Superintendent, Baltimore County Public Schools
Distinguished as a vibrant and driven leader, Superintendent Dr. S. Dallas Dance has united Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) students, staff and the community into Team BCPS, a powerful force committed to deliberate excellence and to producing globally competitive graduates. In collaboration with Team BCPS, Dr. Dance spearheaded the development of Blueprint 2.0, a five-year strategic plan focused on improving academics, safety, communication and organizational effectiveness.
In 2014, Dr. Dance was appointed to the 12-member board of directors for the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and was named one of eight eSchool News Tech-Savvy Superintendents. He became one of 10 White House Connected Educator Champions of Change and was recognized by his alma mater as a Virginia Commonwealth University Alumni Star, both in 2013. Dr. Dance is highly regarded for his problem-solving, consensus-building, communication and human relations skills. He believes strongly in the potential of every student and that, with the support of Team BCPS, all students will achieve at the highest levels.
Academic milestones are already evident under Dr. Dance’s leadership. Curriculum and infrastructure redesign are underway to fundamentally shift teaching and learning through S.T.A.T.—Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow—equipping each teacher and student with a digital device that will enable personalized learning. The four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate surged to 86.3% for the Class of 2013, gaining nearly two and half percentage points in a single year with the help of concerted efforts to identify struggling students and provide small-group and online options for completing diploma requirements.
Audits of special education services and the district’s magnet programs are guiding improvements in equity and effectiveness. At the school system's second annual State of the Schools event in April 2014, Dr. Dance announced plans to pilot a Grade 4 blended-learning Spanish program in 10 schools, propose an equity policy to ensure fair access to quality learning, expand preschool access and improve middle school rigor.
Early in his superintendency, Dr. Dance restructured administration to ensure more targeted support to the schools that need it most and established a new Office of School Safety and Security. His administration continues to be proactive in initiating preventive measures to promote school safety including controlled access systems in every building.
Open dialogue with the community—both in-person and digitally—and professional development for all staff members are additional hallmarks of his administration. More stakeholders are engaged with BCPS than ever before through a reinvigorated Education Foundation, new advisory councils, town halls, community forums, and live-streaming of public meetings, as well as a redesigned website and the launch of the BCPS Now mobile app, a blog and a weekly e-newsletter.
As superintendent of the 26th largest school system in the nation, Dr. Dance is responsible for overseeing the instruction of 108,376 students and leading and managing a $1.4 billion budget, 18,783 employees, and 173 schools, centers and programs.
Prior to his appointment in Baltimore County, Dr. Dance served as one of three chief school officers responsible for the administration of nearly 300 schools in the Houston Independent School District (HISD), the seventh largest school system in the nation and the largest in Texas. As part of the HISD senior leadership team, Dr. Dance played a significant role in numerous milestones, including achieving record high graduation rates and record low dropout rates; record high participation and performance on Advanced Placement (AP) tests; unprecedented double-digit math gains in the district's lowest performing schools (achieved in collaboration with Harvard University's EdLabs); an increase in the number of students at or above grade level in reading and math; and an overall decrease in the achievement gap.
At HISD, Dr. Dance spearheaded the launch of several innovations including a pre-AP English language arts and mathematics curriculum (in partnership with the College Board); two single-gender college preparatory academies with a strong science, technology, engineering and mathematics focus; and the redesign of a school to accelerate at-risk students two grade levels in one year. In addition, Dr. Dance assumed a pivotal role in addressing difficult issues, primarily a budget deficit of more than $120 million over a two-year period and school facility efficiencies.
Before his tenure in Houston, Dr. Dance served in executive leadership positions in Virginia that leveraged his expertise in curriculum, instruction, assessment, school improvement and strategic planning. Those positions included director of school improvement for Chesterfield County Public Schools and assistant superintendent for Louisa County Public Schools. While in Virginia, he also worked as a principal and assistant principal at the middle and high school levels, and as a high school English teacher in Henrico County Public Schools.
Dr. Dance has served as an adjunct professor at several universities, including the University of Houston, the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University. It was at Virginia Commonwealth that he received his master's degree in administration and supervision and a doctorate degree in educational leadership. He earned a bachelor's degree in English from Virginia Union University.A resident of Baltimore County, Dr. Dance enjoys travel, music, reading and all sports, especially golf. He is the proud father of one son, Myles Dallas Dance.