There were lots of people scratching their head about Delaware’s phase one Race to the Top win yesterday.  It was not a last minute consultant generated application, it was the result of a decade of leadership from the Rodel Foundation–one guy that leveraged a small checkbook and a lot of smart advocacy to move a state from sleepy edreform backwater to RttT winner.

Advocacy seeks to change minds and policies; from that standpoint, Paul Herdman was a winner before RttT grants were announced.  My post from 1/15 outlines a decade of progress.

The notion that one passionate persistent person can change a state or a sector makes me think of the hundreds of young people that attended the Yale Education Leaders Conference last week.  They heard from Jon Schnur, the architect of RttT and one of two people that encouraged the sector to rethink talent development (Wendy Kopp being the other).

The hard work of execution begins today in DE, but we can celebrate with Paul for a few minutes and reflect on just how much progress has already been made.

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Tom Vander Ark is author of Difference Making at the Heart of Learning, The Power of Place, Better Together, Smart Parents, Smart Cities and Getting Smart. He is co-founder of Getting Smart and serves on the boards of Education Board Partners, 4.0 Schools, Digital Learning Institute, Latinx Education Collaborative, Mastery Transcript Consortium and eduInnovation. Follow Tom on Twitter, @tvanderark.


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