You are here

Deliberate Excellence

Deliberate Excellence
Three Fundamental Strategies That Drive Educational Leadership

First Edition
  • 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


Shaun Dallas Dance

Internationally-renowned educator and speaker, Dr. S. Dallas Dance envisions and leads change that creates opportunities for all young people—including students of color and those living in poverty—to thrive as critical thinkers, thoughtful leaders, and lifelong learners. His calling is motivating teams of all sizes to develop young minds and working with leaders and organizations to build capacity to do greater work for all of the individuals within their community. Numerous national awards and board appointments—from institutions including the White House, Microsoft, and ASCD—recognize his impact on organizational culture, rigorous... More About Author

Purchasing options

Please select a format:

ISBN: 9781506392011

SAGE Knowledge is the ultimate social sciences digital library for students, researchers, and faculty. Hosting more than 4,400 titles, it includes an expansive range of SAGE eBook and eReference content, including scholarly monographs, reference works, handbooks, series, professional development titles, and more.

The platform allows researchers to cross-search and seamlessly access a wide breadth of must-have SAGE book and reference content from one source.