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How to Get Your Initiatives to Stick Once and For All

Guest(s): James Marshall
Date: 04/17/2023
Run time: 44:38
Season 5, Episode 6

Do you know how to identify the white space in your organization? No? Well not knowing could explain why some of your great ideas fail to gain traction. In this podcast, James Marshall discusses how school leaders can master successful implementation. Based on his new book Right From the Start, Marshall sets forth a pathway to get predictable results from your programming. From needs assessment straight through to evaluation, you’ll get user-friendly guidance on how to tackle this work with confidence.

James Marshall Photo

James Marshall

James Marshall’s lifelong work lies at the intersection of people and the organizations in which they work—and optimizing the synergy that fertile convergence holds. His scholarship, teaching, and consulting combine our understanding of human performance and organization development to assess strengths, devise strategy, and improve even the most vexing of challenges. Engagements have found him doing everything from evaluating virtual reality delivered training for active shooter containment, to devising strategy that improved the community-focused impacts realized by the national network of over 150 public television stations. He is currently Professor of Educational Leadership at San Diego State University, in the #1 ranked California State University College of Education. In his private practice, he serves as a thought partner to leaders seeking to hasten the collective impact of their organization’s investments—especially their human resources. From assessing strengths and needs to conceptualizing strategy and initiatives and then
measuring return on investment, Dr. Marshall’s unique approach relies on a proven mix of assessment and evaluation, appreciative inquiry, and empathic understanding that predictably yields quantifiable results. Clients particularly note his ability to use data—with novelty and persuasion—to drive change.

With over 200 publications to his credit, Dr. Marshall’s scholarship encompasses a diverse range of works that includes empirical research, program evaluation efforts, and policy development. His program evaluation endeavors are particularly significant and include over 250 individual studies of funded projects and program investments totaling more than $120 million dollars. This work has been funded by diverse agencies that include the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute for Library and Museum Services, the Public Broadcasting Service, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, as well as the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of the Interior, and the Transportation Security Administration. His work with state and local education agencies, school systems, and regional offices of education encompasses forty of the fifty United States.

Internationally, Dr. Marshall has influenced human and organization performance through his service on the International Board of Standards for Training, Performance, and Instruction (IBSTPI) board of directors. Here, his needs assessment-focused research assisted the organization in better understanding its audiences and their needs, as IBSTPI reformulated its long-term strategy and support of learning leaders worldwide.

He can be reached at marshall@sdsu.edu.

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Peter M. DeWitt Photo

Peter M. DeWitt

Peter DeWitt (Ed.D) is the founder and CEO of the Instructional Leadership Collective. He was a K-5 teacher for 11 years and a principal for 8 years. For the last 10 years, he has been facilitating professional learning nationally, and internationally, based on the content of many of his best-selling educational books. 


DeWitt's professional learning relationships are a monthly hybrid approach that includes both coaching and the facilitating workshops on instructional leadership and collective efficacy. 

Additionally, in the Summer of 2021, DeWitt created a year long on-demand, asynchronous coaching course through Thinkific where he has created a community of learners that include k-12 educators in leadership positions. 


DeWitt's work has been adopted at the state level, university level, and he works with numerous school districts, school boards, regional networks, ministries of education around North America, Australia, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the U.K.


Peter writes the Finding Common Ground column for Education Week, which has been in circulation since 2011. In 2020 DeWitt co-created Education Week's A Seat At the Table where he moderates conversations with experts around the topics of race, gender, sexual orientation, research, trauma and many other educational topics. 


Additionally, DeWitt is the Series Editor for the Connected Educator Series (Corwin Press) and the Impact Series (Corwin Press) that include books by Viviane Robinson, Andy Hargreaves, Pasi Sahlberg, Yong Zhao and Michael Fullan.


He is the 2013 School Administrators Association of New York State's (SAANYS) Outstanding Educator of the Year, and the 2015 Education Blogger of the Year (Academy of Education Arts & Sciences), and sits on numerous advisory boards. 

Peter is the author, co-author or contributor of numerous books. Click on title to purchase. They include:
Dignity for All: Safeguarding LGBT Students (Corwin Press. 2012).

Flipping Leadership Doesn't Mean Reinventing the Wheel (Corwin Press. 2014)

Collaborative Leadership: 6 Influences That Matter Most (Corwin Press/Learning Forward).

School Climate: Leading With Collective Teacher Efficacy (Corwin Press/ Ontario Principals Council. 2017).

Coach It Further: Using the Art of Coaching to Improve School Leadership (Corwin Press. 2018). 

Instructional Leadership: Creating Practice Out Of Theory (Corwin Press. 2020).

Collective Leader Efficacy: Strengthening the Impact of Instructional Leadership Teams (Corwin Press. Learning Forward. 2021).

De-implementation: Creating the Space to Focus on What Works (Corwin Press. 2022). 

Leading with Intention - Developing self-awareness to fostering an unreasonable human interconnectedness to impact the school community (co-authored with Michael Nelson. Corwin Press. 2024).

Peter's articles have appeared in educational research journals at the state, national and international level. His books have been translated into numerous languages. 

Some of the organizations Peter has worked with are the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), Learning Forward, National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), University of Oklahoma, Cognition Education (New Zealand), Australian Council for Educational Leaders (ACEL), Victoria Department of Education (Australia), University of Rotterdam (Netherlands), Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA), Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA), the National Education Association (NEA), New Brunswick Teacher's Association (Canada), the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), Education Scotland (Scotland), Glasgow City Council (Scotland), Kuwait Technical College (Kuwait) the National Association of School Psychologists, ASCD, l’Association des directions et directions adjointes des écoles franco-ontariennes (ADFO), the Catholic Principals’ Council of Ontario (CPCO), and the Ontario Principals’ Council (OPC), National School Climate Center, GLSEN, PBS, NPR, BAM Radio Network, ABC, and NBC's Education Nation.

Learn more about bringing Peter DeWitt to your school or district at petermdewitt.com

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Related Titles

Featured Publication
Right From the Start
The Essential Guide to Implementing School Initiatives

Related Webinar
3 Overlooked Strategies for Successful School Initiatives - Webinarphoto
3 Overlooked Strategies for Successful School Initiatives
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Other Episodes In

Administration & Leadership