As Board Chair of the Vision Network of Delaware, I am very pleased to welcome Dr. Dana Diesel Wallace as its new Executive Director. The Vision Network is a coalition of school districts and charter schools that are focusing their efforts on three specific areas proven to be critical to student performance: building leadership capacity, strengthening instructional focus, and developing a culture that supports student success. The Network is comprised of 28 schools across eight districts and three charter schools, impacting 23,000 students in all three counties.
After a national search that included more than a 100 applicants, the Vision Network board has selected Dr. Wallace, and we believe she will be a great fit. Dana began her new role Monday, filling the post vacated by Mark Murphy when he was appointed Delaware Secretary of Education. She most recently served as the Vice President of School Development for North Carolina New Schools, a public-private catalyst for education innovation. Much like the Vision Network of Delaware, only larger, North Carolina New Schools has joined with partners in business, education, and government to develop and support about a hundred secondary public schools across the state.
During her more than 20-year education career, Dana has been a teacher, principal, administrator, and superintendent. She has a bachelor’s degree in education from Old Dominion University, a master’s
in educational leadership from Harvard University, and a doctorate in education from Teachers College at Columbia University. Dana worked for Wake County Public Schools as the senior director for middle school education, and then served as the superintendent
of West Fargo Public Schools in North Dakota. As Superintendent, she and her team fundamentally redesigned their curriculum and established a dual enrollment program. In her time there, she moved her district from the 50th percentile in AYP across all grades to approximately the 90th. Before her extensive career in public education, Dana was the owner/ operator of a photography business in Houston, TX.
There is amazing work going on in public schools throughout the state, but, unfortunately, it’s often done in isolation. In most states, educators often don’t have a vehicle to truly collaborate within districts, let alone across districts and collaboration among charter and district schools is almost unheard of. The Vision Network of Delaware is unique in this respect and the power it can unleash is already being realized in our schools. Given Dana’s background, we believe she is the perfect person to build the bridges necessary to build on what is already working and bring it to scale. Please join me in welcoming her to the Delaware education community, and say a hello next time you see her in your schools, a meeting, or at the grocery store.
Finally, on behalf of our board, I also wanted to relay a sincere thank you to Lois Hobbs and Michael Rasmussen who not only kept the work moving, but built out several new initiatives in the interim.