Excellent Teaching is the Blueprint for Excellent Leading

By Dennis Muizers

How do we learn to be excellent leaders? After 30 years in education, I often wish I could go back with the knowledge and experience I have now. I was a high school principal at age 28 and a PK-12 curriculum director at 32 looking for leadership inspiration. One of the first mistakes I made was incorrectly assuming that teaching and leading were two very different capacities. Thankfully, the reality for educational leaders who want to grow is that excellent leadership examples are happening in classrooms around you every day. It is only with a growth mindset and the willingness to reflect that you can take these examples and apply them to become an effective leader in your school or district.

Let’s take a closer look at the attributes of excellent teaching that can and should be your blueprint for excellent leadership, as well as the reflection questions that will help you hone these attributes.

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Implementing Large-Scale Instructional Programs: A Q&A with Educational Leaders

Funding and implementing large-scale instructional programs presents both significant challenges and unique opportunities for educational leaders in any district. They must navigate diverse student needs, funding constraints, and the ever-changing dynamics of teaching and learning. To shed light on these complexities, we recently hosted a roundtable discussion with two distinguished superintendents, Krystal Lomanto of San Benito County, California, and Michael P. West of Colusa County, California. Moderated by Dr. Gregory Spencer, VP of Bilingual Literacy and Equity Impact at Footsteps2Brilliance, and Dennis Muizers, VP of Literacy and Leadership at Footsteps2Brilliance, this Q & A captures valuable insights on addressing literacy needs, engaging communities, and more. Their experiences and wisdom provide valuable lessons for administrators striving to make a meaningful impact in their districts.

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Beat the Summer Slide: 7 Essential Tips for Keeping Students Sharp

Beat the Summer Slide: Tips for Student Engagement

Each summer, students risk falling into the “summer slide.” The summer slide is a phenomenon where students can lose up to three months of academic progress during the summer months, setting them back and making reentry into the next school year more difficult. Now that summer is upon us, here are seven proactive strategies that educators can recommend to parents and caregivers to ensure students return to school ready to continue their learning journey without missing a beat. With these essential tips for student engagement, you can help your students beat the dreaded summer slide.

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Who Cares?: A Personal Journey Overcoming Illiteracy

By Dr. Gregory A. Spencer, Vice President – Footsteps2Brilliance

Struggling with Illiteracy

Stupid, fool, ignorant, dumb. These were a few of the insults I received in school after moving from Gulfport, Mississippi to Oakland, California. I was illiterate; I couldn’t read, write, or function in the classroom setting. I found myself struggling in a world that didn’t welcome those who couldn’t produce, comprehend, or embrace English.

As an angry black boy that experienced a segregated elementary school in Mississippi, I had preconceived notions as to what learning was or should be. What I didn’t know until many years later is that I was, in essence, a second language learner due to illiteracy. I felt like an outcast, a foreigner in my own land. As a child, I stayed in the shadows so that I wouldn’t be laughed at or teased.

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Miss Kentucky 2022 Hannah Edelen Challenges Early Learners to Read and Write During National Family Literacy Month Modeled after Mayor Joe Meyer’s Early Childhood Initiative in Covington, KY.

For Immediate Release

Miss Kentucky 2022 Hannah Edelen  is challenging all Kentucky early learners to read and write during National Family Literacy Month beginning on November 1.  Joining this effort, Footsteps2Brilliance, a bilingual early literacy solution, is offering Kentucky children and families free access to interactive eBooks, songs, and games in English and Spanish. Kentucky families can access this free library at www.footsteps2brilliance.com/kentucky.


Inspired by Read Ready Covington‘s local initiative under the leadership of Mayor Joe Meyer, Hannah, a Kentucky teacher and author, created Read Ready Kentucky to equip all children with the tools to change the world through reading. As part of her Read Ready Kentucky campaign, she has partnered with Footsteps2Brilliance to provide access to a free library of 500+ interactive educational activities. Families can use this free library to participate in National Family Literacy Month by:

  • Reading books
  • Using the Footsteps2Brilliance Create-a-Book feature to write their own books
  • Recording themselves singing or reading the books
  • Taking selfies of themselves reading with their families
  • Sending their best work to Hannah at MissKY@footsteps2brilliance.com


“The access that all children will have through this free bilingual interactive library creates a much-needed bridge for literacy between school and home,” says Mayor Joe Meyer. “We look forward to seeing the students’ successes during National Family Literacy month.”

Participants will receive certificates signed by Miss Kentucky 2022. A select number also will receive a signed copy of Hannah’s book, Hank the Horse and the Case of the Missing Eggs or Honey the Horse and Kentucky Proud. Hannah wrote these books to teach young children, in a developmentally appropriate way, the importance of critically analyzing information and the value of Kentucky agriculture.

About Mayor Joe Meyer’s “Read Ready Covington”
Read Ready Covington is a city-wide early literacy initiative that helps families, caregivers and educators prepare our littlest readers to become future leaders. By using free access to learning applications such as Footsteps2Brilliance® and Clever Kids University® as well as other educational resources throughout the city, our shared goal creates an environment for lifelong learning in Covington that’s collaborative, comfortable and fun. Together, we are helping the children of Covington be prepared for a brighter future.


About Miss Kentucky 2022 Hannah Edelen
Hannah Edelen, Miss Kentucky 2022, is committed to student success. From teaching in her own classroom to inspiring students across the Commonwealth, Hannah encourages students to learn by sharing how education helped her overcome the obstacles in her life. Hannah recognizes the value of early literacy and how it is fundamental to creating a successful pathway whether it be attending a postsecondary institution, vocational training, military, or entering the workforce. “Together, let’s create a Read Ready Kentucky!””

About Footsteps2Brilliance
Footsteps2Brilliance, Inc. is the breakthrough early learning platform that accelerates early literacy achievement by uniting the power of mobile gaming technology with the latest in cognitive research. Footsteps2Brilliance provides enticing, interactive, 24/7 learning experiences that digitally link school and home to give students the edge they need for success in school today and the world tomorrow.  For further information contact: info@footsteps2brilliance.com.

Can Riverside County Students Read Three Million Words This Spring?

For Immediate Release

Contact: Craig Petinak, Riverside County Office of Education, cpetinak@rcoe.us

RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES, February 24, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — Riverside County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Edwin Gomez, has announced a Three Million Word Reading Challenge for students in Riverside County. As part of the ongoing Literacy by 5th Grade Initiative, the challenge will coincide with the annual National Read Across America activities that begin on March 2, 2022.

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Riverside County Office of Education Offers Free Access to Interactive, Early Literacy Program, Footsteps2Brilliance

For Immediate Release

Contact: Craig Petinak, cpetinak@rcoe.us

Riverside, Calif., January 26, 2022 — From pre-reading activities and read-to-you stories to alphabet recognition songs and grammar rules games, the youngest learners in Riverside County now have interactive, new tools right at their fingertips, to boost their early learning and love of reading as a result of a new partnership between the Riverside County Office of Education and Footsteps2Brilliance.

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Middletown Literacy Scores Soar by 175% Despite COVID Challenges

For Immediate Release

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

Middletown Literacy Scores Soar by 175% Despite COVID Challenges

Middletown CT – When Dr. Michael Conner joined Middletown Public Schools in 2017, he rallied the entire community to create “Bridge to Brilliance”, a citywide literacy initiative powered by Footsteps2Brilliance.  Dr. Conner’s vision was to eliminate the preparation and achievement gaps.  He provided all children birth-3rd grade with Footsteps2Brilliance’s comprehensive bilingual literacy apps to prepare them for kindergarten and third grade reading proficiency.  The apps were accessible on any smartphones, tablets, and computers that families already owned.

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