Dr. Darryl Adams is the Rock & Roll, Hip Hop & Soul Superintendent, Thought Leader and a Technology Evangelist! His goal for education is to help make this a better world by inspiring everyone to participate in providing equity, equality, and opportunity for all by ensuring that we “Leave No Child Offline and No Teacher Behind.”
I’ve followed Dr. Adams on his journey as a superintendent and keynoter for some time. In this episode, we talk about his journey that led up to the release of “The Education Nation” album on Rock & Roll, Hip Hop, and Soul Musical Tribute to Leadership, Education, Equity and Democracy (L.E.A.D.) Below are a few excerpts from the podcast where we included pictures, videos, and a link to his website with the streaming version of his album.
A little background and surprise about Darryl first
I’m originally from Memphis, Tennessee, but I’ve been in California now for 35+ years. I still have those roots in Memphis starting out in the music business in the 80s and fortunate enough to be in a band then that was pretty popular. We had an album out then and was on tour with Hall ‘n Oats. We were 6 African American guys from Tennessee in a Rock ‘n Roll Funk band who were on MTV. I thought you’d get a kick out of the picture of the album cover from 1984.
Then our band broke up and I moved to California. This background of music is a big part of my story. My love for music took me into teaching music and then into leadership. Leadership and music both are an art and need to be created.
I started out as a music teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District for five years. I really wanted to go into leadership because I felt we needed to bring more love, trust, creativity, and innovation to leadership. In the 90s, leadership was still a top-down entity in administration, I really wanted to bring that openness, transparency, and trust so everyone is included in the process of educating all of our students.
Your journey as Superintendent at Coachella USD
After being an assistant principal and then a high school principal, I wanted to be a superintendent. Then I landed at Coachella which others told me was a tough place with so many on free and reduced lunch. That was exactly where I wanted to be. I was lucky to be there with a board that told me that the only way to go was up and that I was the only one that could take us there. I decided to reach out to everyone in the school community, board, union members, business partners and talk about how we can do better than what’s happening now. Then discuss together how we can make a difference, be open, transparent, and make sure everyone was involved so we were more successful.
TLC Philosophy: Trust, Love, and Collaboration
I created the TLC Philosophy to inspire everyone to participate in providing equity, equality, and opportunity for all by ensuring that we “Leave No Child Offline and No Teacher Behind.” It really is all about Ethical Leadership that focuses on digital equity and access to all students so they can compete on a global level.
One of my songs on my album is called, Coachella, to demonstrate how they truly worked together. This was the right place for me to take my crazy music ideas instead of going from a C to an F Sharp, I put the idea of going from no technology to everyone having the technology. We knew we didn’t have funding from the Federal government or the state so we had to figure out how to find the funding from the community. I asked the community to see if they were willing to tax themselves so their students will be successful in the 21st century. We had the campaign to get the information out to the parents including support from Apple who explained to them what the mobile devices could do for their children. First, we did a huge pilot program so the parents could see what we could do and then the teachers, students, and the parents agreed that this was the way to go. At the 2011 election, the program was voted in with 67% of the vote. All 20,000 Pre-K to High School kids received their own individual iPad.
Wifi-on-Wheels at Coachella USD
At that time, there was no E-rate money to upgrade the infrastructure and broadband at the schools. We used some of that money to do that as well. We wanted a state-of-the-art system that would handle 60,000 iPads. We were the first in the world to ensure students 24/7 internet access by putting wifi routers on school buses by way of the Wifi-on-Wheels initiative.
This is Barbara: I pulled together a few more things about Dr. Darryl Adams below to share with you including some videos:
Dr. Darryl Adams just released his new album, “Education Nation.” He is an eternal optimist who keeps it real by bringing his unique energy, passion, oratory skills and original musical messages to inspire audiences everywhere. His goal is to change the world through creative servant leadership, innovation and out of the box thinking! Dr. Adams’ Keynote Presentations or Keynote Concerts are engaging, interactive, informative and fun. Think Hamilton meets Tony Robbins meets Martin Luther King with a touch of Rick James, James Brown and Jay Z!
Don’t miss the launch and streaming version on his website soon of…
The Education Nation Album: A tribute to Teachers, Students, Parents Everywhere!
In 2014, the U.S. Department of Education and the Obama White House named Dr. Adams one of the Top 100 Innovative Superintendents in the Nation. His iPads for All and Wifi-on-Wheels initiatives garnered a much-heralded shout-out from the President during the 2014 Future Ready Summit at the White House! President Obama praised Dr. Adams’ leadership and creativity and spoke to the importance of the iPads for All and Wifi-on-Wheels programs as being innovative ways of connecting students and families to educational opportunities.
Obama commending Dr. Adams: https://youtu.be/B-K6mxv8RX8
Dr. Adams has been named as one of the most influential voices in education by Tech and Learning magazine and the Center for Digital Education has honored him as one of the Top 30 Technologists, Transformers & Trailblazers in the nation in digital conversion.
ASU + GSV Summit May 2017
Dr. Adams has led the way in educational technology and digital conversion, broadband infrastructure expansion for schools and homes and in developing teacher educational technology certification programs. Dr. Adams has been interviewed by and highlighted on National Public Radio, The U.S. Department of Education, The Learning Counsel, the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelly and the Center for Digital Education regarding educational technology innovations, to name a few.
CUE 2015 Super Symposium: