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Dr. John  Hodge

Dr. John Hodge

President & Co-Founder of Urban Learning and Leadership Center


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. He has served as a reading teacher, English teacher, AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) teacher, Assistant Principal and Associate Director of AVID Center Eastern Division. AVID is an international college-preparatory program with an impressive record of success. He served as Director of An Achievable Dream Academy, an inner city school that piloted many of the interventions used by Urban Learning and Leadership Center. An Achievable Dream Academy is a high performing, high poverty school that has received numerous national awards. Read More >

Dr. Hodge received his Bachelor of Science degree from North Carolina A&T State University, a Master of Arts degree from Chapman University, and earned his Doctor of Education degree from Virginia Tech. While a student at VA Tech, Dr. Hodge conducted extensive research on factors that contribute to the academic success and/or failure of impoverished children. Dr. Hodge has worked extensively with college and university faculty members to improve educational practices and prepare tomorrow’s leaders for success.

Using resilience literature as a theoretical foundation, Dr. Hodge brilliantly leads educators through the process of developing, implementing and monitoring action-plans designed to help schools reach excellence. What sets Dr. John Hodge apart is his well-documented ability to put research and theory into everyday practice in rural, urban and suburban schools. He has worked extensively with K-12 faculties to address the tough issues of equity, school climate, emotional safety, restorative justice, and academic rigor. Dr. Hodge approaches each project with the enthusiasm of a first year teacher and the wisdom of a seasoned leader. With over 25 years in the field of education, Dr. Hodge has helped educators make the necessary changes to help all children meet and exceed rigorous academic standards. He is a consummate professional who is able to help others reach their fullest potential. His career has been defined by assisting students and teachers overcome obstacles and achieve goals.

Dr. John W. Hodge is, without question, one of America’s most respected voices in education. 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. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Children Can Be Successful IF Supported

Social Emotional Support

Children Are More Than Test Scores

Speech Topics


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

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, Dr. Hodge was an integral part of the planning and delivery of training sessions. Read More >

Dr. Hodge 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. Read Less ^

Motivating Teachers to Motivate Students: Let's Talk About Belief!!!

The stakes in public education have never been higher. Now more than ever before, it is imperative that teachers and students are motivated to meet new challenges. This emotional presentation is designed to give teachers the push they need to re-enter classrooms with the desire to inspire every child they teach.

Educating Students Socially, Academically & Morally

This presentation teaches educators what it takes to create and sustain excellence in the classroom.