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Getting Smart Podcast

Nov 27, 2019

Today on the podcast, Tom Vander Ark is speaking with Dr. James Lane, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction at the Virginia Department of Education. Dr. Lane started his career in education serving as a band teacher, a school leader, and then System Head in two districts before finally ending up at the Virginia Department of Education. He really wanted to see more engaging approaches to learning and truly believes that the best decisions are made as close to the child as possible. He’s even announced that his office, which some thought of as the ‘Tower of ‘No’’ would soon be the ‘Tower of ‘Yes.’’”


In this discussion with Tom, Dr. James Lane describes the Virginia is for Learners Innovation Network (a collaborative effort of over 60 school districts), the work being done in VDOE, and the work being done in partner districts with the help of Virginia! Later in this episode, you’ll also get to hear from investor-turned-advocate, Ted Dintersmith, who joins Dr. Lane to lend his support for all of the innovation lining up in the Commonwealth!


Tune in to hear from both Dr. Lane and Ted Dintersmith on how Virginia is unleashing innovation!


Key Takeaways:

[:14] About today’s episode!

[1:17] Tom welcomes Dr. James Lane and Ted Dintersmith to the podcast!

[1:43] Dr. Lane speaks about where he grew up, his early education, and how that all led to him becoming Superintendent in Virginia.

[3:03] What attracted Dr. Lane originally to the role of State Superintendent?

[4:45] Has the Portrait of a Graduate proven to be useful infrastructure in Virginia?

[6:11] How Virginia has gotten this delicate balance of both signaling a new era and avoiding mandates right.

[7:11] Tom congratulates Ted Dintersmith on his most recent book, What School Could Be.

[7:31] Ted shares some of the feedback he’s received from speaking around the country about his new book.

[8:13] Is Virginia Ted’s adopted home state?

[8:45] What does Ted think is heading in the right direction in Virginia?

[10:11] Ted speaks about Albermarle County Public Schools and the growth he has seen there.

[11:18] Dr. Lane speaks about the newly launched Virginia is for Learners Innovation Network!

[14:40] Tom highlights some of the fantastic work that is being done in Loudoun County Public Schools.

[15:48] What kind of learning would Ted hope to see from some of the high schools that are a part of the districts in this movement?

[19:27] Dr. Lane speaks about how other partners in this initiative are becoming involved in this work.

[21:30] Ted gives advice on the best ways to mobilize this work for other regional leaders and state leaders.

[24:37] What’s next for Virginia? What does the roadmap look like for the next couple of years?

[26:55] Tom and Dr. Lane both thank Ted for all of the work he’s done!

[27:56] Where to learn more about Virginia is for Learners Innovation Network, Virginia Department of Education, and the other partner districts!

[28:35] Where to find out more about Ted and his book, What Schools Could Be.

[29:28] Tom thanks both Ted and Dr. Lane for joining the podcast!


Mentioned in This Episode:

James Lanes LinkedIn

James Lanes Twitter: @DrJamesLane

Virginia Department of Education (VDOE)

Aurora Institute Symposium

Virginia is for Learners Innovation Network

Ted Dintersmith

Portrait of a Graduate

What School Could Be: Insights and Inspiration from Teachers Across America, by Ted Dintersmith

Albemarle County Public Schools

Virginia is for Lovers

Loudoun County Public Schools

Getting Smart Podcast Ep. 229: “Eric Williams on Empowering Students to Make a Contribution

Innovation Playlist


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