S. Dallas Dance
Superintendent, Baltimore County Public Schools
Distinguished as a vibrant and visionary leader, Superintendent Dr. S. Dallas Dance has united Baltimore County Public Schools students, staff, and the community into Team BCPS, a powerful force committed to producing globally competitive graduates. As superintendent of the 25th largest school system in the nation, Dr. Dance, whose tenure began in 2012, is responsible for overseeing the instruction of about 111,000 students and leading and managing a $1.76 billion budget, more than 21,000 employees, and 175 schools, centers, and programs.
In collaboration with Team BCPS, Dr. Dance spearheaded the development of Blueprint 2.0, a five-year strategic plan focused on academics, safety, communication, and organizational effectiveness. One critical strategy is making high school graduation a systemwide priority. As a result, the BCPS graduation rate surged to 87.8 percent for the Class of 2015, up four percentage points since Dr. Dance’s tenure began in 2012. BCPS was honored with a 2014 District of Distinction award from District Administration magazine for these gains.
Under Dr. Dance’s leadership, fundamental shifts in teaching and learning are taking place through groundbreaking initiatives. First, S.T.A.T. (Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow) is designed to create a 1:1 digital learning environment for all 111,000 students. S.T.A.T. put curriculum first, redefining how instruction is delivered, and placing a stronger emphasis on personalized instruction and critical thinking skills. In addition, Passport Schools are expanding world language instruction into elementary grades so that students graduate fluent in a second language.
Dr. Dance’s contributions to creating learner-centered environments through technology have been honored with successive Digital Innovation Learning Awards from Digital Promise and Ed Surge: the 2014 Walk the Walk award and the 2015 Open Door Policy award. In 2014, Dr. Dance was appointed to the 12‐member board of directors for the International Society for Technology in Education, was named one of eight eSchool News 2014 Tech‐Savvy Superintendents, and represented the United States at the Global Symposium on ICT (Information and Communications Technology) in Education in Korea. The White House named Dr. Dance a Connected Educator Champion of Change in 2013.
Further, BCPS became a District of Distinction in 2015 for personalizing learning through S.T.A.T. as well as earning the Digital Content and Curriculum Achievement Award from the Center for Digital Education. Also in 2015, Microsoft selected BCPS as its sole “Showcase” school system for innovative digital teaching and learning. BCPS was accepted into the League of Innovative Schools, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation awarded BCPS a $1.5 million grant to advance equity and digital learning.
Positioning students to thrive in the future is a hallmark of Dr. Dance’s administration. Grade 11 SAT participation soared from 37.8% in 2011-2012 before Dr. Dance’s arrival to 87.5% in 2015. The increase came about thanks to SAT School Day, which gives all Grade 11 students the opportunity to take the SAT at their own schools during the school day and without cost. In addition, to prepare more students to take the SAT, all students in Grades 9, 10, and 11 now can take the PSAT/NSMQT at no charge also during the school day.
Dr. Dance’s leadership and influence were recognized with his 2014 appointment to President Obama’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. He was selected by colleagues to serve on the executive committee for AASA, the School Superintendents Association.
Recent awards include being named a Superintendent to Watch by NSPRA and an Influential Marylander Honoree by the Baltimore Daily Record. Additional honors include being named one of 10 LinkedIn Next Wave education professionals, one of the National School Board Association’s 20 to Watch educators, and one of the Baltimore Daily Record’s Most Admired CEOs.
Open dialogue with the community—both in-person and digitally—is central to Dr. Dance’s administration. More stakeholders are engaged with BCPS than ever before through the annual State of the Schools celebration, a reinvigorated Education Foundation, Parent University, advisory councils, town halls, community forums, the “We Are Team BCPS” marketing campaign, and live-streaming of public meetings, as well as a redesigned website, better use of social media, and the launch of the BCPS Now mobile app, Deliberate Excellence blog, and a weekly e-newsletter. An annual stakeholder satisfaction survey, which historically attracted about 500 participants each year, engaged 73,130 students, parents, staff, and community members in 2016. In recognition of their commitment to communications, Dr. Dance and BCPS Chief Communications Officer Mychael Dickerson received the prestigious 2015 Leadership Through Communication Award from AASA, the National School Public Relations Association, and Blackboard.
Additional areas of focus have been enhancing special education services and magnet programs through a strategic audit and redevelopment process; expanding preschool access; increasing equity and rigor; and rethinking middle schools. 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 to initiate preventive school safety measures in every building.
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, the seventh largest school system in the nation. 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.
Dr. Dance received his doctorate degree in educational leadership and a master’s degree in administration and supervision from Virginia Commonwealth University. 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.