Pursuing Greatness

Pursuing Greatness

Empowering Teachers to Take Charge of Their Professional Growth

By: Pete Hall, Alisa Simeral, Bryan Goodwin, Bj Stone, Bess Scott

Publication date: 2019
ISBN: 978-1-7326994-5-8

Summer 2024 Sale: $22.95 ($10 off list price) thru Aug. 31, 2024!


You’ve probably heard that teaching is a journey. So...where are you on yours? That all depends on which challenges you’re currently facing. Trying to solve them all at once would lead to disorientation and burnout, so where to start? For guidance, join five of America’s leading thinkers, consultants, and writers on teaching and learning as they demonstrate the power of self-reflection to achieve ever-deeper insights into your own strengths—and ever-better results from your students.

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Title information

Authors Pete Hall, Alisa Simeral, Bryan Goodwin, Bj Stone, and Bess Scott identify 24 of the most common "problems of practice" faced by educators--something that’s not going quite as well as it could in the teaching-learning process--and show educators how to guide their own self-reflective journey toward solving these problems, gaining expertise in their professional practices, and empowering students to “own” more of their learning. These problems of practice are grouped into six pathways, each covered in detail by a chapter in the book:

  • Nurturing a positive learning environment.
  • Challenging students to commit to mastery level learning.
  • Designing engaging learning activities and lessons.
  • Motivating students with feedback.
  • Assessing for learning.
  • Creating dynamic group learning.


For each pathway, the authors provide research-based insights and simple tools for teachers to use in their classrooms and progress along a professional development pathway of Be Consistent, Be Connected, Differentiate, and Empower.

Teacher readers do not have to read the book sequentially—you can begin with whichever problem of practice seems most urgent to you right now. Your starting point is less important than your destination: a student-owned, teacher-guided, empowered classroom.  


Pages: 240
Language: English
Publisher: McREL International
Edition: First
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Pete Hall

Pete Hall is a veteran school administrator, keynote speaker, and professional development agent who has dedicated his career to supporting the improvement of our education systems. This is his ninth book—and his fifth collaboration with Alisa Simeral, including Creating a Culture of Reflective Practice: Capacity-Building for Schoolwide Success (ASCD, 2017). He also authored Lead On! Motivational Lessons for School Leaders (Eye on Education, 2011) and more than 20 articles on school leadership. A passionate advocate for Whole Child/Whole Adult approaches, Pete provides support to leaders, schools, and organizations across the globe. You can contact him via email at PeteHall@EducationHall.com or catch his Twitter feed at @EducationHall.

Alisa Simeral

Author and consultant Alisa Simeral has guided reform efforts as a teacher, instructional coach, administrator, professional developer, and leadership mentor in K–12 and adult education settings. Her focus is empowering educators to take charge of their professional learning by developing and refining the metacognitive habits famously identified by John Dewey. She is a co-author of numerous publications, including the best sellers Creating a Culture of Reflective Practice: Capacity-Building for Schoolwide Success (ASCD, 2017), Building Teachers’ Capacity for Success: A Collaborative Approach for Coaches and School Leaders (ASCD, 2008), and Teach, Reflect, Learn: Building Your Capacity for Success in the Classroom (ASCD, 2015). She works as a consultant and professional speaker at schools, districts, and education organizations worldwide, supporting their work to cultivate reflective practice and shift from cultures of compliance to cultures of commitment. Alisa’s mantra is “When our teachers succeed, our students succeed.”

Bryan Goodwin

Bryan Goodwin is president and CEO of McREL International. For 21 years at McREL, he has translated research into practice, scanning the world for new insights and best practices on teaching and leading, and has helped educators everywhere adapt them to address their own challenges. A frequent conference presenter, he is the author of Out of Curiosity: Restoring the Power of Hungry Minds for Better Workplaces, Schools, and Lives and Simply Better: Doing What Matters Most to Change the Odds for Student Success, as well as co-author of Curiosity Works: A Guidebook for Moving Your School from Improvement to Innovation, Unstuck: How Curiosity, Peer Coaching, and Teaming Can Change Your School, Balanced Leadership for Powerful Learning: Tools for Achieving Success in Your School, and The 12 Touchstones of Good Teaching: A Checklist for Staying Focused Every Day. Before joining McREL in 1998, Bryan was a college instructor, a high school teacher, and a business journalist.

Education: M.A. Rhetoric and Communication Studies, University of Virginia; B.A. Professional Writing and Environmental Studies, Baylor University

Bj Stone

Dr. Bj Stone is an independent consultant and owner of Advantage Learning and Leading, a co-author of the second editions of Classroom Instruction That Works (ASCD, 2012) and A Handbook for Classroom Instruction That Works (ASCD, 2012), and the author of the second edition of the Facilitator's Manual for Classroom Instruction That Works (McREL, 2012). A former middle and high school science teacher, university instructor, and central office administrator, she served for 12 years as a consulting director at McREL International, working internationally and nationally with K–12 teachers and administrators.

Education: Ed.D. Educational Leadership and Policy Study, M.S. Science Education, and B.S Biology, University of Northern Colorado

Bess Scott

Dr. Bess Scott is an associate professor of educational leadership at Doane University in Lincoln, Nebraska. Prior to working with McREL for several years as a managing consultant, she spent her 36-year public school career in Omaha and Lincoln teaching French, English, physical education, and health, serving in multiple leadership roles culminating with director of continuous improvement for Lincoln Public Schools.

This price includes a 30% discount for ordering the print versions of Pursuing Greatness and Quick Guide Complete Set together.