John Hodge | School Improvement Expert; Educating Students Socially, Academically and Morally

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John Hodge

School Improvement Expert; Educating Students Socially, Academically and Morally

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John Hodge

Dr. John W. Hodge is president and co-founder of Urban Learning and Leadership Center (ULLC), an organization focused on student achievement and reduction of the achievement gap. Dr. Hodge has over 28-years of experience in education, and is a nationally recognized consultant. During his career, Dr. Hodge has provided training and support to educators in over 300 rural, urban and sub-urban school districts that serve over a million students in the United States, Canada and South America. His work and expertise are particularly focused on the areas of leadership, student achievement, equity, student resilience, poverty and high academic achievement despite the presence of risk-factors.Prior to launching Urban Learning and Leadership Center, Dr. Hodge served as a reading teacher, English teacher, AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) teacher, and Assistant Principal of a large urban middle school that received recognition by the United States Department of Education as a National Blue-Ribbon School. Following his success in this position, Dr. Hodge was named Associate Director of AVID Center Eastern Division where he provided training and support to all AVID schools and district support teams in the eastern United States. This important work included all AVID schools in the state of Illinois. His passion and enthusiasm for working with underserved student populations resulted in him being named Director of An Achievable Dream Academy, a high-poverty inner city school in the commonwealth of Virginia. An Achievable Dream served over 1,000 K-12 students, over 95% of whom lived in poverty. It was here that many of the interventions used by Urban Learning and Leadership Center were piloted. Under the leadership of Dr. Hodge, An Achievable Dream Academy was named a National School of Character, and won the Mutual of America Community Partnership Award (MACPA), a national award that annually recognizes organizations that make significant societal impact. Dr. Hodge's leadership, expertise and collaborative spirit resulted in the academy becoming a fully accredited, high-performing school. The success of An Achievable Dream Academy became the catalyst for the creation of Urban Learning and Leadership Center. Recognizing the expertise of the ULLC staff and the efficacy of its school improvement model, Governor Mark Warner and Dr. Jo Lynne DeMary, Superintendent of Public Instruction for the state of Virginia, selected the Urban Learning and Leadership Center to provide training for selected schools statewide. This effort was called the Governor's Urban Learning and Leadership Institute. The training institute served as the genesis for the Governor's Partnership for Achieving Successful Schools (PASS) initiative. PASS targeted the state's academically warned schools based on results of Virginia's Standards of Learning exams.John received his Bachelor of Science degree from North Carolina A&T State University where he graduated with honors. He later received his Master of Arts degree from Chapman University. John completed his academic and professional preparation by earning a Doctor of Education degree from Virginia Tech where he conducted extensive research on factors that contribute to the academic success and/or failure of impoverished children. What sets Dr. John W. Hodge apart in the field of education is his well-documented ability to put research and theory into everyday practice in rural, urban and suburban schools. Dr. Hodge has helped educators in elementary, middle and high schools make the necessary changes to help all children meet and exceed rigorous academic standards. He is known as a master teacher and staff developer. Dr. Hodge's career has been defined by assisting students and teachers overcome obstacles and achieve goals. He has also served as an inspirational speaker throughout the United States.Dr. John W. Hodge is truly one of America's most respected voices in education. His seminars are often "the spark" for schools in their quest to meet and exceed state/federal accreditation standards and implement strategies for continuous improvement. Dr. Hodge is an expert in helping schools create and sustain academic excellence.Prior to starting his career in education, Dr. Hodge distinguished himself in the service of our country with the 7th Infantry Division of the United States Army.

John Hodge
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John Hodge
Featured Keynote Programs


The education of America’s youth is a challenging prospect when one considers the many burdens faced by impoverished children and their families. Research indicates that poverty need not be a barrier to academic excellence. As co-author of the book Standing in the Gap, Dr. Hodge states, "Across the nation, schools are demonstrating that it can be done: That students can reach high standards, that all children can succeed, that the gap between white and minority students, poor and affluent, can be closed." More often than not, one caring adult can make all the difference in the world. Today’s presentation will encourage all of you to BE THE ONE!

Leading Schools through Turbulent Times
Keys to Success

The United States and the world have endured unprecedented challenges in the last 6 months. Today, we are recovering from the impact of economic and social hurdles that may seem overwhelming. It’s during times like the present that leadership it most important. Guided by peer-reviewed research in resilience, and the lessons learned by school leaders after Hurricane Katrina, this presentation will provide participants with 5-research supported principles designed to guide schools through the many obstacles ahead. Excellence is possible. Even when times are tough.

Culturally Responsive Teaching to Establish Emotionally Safe Environments

The children who walk into our schools daily come to us from a variety of different cultures and social norms. Culturally responsive teaching helps schools to establish emotionally safe environments where all children feel welcome. Emotional safety often translates into higher academic achievement for greater numbers of children. This presentation will help teachers to make pedagogical decisions that are more culturally inclusive and achieve higher levels of student engagement. Children who feel cared for become adults who care more.

Please Stop Calling Me At-Risk
The Power of Resilience in Today's Urban Youth

In the fall of 2002, Dr. Jo Lynne DeMary, Superintendent of Public Instruction for Virginia Schools, requested that the Urban Learning and Leadership Center provide training for schools listed in Governor Mark Warner’s Partnership for Achieving Successful Schools (PASS) initiative. PASS targeted more than 100 academically warned schools based on the results of the Standards of Learning exams. Thirty-four of the schools were designated as PASS priority schools based on very low performance and were encouraged to attend training during the summer of 2003. With the governor’s approval, the training was called the Governor’s Urban Learning and Leadership Institute. As Director of the Urban Learning and Leadership Center, I was an integral part of the planning and delivery of training sessions.

I can vividly remember a comment made by a somewhat disgruntled participant. After expressing resentment that his school was “labeled” a PASS priority school, the participant commented; “these children can’t be successful because the deck is stacked against them.” Research regarding a phenomenon called resilience suggests that this type of deficit thinking may be partly responsible for the failure of students (Bernard, 1997). In keeping with the metaphorical observation presented by the participant, it is not that the deck is stacked against students; it may be that educators sometimes focus on the wrong cards. Research on resilience illustrates that children who are born with factors that place them at risk of failure can grow into productive citizens in spite of those factors (Werner & Smith, 1992). As educators, we must stop calling students at risk and begin to develop their resilience.

John Hodge
Featured Books

Standing in The Gap: 40 Days to Becoming a Deliberate Creator of abundance in Your Lifeby John Hodge

Standing in The Gap: 40 Days to Becoming a Deliberate Creator of abundance in Your Life

by John Hodge

We are all creators of the world we live in. What we are experiencing internally reflects into our outer world. Along with The Universe and God, we co-create everything that happens in our lives. We are in control, and our thoughts and feeling create what we attract.The reason I titled this book “Standing in The Gap” is because we are always in the gap. It’s the in-between part of where we are now and where we’d like to be. When we attract our desire, we have the next desire that we go after. When we attract that, we have another. We are constantly in that gap of getting there. We area always creating a new gap (the next gap) because we are designed this way to strive for more, want to be better or achieve something else. This is the gap we stand in every day.Journaling is one of the best ways to get clear about everything and anything and that’s why this book is created as a journal exercise. Writing things out by hand does so much to connect you to your true feelings and thoughts. Things will come up if you allow yourself to free flow and be uncensored. When you journal and just allow things to come, you’ll find blocks that you didn’t even know existed. The purpose of this book is to use these 40 days of journaling as a tool to create and attract what you want in your life. You will declare one thing that you desire to abundantly attract as your creation. Inevitably what will happen, if you stick to this daily, is that you will start to attract great things in other areas of your life as well. That’s just what happens when you’re at a high vibration.(Click BUY NOW to get this book today)

You Can Get in the Way: How You Can Become a ROADBLOCK to Risk Factorsby John Hodge

You Can Get in the Way: How You Can Become a ROADBLOCK to Risk Factors

by John Hodge

Is it possible for one person to make a noticeable difference in the life of a child?

Through stories, research, and strategies, Dr. John W. Hodge shows how children can be successful despite the risk factors that typically hold them back. Children who overcome usually have one thing in common: the presence of educators, counselors, social workers, community advocates, and family members - people just like you - who can see beyond demographic and social limitations to the unlimited potential that lies within the hearts and minds of all children.

This book will clearly explain how the actions of caring adults have been the difference between success and failure for children like the ones you see in your schools every day. As you read, you will gain a fundamental understanding of how the resilience phenomenon works and gain insight into ways you can foster resilience in students.

You'll Learn About:

  • School Accountability and the Achievement Gap
  • The Role of Resilience in Overcoming Obstacles
  • Positive Actions that Can Reduce the Impact of Adversity
  • The Long-Term Power of Relationships
  • Developing a Collaborative Action Plan



The evidence is overwhelming that one person's willingness to act can enhance resilience in children to such an extent that they overcome obstacles and eventually thrive. That one person just might be YOU.

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John Hodge
Featured Reviews

John Hodge
Featured Articles & Resources

What it Takes... creating excellent schools [VIDEO]

Video from Blue Ridge PBS. Unravel the "how to" mystery of school improvement with the authors of "Standing in the Gap." Field experts, John Hodge and Harvey...
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Nationally-known educator to address Ashdown teachers

Article from;Written by Nancy Cook Nationally known in educational circles as "one of America's most respected new voices in education," Dr. John W. Hodge...
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