we interact, whether he is a student, teacher, or employee, is given exactly what he or she needs to be successful.

The leader must start with effectively building a collective sense of awareness for what equity truly is and why equity is necessary, and he or she must establish a case for how equity can be feasibly and successfully implemented for the benefit of all students involved.

To effectively accomplish the work, you must hone your skills and learn how to build awareness for equity by building a case for it that no one can resist. The key is to analyze your student data from all perspectives.

To implement change successfully, leaders need to work with and through people. For this reason alone, people should be important to you.

Before people allow you to lead them, they want to know you are truly informed about the current state of affairs and that you are not coming into the organization like a tornado making random changes without any regard for its present status. Before they will allow you to show them a new perspective, they must first trust you.

For best results when learning about the organization prior to change, focus as much as possible on what the organization’s culture looks and feels like—how business is really done.

Your team and stakeholders deserve a leader who enjoys being at the helm and who administers it with confidence and that person is you!