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A School District’s Journey to Excellence
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A School District’s Journey to Excellence
Lessons From Business and Education

  • Bill McNeal - North Carolina Association of School Administrators, Wake County Public Schools
  • Tom Oxholm - Wake Stone Corporation

Courses:
Superintendency

July 2008 | 208 pages | Corwin

"A remarkable tool for educators and communities. We are fortunate that a very effective former superintendent and successful business person are willing to share their quest for ensuring that all students are well prepared for their futures."
—June St. Clair Atkinson, State Superintendent
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction

"Blends business principles with excellent leadership in one of America's largest school districts to create a model for achieving excellence in school districts everywhere. This is a well-written, practical illustration of how a leader makes things happen."
—Larry Price, Superintendent
Wilson County Schools, NC

Learn how school districts can go from average to outstanding!

The challenge of preparing children and youth for success in the 21st century requires improvement in the business of education. This unique resource provides an inside account of how Wake County Public Schools, one of the nation's largest school districts, made significant gains in student achievement and school performance over a ten-year period to become a shining example of success.

Award-winning superintendent Bill McNeal and successful businessman/school board member Tom Oxholm show readers how they established a partnership to help students meet grade-level expectations and support schools in closing achievement gaps. Through the authors' experience and tips, readers will discover how to facilitate:

  • Improved educational outcomes, especially among minority populations
  • Progressive instructional leadership
  • Fiscal responsibility and efficient allocation of resources
  • Stronger school-community relationships

Rich in examples, case studies, and data, A School District's Journey to Excellence is a much-needed map to excellence in public education.


 
Foreword by Governor Jim Hunt
 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Authors
 
1. Leadership in Context
 
2. Leadership and Courage
Accountability

 
Leadership

 
Organizing Your Leadership

 
Communicating With Your Public

 
Business Partnerships That Make a Difference

 
 
3. Leadership and Brains
Goal Setting and Planning

 
Making Use of Retreats

 
Training Leaders

 
Measuring Success

 
Dollars and Sense

 
 
4. Leadership and Heart
Students Matter Most

 
Teachers Matter Most

 
Parents Matter Most

 
Involving the Entire Village

 
 
5. Bringing It All Home
Making a Home of the School

 
Conclusion

 
 
Afterword
 
Appendices
A. Selected Readings Organized by Chapter

 
B. Criteria for a Superintendent's Evaluation

 
C. Recommendation for National Superintendent of the Year

 
D. National Recognitions for WCPSS and Wake County

 
 
Index

"Good commonsense ideas are embedded throughout. The more we document success, the greater the chance that others will replicate effective strategies."

Jill M. Gildea, Superintendent
Harrison Elementary School District #36, Wonderlake, IL

"A must-read book for every school administrator. It blends business principles with excellent leadership in one of America’s largest school districts to create a model for achieving excellence in school districts everywhere. This is a well-written, practical illustration of how a leader makes things happen."

Larry Price, Superintendent
Wilson County Schools, NC

"McNeal and Oxholm offer a glimpse into the alignment required between district and community interests for public schools to regain the trust of the public and to emphasize academic gains as a unifying force for the future."

Tony Habit, President
NC New Schools Project

"Could easily serve as a handbook for successfully leading any school system, large or small, during this challenging era of high-stakes accountability. The real-world examples gave me numerous ideas and perspectives that I will act on immediately."

Shirley B. Prince, Superintendent
Scotland County Schools, NC

“This book of lessons is an outstanding review of the key elements to earning and holding the public trust. McNeal and Oxholm come from very different backgrounds, but their shared values identify the disciplines that are critical to building a successful public school system in an environment of high attention and scrutiny."

Harvey Schmitt, President and CEO
Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce

"Written from actual experience and provides specific responses to specific challenges. If a school system is interested in results rather than rhetoric, then it should follow the teachings in this book as the gospel."

Phillip J. Kirk, Jr., Chairman Emeritus
North Carolina State Board of Education

"A remarkable tool for educators and communities. We are fortunate that a very effective former superintendent and successful business person are willing to share their quest for ensuring that all students are well prepared for their futures.”

June St. Clair Atkinson, State Superintendent
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction

"This book will broaden your view of school systems and show you how a bureaucratic organization can be operated in a flexible, sensitive, effective, and efficient manner. Regardless of your role, you will benefit from the insights of a great board of education member and a great superintendent."

Ann Denlinger, President
Wake Education Partnership

“Bill McNeal and Tom Oxholm share their story of success in an urban school environment. It’s all here—courage, hard work, communication, patience, and persistence. The Wake County story commands the attention of all who truly value the public school as the essential bedrock of our democracy.”

William C. Friday, President Emeritus
University of North Carolina

"McNeal’s experiences as a teacher, principal, and superintendent coupled with Oxholm’s perspectives as a businessman and school board member make this case study a must-read work."

Edwin Dunlap, Jr., Executive Director
North Carolina School Boards Association
Key features
  • Presents easy to implement strategies and frameworks
  • Provides tools for educational leaders, school boards, and the greater community
  • Offers a path that school leaders, school community members, and business leaders can take together toward improved educational outcomes

Preview this book

Sample Materials & Chapters

Foreword

Preface

Chapter 1


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