I serve as a “thinking partner” to school system administrators, principals, teacher leaders, and leadership teams to assist them in developing their knowledge and skill to continuously improve teaching and learning in all classrooms. 

This blog supports administrators and teachers in continuously improving teaching and learning for all students and in ensuring that all members of the school community are surrounded by supportive relationships.

I usually make several posts each week. Some of the essays provide practical ideas and processes through which teaching, learning, and relationships can be strengthened. (My most popular post of this type was one on teamwork.)

Others essays are intended to reveal the powerful forces external to schools that seek to undermine public education and to inspire school leaders to act individually and collectively to counter these forces. (The most popular post here was one on the narrative used to destroy public education.)

I value my readers. And because I want to extend the reach of these ideas, I encourage you to become a subscriber to this blog if you are not already one. Subscribing ensures timely, automatic receipt of every post. It only takes a moment to subscribe in the upper right hand corner of each post using your email address, and it’s just as easy to unsubscribe. (WordPress does not use email addresses for other purposes.)

I am emeritus executive director of the National Staff Development Council (now known as Learning Forward). I am the author of Leading for Results, published by Corwin Press and Learning Forward. My newest book, Leadership 180: Daily Meditations for School Leaders, was published by Solution Tree Press in 2010.

I live in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where I am a hospice volunteer who co-leads grief support groups and assists patients in telling their life stories on video to be preserved as a legacy for family members.

I may be reached at thinkingpartner@gmail.com. I invite you to follow me on Twitter: @dennissparks.

8 Responses to “About Dennis Sparks”


  1. 1 Shannon Sookochoff November 24, 2011 at 10:24 am

    Hi Dennis,
    I am the Shannon from Argyll school. I was just having lunch with Katharine Weinmann on Sunday and your name came up fondly. I hope you are well. I am making progress with my courses and using strategies for gaining clarity all the time. I am also working on recognizing early signs of problems…whether they are relational or organizational. Recently, I realized that the work we do at Argyll can easily spin into unmanageable. So, I have been working to balance expectations with what is possible. “Do a day’s work in a day” as Kevin O’Connor (one of the Argyll teachers) says.

    Recently, I co-authored a book chapter. If you send me your email address, I will send you a copy.

    Regards,
    Shannon Sookochoff

  2. 2 Jamie December 16, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Hi Dennis,
    It’s great to follow your thinking again via your blog posts. I’m honored that you’ve taken time to check out my blog. You may not have noticed that I quoted you awhile back. Here’s a link that shows how profoundly your teaching impacted my growth as a listener: http://sowhatwouldyousay.wordpress.com/2011/12/14/thank-you-for-listening/
    …and, Wayne says, “Hi.”
    Glad you’re back, Jamie

  3. 4 Mary Valentine December 29, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Dennis, I am wondering what state you live in? This is exactly what is happening in Michigan right now. As a matter of fact the first school district operated by a for-profit company is in Muskegon Heights, Michigan. One example of the kind of education they are offering: they cannot afford to provide a high school library while they are making $1.5 million in profit. Thank you for this clear picture of what is happening to education.

    • 5 Dennis Sparks December 29, 2012 at 9:09 am

      You are correct, Mary. I do live in Michigan. Unfortunately, though, this destructive narrative extends far beyond our state.


  1. 1 Radical Learners « Six Ways Principals Can Support Instructional Coaching Radical Learners Trackback on June 25, 2013 at 9:00 am
  2. 2 How Principals Can Support Instructional Coaching - Radical Learners Radical Learners Trackback on June 25, 2013 at 1:21 pm
  3. 3 What I Said to Dennis | Trackback on April 16, 2014 at 9:52 am

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