New Book Uncovers Path To Personalized Learning.

Best-selling author Dr. Shawn K. Smith provides superintendents and educational leaders a practical approach to transform teaching and learning for the 21st Century. 

K-12 education is facing its most significant “tipping point” in nearly a century. Technology advancements have created the capability to improve student outcomes significantly through personalized learning. Despite this opportunity, districts across the country are struggling to keep pace with the rate of technological change as it surpasses their ability to adapt and produce graduates who can compete in today’s world. At the heart of this struggle are district leaders, who find themselves overwhelmed and torn between society’s call to action and the challenge of technology adoption. Given the number of solutions and vendors flooding the market, leaders are turning to immediate, near-sighted solutions that fail to meet their district’s long-term, systemic needs. Overwhelmed and frustrated educational leaders need a revolutionary perspective and approach for engaging in this imperative effort. In his new book, The New Agenda, Dr. Shawn K. Smith provides the practical path to personalize learning used by some of today’s most prominent and innovative educational leaders. 

The New Agenda teaches educational leaders how to do the following:

  • Think strategically about the unification of the education system to personalize learning effectively 
  • Identify the processes for building a strategic plan
  • Understand the interdependencies of learning management systems, digital content, and digital tools
  • Design and develop a digital ecosystem
  • Implement processes for writing a digital and/or blended curriculum
  • Develop short-term and long-range professional learning plans for all employees in the school district

The rate of advancement in technology has created significant challenges for K-12 leaders who are groomed and practiced in antiquated systems and need new strategies to navigate this change. Whether struggling to evolve from the traditional classroom model or preparing to engage in this important work, The New Agenda is a must-read book for changing the way we think about 21st Century education. 

Media Contact:
Kelly Jones
Marketing Manager
Modern Teacher

Praise for The New Agenda

This is a must-read for every educational leader frustrated by the constraints of the traditional classroom and overwhelmed by the accelerating rate of technological change. It’s also a must-read for every leader seeking a new path forward. The New Agenda provides the lens for effective technology integration to overcome the status quo and meet the demands of today’s fast and ever-changing world
— Dr. Dallas Dance, Superintendent, Baltimore County Public Schools, Maryland
Dr. Smith confirms what many of us have thought, but few have been so succinctly able to articulate: Our education system remains the last frontier in technology adoption—precisely because of the mental models, status quo, and complex dynamics that inhabit it. What Dr. Smith offers is a systematic process for shifting from the analog world to the digital one and therefore ensuring teachers and students capitalize on the promise of technology offered decades ago. Our students’ future success relies on this shift occurring.
— Dr. Peter Gorman, President and CEO, Peter Gorman Leadership Associates
I recommend The New Agenda to any superintendent in search for a proven methodology to transform teaching and learning through technology and systemic redesign. As the author so aptly writes, ‘As a leader looking to transition your district to the modern learning environment, you face a status quo over a century in the making.’ Given the unprecedented level of resistance and calls for reform facing our leaders, we need an unprecedented solution. This book offers one.
— Dr. David Richards, Superintendent, Fraser Public Schools, Michigan

About The Author


Shawn K. Smith is currently serving as President of Modern Teacher and a national leader on issues surrounding digital education and pedagogy. He is compelled to preserve education’s rich heritage and support America’s teachers and leaders as they transition traditional classrooms into modern learning environments. 

He is an author, speaker, consultant, and rare book collector. Formerly Shawn was a teacher, principal, and Chief of Schools for 15 years in school districts in Illinois and California. He has made appearances on both Discovery and Learning channels as well as various radio, web, and podcast programs. Shawn holds degrees from Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin (bachelor’s degree, elementary education), the California State University, San Bernardino (master’s degree, middle school education), and the University of Southern California (doctoral degree, urban education policy and leadership).

Books, Television Appearances, and Professional
Journal Publications

  2012, 2014

Teacher as Architect, 1st Edition, 2nd Edition                      
Instructional Design and Delivery for the Modern Teacher
Book Publication

February 2011

Discovery Channel                                                                   
The Profile Series
Featured cover story for Area 13, Chicago Public Schools mathematics gains. 

April 2008

Has Culture Changed? Reflections from the field                    
Disney Concert Hall: Los Angles Music Division

October 2007

Visual Imagery as (Art)ful Evidence: Rethinking How We See Urban Education            Publication- SchoolArts Magazine 

September 2007

Developmental Studies Center                                                 
Principal and Teacher Training Video Series
Oakland, California

May 2007

The Hang Twenty Project: A Surfboard Invitational                
Publication- SchoolArts Online Magazine

November 2006

Discovery Channel and Learning Channel                               
Featured as the cover story on Education Showcase- innovative ways to teach mathematics.
Filmed at CNBC Studios- The Movie Loft, Ft. Lee, NJ. 

Summer 2006

Cultural Trekking- Delving Inside Brain University                  

Publication- Chapman University Magazine
An educator teams with a neuroscientist to understand the mind and make innovative changes to instructional design. 

January 2005

The Value of Dialogue                                                             
Publication- SchoolArts Magazine

July 9, 2004

ABC Eyewitness News                                                               
Featured on ABC-Los Angeles as original concept design
and curator for Surfin’ Hermosa Public Art Project. 

July 9, 2004

Los Angeles Times                                                                   
Front Page LA Times for “Beach Town Catches Public Art Wave.” 

October 2003

Life at its Best: Traveling art exhibit sparks student dialogue    
Publication- SchoolArts Magazine

Professional Presentations

March 2011

 Teacher as Architect:                                                              
The Superintendent as Instructional Leader
District Administration Magazine Summit
Phoenix, AZ

October 2010

Scaling Mathematics Success in an Urban District               
Recipient Speech District of Distinction featured
with keynote speaker Sally Ride
MIND Research Institute
Santa Ana, CA

June 2010

Mathematics in a Spiky World:                                               
Creating structures in schools to promote competitiveness
National School Boards Association
Chicago, IL

June 2008

Creating Structures that Promote Success                              
International Center for Leadership in Education
Orlando, FL

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