Justin Thomas at Shining Star Academy (A)
When Justin Thomas began as principal of Shining Star Academy, an elementary school in Alabama, the school had been failing for eight years and was in serious risk of state takeover. One of Thomas's innovations was to implement data-driven instruction, but teachers struggled to change their routines. As hard as everyone was working, progress was minimal after a year. Thomas was heartbroken, and he didn't know what else to try. This case is used at Darden in executive programs for leaders in education and second-year MBA courses on leading change. It would also be suitable in courses covering data-driven instruction, school transformation, leadership, and change processes.