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Deliberate Excellence

Deliberate Excellence
Three Fundamental Strategies That Drive Educational Leadership

  • S. Dallas Dance - President & CEO, The DDance Group; former Superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools

Foreword by Rod Paige

January 2018 | 160 pages | Corwin

Leadership isn’t just a title

What could you do with a $1 billion budget if you had 100,000+ students and one of the largest school systems in America?  Imagining is his reality. Learn along from Dallas Dance as he shares the successful change efforts he employed to transform Baltimore Public Schools.  

Deliberate Excellence is a true story of success in a challenging school environment that delivers great insight and inspiration. Readers will be moved and changed by three key success principles:

  • Establishing equity over equality by providing exactly what individuals need to be successful
  • Understanding change, how it happens, and what one needs to make it so
  • Knowing people deeply and how that leads to accomplishment and organizational change  

Be inspired by this passion for progress and the drive to maximize latent potential in all people.

"For 20 years, Dr. Dallas Dance has been an inspiration to me as a leader. He understands that true leaders inspire others to lead, galvanize their audience, and provide practical applications to difficult situations. Regardless of the political climate, Dr. Dance has always kept students first. After reading Deliberate Excellence, educators will take away successful strategies to increase student achievement."
Dr. John B. Gordon III, Chief of Schools
Chesterfield County Public Schools, Chesterfield, VA

"Leaders are desperate for books that offer techniques from educational leaders who still practice and hone their craft from the trenches and a proven record of success. Dallas Dance offers educational leaders a unique, candid, and welcome perspective."
LaQuita Outlaw, Principal – Grades 6-8
Bay Shore Middle School, Bay Shore, NY


About the Author
Success Principle 1
Know What Your Values Are  
Demonstrate a Strong Appreciation for People  
Addressing Equity Takes Leadership  
Addressing Equity Will Guarantee Resistance  
Equity Is the Work, Not an “Add-on” to the Work  
Students Want Us to Focus on Equity, Not Equality  
Success Principle 2
Understand the History of the Organization  
Acknowledge the Current State of the Organization  
Understand the “Players” Within the Organization  
Ensure People Understand What Change Means  
Have an Effective Strategy to Implement Change  
Success Principle 3  
Communicate Openly, Honestly, and in a Timely Manner  
Communicate Your Story, or Someone Else Will!  
Organize Your Communication Efforts  
Individualize Your Communications  
Use Every Available Resource to Communicate  
View Communication as a Two-Way Street  
Have an Open-Door Policy  
Avoiding Pitfalls
Mistake 1: Knowing All the Answers  
Mistake 2: Bashing the Previous Leadership  
Mistake 3: Speaking Before You Think  

"Deliberate Excellence shows educational leaders how to increase agency within their organizations. This book effectively communicates the importance of engaging in challenging work to improve schools and districts, which is what the head, hand, and heart of education is all about.  I applaud Dr. Dance for his extraordinary leadership during unordinary times."

Dr. Andre D. Spencer, Superintendent
Harrison School District Two , Colorado Springs, CO
Key features
  • The focus on the 3 Key Principles makes the message concise, clear, and ready to implement.
  • Many, many tips, stories, and examples show readers that the lessons can be learned and accomplished.
  • Dallas Dance writes realistically about what works and what does not. See the Conclusion – Avoiding Pitfalls.
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    ISBN: 9781506392011