re·sil·ience\ri-ˈzil-yən(t)s\ noun: the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful after misfortune or disruptive change 

Since the inception of this blog in 2010 I have written more than 300 posts that have focused on ideas and practices related to teaching, school leadership, teamwork, professional learning, and cultures of continuous improvement.

While these topics remain important, I have basically said what I have to say about them, at least for the time being.

Recently, I have been been thinking about whether American values and this country’s political and civic institutions, including public education as we know it, are sufficiently robust to effectively respond to the unprecedented and unpredictable challenges they are likely to endure in coming years.

That led me to reflect on people and institutions that encounter adversity but are somehow strengthened through their experiences, emerging from them with newfound capacities and resourcefulness.

Such resilience can be found in people of all ages and walks of life and in organizations that serve many different purposes.

For the foreseeable future I will use this blog to seek a better understanding of individual and collective resilience and the ways in which it can be cultivated and applied in our personal and professional lives and in civic engagement.

As always, I look forward to your comments on what is offered here, both new and old.

I am emeritus executive director of the National Staff Development Council (now Learning Forward). My most recent books are Leading for Results, published by Corwin Press and Learning Forward, and Leadership 180: Daily Meditations for School Leaders published by Solution Tree Press.

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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