ROSS DANIS, Ed.D
Career Overview and Highlights:
- Associate Dean of Education: Caspersen School of Graduate Studies, Drew University, Madison, NJ. 2009-present
- International Clinical Professor: Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ. 2009-present
- Education Program Director for the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, 2000 to 2009
- Member of adjunct faculty in the Executive Ed.D. program of Seton Hall University, 1997 to present
- Senior National Lecturer on Educational Leadership and Change for Nova Southeastern University, 1998-2006
- Recipient of the Kathleen Cooper Wright Award for Dissertation Excellence for doctoral dissertation on “Personal Development as Professional Development,” 1998
- Assistant Superintendent of Schools in Randolph, NJ, 1997-2000
- Featured in a PBS Documentary on school leadership entitled “Quicksand and Banana Peels,” 1997
- Recipient of Star School Recognition, 1995
- Founding member of the Principals Center for the Garden State, 1994
- Principal of Clinton Public School, 1994-1997
- K-12 district supervisor of Social Studies, 1990-1994 Parsippany School District
- Full-time staff developer at the highly regarded Academy for the Advancement of Teaching and Management, 1986
- Instructional practitioner at the Academy for the Advancement of Teaching and Management, 1985
- District Teacher of the Year, 1980 Pinelands Regional School District, Tuckerton, NJ
- Recipient of Rotary Exchange Fellowship to India to travel and teach in public schools in Southern India during a sabbatical, 1983
Curriculum and Instruction, Parental and Community Engagement, State-Wide Contributions to Teaching and Leaning, and Management: Selected Details
Curriculum and Instruction
- Named as a full-time Staff Developer at the highly regarded Academy for the Advancement of Teaching and Management in 1986: Responsible for designing and presenting multiple day workshops and seminars with intensive follow-up opportunities for thousands of New Jersey teachers and administrators from over two thirds of New Jersey's school districts. Topics included Instructional Theory into Practice, Cooperative Learning, Critical Thinking, Brain-Based Instruction, Developing a Vision, Collaborative Decision Making, and Leadership and Change.
- Senior National Lecturer on Educational Leadership and Change, Nova Southeastern University: Spent 10 years working in largely impoverished communities across the United States, assisting predominantly African-American administrators to develop educational leadership strategies and providing them with the tools to implement systemic change to improve student achievement.
- Adjunct professor and co-author of the doctoral level course on educational leadership at Seton Hall University. Have taught every cohort of doctoral candidates in the Executive Ed.D. program since its inception.
- Author of Kaplan University's online master’s level Course on Curriculum and Instruction.
- Responsible for new teacher induction and training in the Pennridge School District, Pennridge, Pennsylvania since 1997.
- Developed the first public school multi-age program as a companion to a single grade primary school program in New Jersey while serving as the principal of
Clinton Public School in Hunterdon County.
- Developed a county-wide professional development program while serving as
K-8 principal at Clinton Public School.
- Developed and distributed “Teacher as Researcher” a quarterly journal of action research on best practices.
- Served as principal of Clinton Public School, which received a Star School designation—the only elementary school provided with such a distinction in 1994 by the New Jersey State Department of Education.
- Created public school “choice” inside of a traditional public school. This included options for an “Academy” program, as well as several additional program options to satisfy the diverse needs of learners.
- While assistant superintendent of schools in Randolph, New Jersey headed a district-wide and highly controversial curriculum revision that eliminated ability grouping practices in the primary grades.
- Led a coalition of parents, clergy, health professionals, and community leaders to revise the “family life” curriculum, while serving as assistant superintendent of schools in Randolph.
- Revised the observation and evaluation process so that it became instrumental to improve performance in addition to auditing performance to determine contract renewal procedures.
- Created interdisciplinary frameworks and revised lesson planning procedures that allowed for innovative approaches to teaching and learning.
- Instituted professional development programs for regular education teachers that provided them with skills normally associated with special education teachers, thereby reducing the number of students in need of special education services.
- Aligned curriculum standards to state and national standards and facilitated the development of assessment instruments that provided data that was then used by teachers to improve practice and student achievement.
- Strong positive reputation as an educator with extensive knowledge of the latest and most effective approaches to literacy development.
- Written and have had district-wide professional development plans approved by county and state offices.
- Possess a deep understanding of principles of effective instruction and have aligned district structures, procedures, evaluative systems and professional development practices so that these processes undergird all professional practice.
- Have served as a consultant to dozens of school districts focused on increasing student achievement through the implementation of best practices in teaching and learning.
- Keynote and/or seminar leader on topics such as effective instruction, assessment and evaluation, leadership and change, educational trends and issues, and critical and creative thinking at state and national conferences, seminars, institutes, and workshops.
Parent and Community Engagement:
- Created intergenerational writers workshops for community members while serving as a K-8 school principal.
- Developed a program to have grandparents record their favorite children’s books and stories and make them available as a “take home grandparent” for children who did not have anyone to read to them at night.
- Created one of the first systems of its kind in New Jersey that had every teacher in a school recording assignments, notices and weekly objectives on individual voice mail so that parents and guardians could access what was taking place and being taught in each child’s classroom.
- Condensed each grade level curriculum on to one 8½ x 11 inch piece of paper per grade and sent it home, along with a refrigerator magnet with the school contact information so parents could know exactly what was expected of their child subject by subject, grade by grade.
- Engaged community service groups such as Rotary, Kiwanis and local institutions including libraries and museums in providing enrichment activities, internships, and scholarship programs for young people—all while serving as either a principal or assistant superintendent of schools.
- Published articles and made presentations to parent groups, including the local and state affiliates of the Parent Teacher Association on effective ways to increase parental involvement in the education of children.
- As the program director of a major philanthropic institution, cultivated and provided support for statewide education organizing, parental engagement programs, and advocacy organizations all focused on school and district improvement in order to increase access to educational excellence.
- Assisted in the development of multiple university and K-12 partnerships that increased teacher effectiveness, teacher recruitment, student achievement, and parental engagement.
State-wide Contributions to the Improvement of Teaching and Learning:
- Appointed by former New Jersey Commissioner of Education, William Librera, to serve on the Quality Teaching and Learning Task Force, which made recommendations to the State Board of Education regarding teacher recruitment, professional development, and teacher retention.
- Appointed by former Governor McGreevey, to serve on the Educational Mandate Commission to make recommendations to the State Board of Education regarding the elimination of bureaucratic redundancies and duplicative educational mandates in order to streamline district operations across the State of New Jersey.
- Served on Governor Jon Corzine’s Education Transition Advisory Team.
- Served on Governor Chris Christie’s Education Transition Team. Chaired the sub-committee on school choice.
- Accepted awards for contributions to innovations in education from the State Department of Education, The Charter Public School Association, and statewide arts education organizations.
- Chaired the revision of the Arts Education component of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, “ArtsPlan New Jersey.”
- Served on the Educational Advisory Board of New Jersey Network and Liberty Science Center.
- Served as a founding board member of the New Jersey Education Association’s Center for Teaching and Learning.
- Assisted in the creation of the Principals’ Center for the Garden State, served as a charter trustee, vice president, and then president of the Board of Trustees of the Principals’ Center for the Garden State ─ a service organization designed to build networks of support for principals interested in innovative practices and school improvement initiatives.
- Assisted in the creation of a Superintendents Network in partnership with the Panasonic Foundation. The New Jersey Superintendent’s Network will provide opportunities for New Jersey superintendents to increase their knowledge of, and ability to implement, principles of effective instruction.
- Participate in identifying and supporting programs that have provided access to educational excellence for thousands of underserved children and their families in New Jersey’s most beleaguered communities and cities including Camden, Trenton, Paterson, Jersey City, and especially, Newark.
- Lead the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers’ Educational Affinity Group. The mission of this organization is to assist regional and statewide education funders to craft coherent approaches to funding school renewal initiatives in the Garden State.
- Author of several articles on teacher recruitment and retention, education leadership and change, and personal development as a vehicle for professional development.
- Recipient of a grant from the Ford Foundation to create a vehicle for certifying teachers based on performance not class time.
- Consultant to the Eagle Rock School District on a national initiative to develop performance-based compensation.
- Created systems that streamlined bureaucratic processes and procedures leading to administrative efficiencies both as a school principal and as an assistant superintendent of schools.
- Created budgets, assisted in passing referendums, presided over two significant construction projects, successfully argued tenure cases against incompetent teachers in administrative court, and negotiated large scale teacher contracts between a school district and a powerful teachers union.
- Developed transportation routes, helped develop demographic projections, regularly produced all county and state compliance reports including Title I, and the Quality Assurance and Administrative Report (QAAR).
- Negotiated large-scale contracts with book vendors, equipment and supply manufacturers, and contractors of educational services including special education services.
- Managed transportation and maintenance workers, as well as sports and athletic operations, after-school services, teacher recruitment and certification, including criminal background checks, and all issues related to district, county, and statewide compliance.
- Worked closely with boards of education, finance committees, philanthropic boards of trustees—always successfully managing to negotiate “win-win” scenarios that enabled organizations to focus on their primary work and not be distracted by personal or complicated political agendas.
- Effectively developed a web-based presence for a school district as an assistant superintendent of schools to help the community access important resources and to become more familiar with district policies and procedures.
- Developed strategic communication plans that assisted in passing school budgets and spotlighting the good and effective work of multiple service organizations whose efforts directly benefit students and their learning.