Welcome to the Great Conversation
Jamie Vollmer

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My Articles

The Path to Student Success
Requires Public Accountability

Education Week
August 31, 2011, VOL. 31, NO. 2

Welcome to the Great Conversation
Educational Leadership
May 2011, VOL. 68 NO 8

Public School Bashing:
A Dangerous Game

Leaders Edge
September 2010

Welcome to The Great Conversation
Texas Study of Secondary Education
Fall 2010

School Bashing As a
Blood Sport Must Stop

October 29, 2010

Other Articles

Honor Roll
The Principal News
The Association of Washing School Principals
Winter 2012

Board members: Start your ‘Great Conversations’
School Board News Today
February 6, 2011

Supply, demand: Grassroots effort on mission to alter Kentucky educational system
TheGleaner.com, October 30, 2010

Instead of Bashing Schools, try Community Conversations
Des Moines Register
October 10, 2010

Book Review: Schools Cannot
Do It Alone: Building Support
for America’s Public Schools

AP Insight, December 2010

The power to influence change

Schools Cannot Do It Alone
News Scope
October 2010

Building Public Support for
America’s Public Schools

Learn First Alliance
January 2011

Vollmer’s List
Progressive Praxis
January 2011

Q&A with Jamie Vollmer
American School Board Journal
January 2011

A Bit Off the Track, but...

Posted by: Jamie

Tagged in: Untagged 

It is rare that I come across a website that, while off topic, may be useful for some of the folks who visit here.

http://bizhumm.com is one of those sites.

Over the years, because of my roots in the private sector, audience members have approached me after my talks asking advice on starting or growing a small business. I recently discovered  bizHumm and have found it to be a friendly, free, beautiful site offering practical answers and useful information for starting and running every phase and type of small business. 

Membership in the bizHumm community is free, and sign-up - which takes less than one minute - provides immediate access to a powerful array of resources and tools. All by itself, downloading the guide, How to Start A Business, rewards the first-time visitor with an engaging, high value experience.

Friends of Texas Public Schools

Posted by: Jamie

Tagged in: Untagged 

It was a great honor to receive the 2012 Friend of the Year award from the wonderful organization the Friends of Texas Public Schools. The event was held in the Frontier Air Museum in Dallas. The room was filled with educators from across the state, many of whom I am proud to call my friends. The response to my brief, unplanned remarks have caused me to think more deeply over the holiday about my next steps. I begin the 2013 tour with new hope that we can halt the erosion of public trust and build support for America's public schools.

A Proud Recipient

Posted by: Jamie

Tagged in: Untagged 

I want to thank the members of the Ohio Federation of Teachers for selecting me to receive the 2012 Friend of Public Eduction Award. I was very moved by the presentation in Cincinnati last month. I hope that I live up to your kind words of praise.


At last, an update.

Posted by: Jamie

Tagged in: Untagged 

I always felt that if you were going to have a Blog you had a responsibility to keep it current. That's before I had a Blog.

I am spending my last day in the office attempting to clean off my To-Do list. Tomorrow I start the Great August Tour of 2011: 25 speeches in 16 cities in 29 days. Posting an entry is on my list. So is finishing an article for Education Week. That I have chosen to write this first is testimony to my willingness to procrastinate on the big stuff.

I am pleased to say that the response to my book continues to grow stronger. My son, Aidan, has assumed control of most marketing and fulfillment. We are approaching 8,000 books sold. I may not be a threat to Stephen King, but every sale is very gratifying. The kind words I regularly receive from readers by-pass my intellect and go straight to my heart.

What I find most interesting about the events that have transpired since the publication of Schools Cannot Do It Alone is how the tone of the national debate regarding the future of public schools has changed. I may lack the requisite objectivity, but it strikes me that the constant drumbeat of negativity has made the message more timely.

I am convinced that our elected leaders almost always reflect the consciousness of the people they serve. As a result, much of what has transpired across the country, especially in states like Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, and Idaho would not - could not - have happened if America's educators and their allies were engaged in an ongoing, positive conversation with the people of their communities; a conversation that, first and foremost, highlights the many miracles that occur in our schools everyday.

New Book. New website. And a son joins the business.

Posted by: Jamie

Tagged in: Untagged 

For twenty-two years, I have worked to increase student success in America’s public schools. I’ve traveled hundreds of thousands of miles. I have worked in hundreds of districts in dozens of states. My goal is always the same: to help educators, parents, business leaders, and community groups work together to create schools that unfold the full potential of every child. I have enjoyed many rewarding moments—more than I would have thought I deserved. But on July 13th, in a hotel ballroom in Charlotte, I entered a new phase in my career. And it began with a peak experience.

On that date, I was honored to receive the Learning and Liberty award, presented each year by the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) for “outstanding efforts to improve school/community relations.” The presentation of the award by president Tim Hensley was very gratifying. But I will never forget what happened next.

Months before, I had decided to release my new book at NSPRA’s annual conference. A room filled with school communication professionals seemed the perfect place to introduce a book with the title, Schools Cannot Do It Alone: Building Public Support for America’s Public Schools. As the day approached, however, fear began to temper my enthusiasm.

For the better part of seven years, I had labored alone, writing and rewriting the manuscript. I was seized with despair, too many times to count, convinced that no one would ever read a single word. My initial printing would be used for kindling in my fireplace. There were, of course, other times when I saw myself sitting on Oprah’s couch after winning the Pulitzer Prize. And it was those blissful daydreams that kept me going, which proves that delusion has its place in the creative process. The emotional tug of war continued unabated through the final weeks of writing, editing, and proofreading. By the time I landed in Charlotte, doubt, anxiety, hope, and anticipation churned in my stomach and raced through my chest. The moment of truth was at hand.

I was scheduled to receive the award during the morning’s general session. The agenda was straightforward. Tim would call me up on the stage, and make the presentation. I would accept the award, deliver a keynote address, and then walk to the conference bookstore prepared to sign books.