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"Good commonsense ideas are embedded throughout. The more we document success, the greater the chance that others will replicate effective strategies."
"A must-read book for every school administrator. It blends business principles with excellent leadership in one of America’s largest school districts to create a model for achieving excellence in school districts everywhere. This is a well-written, practical illustration of how a leader makes things happen."
"McNeal and Oxholm offer a glimpse into the alignment required between district and community interests for public schools to regain the trust of the public and to emphasize academic gains as a unifying force for the future."
"Could easily serve as a handbook for successfully leading any school system, large or small, during this challenging era of high-stakes accountability. The real-world examples gave me numerous ideas and perspectives that I will act on immediately."
“This book of lessons is an outstanding review of the key elements to earning and holding the public trust. McNeal and Oxholm come from very different backgrounds, but their shared values identify the disciplines that are critical to building a successful public school system in an environment of high attention and scrutiny."
"Written from actual experience and provides specific responses to specific challenges. If a school system is interested in results rather than rhetoric, then it should follow the teachings in this book as the gospel."
"A remarkable tool for educators and communities. We are fortunate that a very effective former superintendent and successful business person are willing to share their quest for ensuring that all students are well prepared for their futures.”
"This book will broaden your view of school systems and show you how a bureaucratic organization can be operated in a flexible, sensitive, effective, and efficient manner. Regardless of your role, you will benefit from the insights of a great board of education member and a great superintendent."
“Bill McNeal and Tom Oxholm share their story of success in an urban school environment. It’s all here—courage, hard work, communication, patience, and persistence. The Wake County story commands the attention of all who truly value the public school as the essential bedrock of our democracy.”
"McNeal’s experiences as a teacher, principal, and superintendent coupled with Oxholm’s perspectives as a businessman and school board member make this case study a must-read work."