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James Lane
James Lane

James Lane

PDK International

Austin, TX USA

"Opportunity is the intersection of luck and skill."

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James's work combines: Education, Business, and Teaching / Mentoring

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Day In The Life


I lead an association that enables public school educators to improve schools so that all students thrive.


Day In The Life Of A CEO Of A Professional Educator Organization

My Day to Day

My days are data-driven and community-focused. I begin by engaging with our team to review our impact, especially our Educators Rising program which supports future teachers across the nation. My role involves a mix of strategic planning and direct communication with district partners and students, ensuring our initiatives align with their needs. This approach not only fuels our growth but also deepens my personal commitment to enhancing educational experiences nationwide.

Skills & Education

Here's the path I took:

  • High School

  • Bachelor's Degree


    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • Graduate Degree


    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • Graduate Degree

    School Administration

    North Carolina State University

  • Doctorate


    University of Virginia

Life & Career Milestones

My path in life has been direct

  • 1.

    I went to college for music and started my career playing music in a few bands before my wife and I decided to get married and plant roots.

  • 2.

    I got a job as a band director at a school in Durham, North Carolina—when I started, there were only 25 kids in the band, and when I left five years later, over half the school was in the program.

  • 3.

    After witnessing the impact that my program had on the students, I knew I wanted to become a principal and make sure every classroom in a school had that same impact.

  • 4.

    I got my first principalship a few years later and really put my efforts into growing my teachers’ skills to create the greatest impact on students.

  • 5.

    I then decided that I wanted to be able to scale that impact to every school in the district, so I worked to become the district’s superintendent.

  • 6.

    I eventually ended up serving as superintendent in Chesterfield, Virginia, one of the largest school districts in the nation, which then led to me becoming the state superintendent of Virginia.

  • 7.

    After my term, I got the call from the Biden-Harris administration to serve as assistant secretary over the office of elementary and secondary education.

  • 8.

    I spent a couple of years as acting assistant secretary before making the transition to PDK International because I missed working directly with students and teachers.