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Willard Daggett, Ed.D.    

Founder & Chairman of the International Center for Leadership in Education

Bill Daggett, Ed.D., is the founder of both the Successful Practices Network and the International Center for Leadership in Education. He is recognized worldwide for his proven ability to move preK-12 education systems towards more rigorous and relevant skills and knowledge for all students. For 30 years, he has crisscrossed our nation, as well as the industrialized world, to lead school reform efforts to effectively prepare students for their future.

While an avid supporter of public education, he also challenges all of us to be more focused on our children’s future than on maintaining the schools of our youth. His insights and leadership have caused nearly every major education association in the country, hundreds of school districts, numerous political and business leaders, publishers, and others to seek out his advice and guidance.

Dr. Daggett began his career as a teacher, local administrator, and then director with the New York State Education Department. He spends much of his time providing leadership and guidance to the National Dropout Prevention Center and the Career and Technical Education Technical Assistance Center, which are part of the Successful Practices Network.

He is the creator of the Rigor/Relevance Framework which has recently become the cornerstone of much of the nation’s school reform efforts. He is also the author of numerous books about learning and education, textbooks, research reports, and journal articles.

Dr. Daggett has been recognized as a distinguished alumnus by both Temple University and the State University at Albany.

Dr. Daggett has a special commitment to individuals with disabilities. He and his wife, Bonnie, volunteer their time and lend their support to Wildwood Programs in upstate New York. Wildwood serves the needs of people of all ages who, like their daughter Audrey, have neurological impairments/learning disabilities or autism, by enabling them to become the best that they can be.

Speech Topics


Moving Vision to Action

From classroom teacher to principal to superintendent—and everyone in between—our school days are filled with more tasks and challenges than there are hours in a day. How can you find the time, energy, and resources to implement the most valuable, innovative practices our nation’s most rapidly improving schools are teaching us? How can you take your vision and break it down into actionable steps? Dr. Daggett will guide you through a series of action steps that will enable you to implement in your classroom, school, and district to better prepare students for success in the world in which they will work, learn, and interact.

Career Ready Trumps College Ready

So long as we keep our focus on preparing students for the next test, the next grade, and the next level of education, we will continue to focus on skills that have little relevance in the dramatically changing world. In today’s world – where lifelong learning and adaptability will define long, successful lives and careers – career ready trumps college ready, period. Taking some focus off of the test and primarily academic skills requires courage and a strategic shift in systems and instruction. Having studied those schools who have taken such decisive action, Dr. Daggett will share how you, too, can define and then close the gap between what your students need for tomorrow and what your school is providing today. It can be done.

Beyond COVID-19: The Academic and SEL Needs of Our Students

The COVID-19 interruption brought unparalleled challenges to every school district in the country. Using the lessons we have learned from those experiences, coupled with the dramatic changes in the workplace, home, and society, Dr. Daggett will focus attention on what now needs to be done for the 2021/22 school year and beyond to prepare our students and our schools for future success – a future that will be dramatically different than the past in terms of what, how, when, and where students will learn, interact, and work.

Preparing Students for Their Future—NOT our Past

The COVID pandemic alongside the drive for social justice have consumed education leaders, teachers, students, and communities nationwide. Couple that with the accelerating impact of advancing technologies and the changing values and aspirations of young people and you will find is a tipping point in both the need for, and opportunity to address, meaningful change in and around the U.S. education system. Dr. Daggett will lay out how the nation’s most rapidly improving schools have created a culture that is first, supportive of change and second, able to make the necessary fundamental shifts in how instruction is organized and delivered and how learners are assessed.

Lessons Learned from Learning 2025: National Commission on Student-Centered, Equity-Focused Education

Equity, social justice, Social-Emotional Learning, mental health, and a rigorous and relevant instructional program for all students are recent but critical issues that schools today are required to address. Meanwhile, the demands of the past have not gone away. The brick-and-mortar school model of the last century with the bell schedule, boundaries, rules, regulations, certifications, tenures, contracts, and a hyper-focus on meeting proficiency on high-stakes tests continue to demand attention. While the demands continue to compound, a silver lining is emerging through the hardships brought on by COVID. It has created a tipping point for many educators, policy makers, business leaders, and parents around the immediate need to transform our education system. The pandemic has also taught us that change is possible in the ways we had not imagined even one year ago.

Dr. Bill Daggett will share emerging solutions to these challenges. He is co-chairing a National Commission named “Learning 2025: National Commission on Student-centered, Equity-focused Education” with AASA, in cooperation with several other national organizations. The National Commission was charged with identifying and documenting the cognitive and non-cognitive skills, knowledge, behaviors, and dispositions that high school graduates will need to master to prepare for the digital age workplace as citizens of a global community. They then set in motion a national search for the most successful practices at developing these skills, knowledge, behaviors, and dispositions in all students.

Dr. Daggett will share the evidence-based practices that the Commission identified to be most effective and provide suggestions on how school districts can implement these practices from classroom to boardroom.

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