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From DA

While on a recent flight across the South Pacific, I pondered the challenges facing American education. Somewhere high above Guam, it hit me. What we really need is a witty leadership book replete with checklists, platitudes, alliterations and loveable characters we can all relate to. Schools are in trouble, and the job is too big for mice, fish or even Dr. Phil.

Leading 42 districts through major changes calls for unusual abilities

Understanding the educational landscape is what Rudy Castruita does best. Now serving his 10th year at the top of the San Diego County Office of Education, his particular talent suits the gargantuan dimensions that come with his job.

Student teams pull together to investigate a community health enigma--and make curricular connections in the process

When Irene Runnels landed a school Suburban in the mud on the banks of the Red River, her boss responded with a grin and shrug of his shoulders.

Disputing Your IT Advice

It's blind to race, sex and even acne. And it's a place where popular and unpopular, gifted and at-risk, wealthy and poor take courses together as well as share stories and relate to each other's woes and wonders.

Imagine having a fast and inexpensive way to reach many people with a great advertisement of what your district has accomplished. Obviously, that's the case with your school district's Web site.

We called him "Swampy" Hayes, or the "Swamp Fox," after Frances Marion, the Revolutionary War hero whose spying tricks infuriated the British.

Even an inexperienced sleuth who happened upon the village of Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., could easily do it. The challenge: uncover the total compensation of the school district's leader.

"What you see is what I get," says man-in-charge Sidney A. Freund.

Anaheim Union High School District had 1,200 classrooms to renovate, 200 new ones to build, and nearly $300 million to do it. Building classrooms that would house the evolution of education and technology over the next 30 years proved the hardest part of the district's mandate.

Decisions, decisions. Windows or Macintosh computers? Inkjet or laser printers? DLP or LCD projectors? While it's fairly simple to choose PCs and printers, the projector question can be a stumper. That's because there are advantages and disadvantages to both technologies.

Advanced Media Design

MediaPOINTE SystemOne

www.mediapointe.com, Hardware, $59,990

Back-to-school time can be exciting, hectic and exhausting. Effective leaders take time to reflect and learn from others. Editor-at-Large Gary Stager has asked many of America's top education thinkers to share their advice for the year ahead.

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