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Darren Ellwein

Principal. Speaker. Author. Leader


Darren Ellwein is blessed to be the principal of Harrisburg South Middle School in Harrisburg, South Dakota. 


In 2017 he was awarded Digital Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary Principals, NASSP.  He is an author, speaker, and consultant. He believes in empowering adults and kids to produce authentic learning experiences.  His building and staff have embraced a Maker culture and personalized learning environment. He has presented on various topics: leadership, personalized learning, Makerspaces, design thinking, social media for professional growth and promoting your school, innovative spaces and seating, and connecting with schools globally to transform learning.

Read more about Darren here

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Jimmy Casas

"If you are looking to be part of a revolution that will impact you as an educator and more importantly, make a greater impact on your students, then The Revolution by Darren Ellwein and Derek McCoy is the book that you've been waiting for. Filled with practical examples and personal anecdotes, this book will push you to reimagine how schools can look for all learners."

Yong Zhao

Darren Ellwein and Derek McCoy have produced a powerful book about educational transformation. Drawing from personal experiences as middle school principals who have led revolutions in their own contexts, Darren and Derek provides an honest account of the joy, the struggle, the moral mandate, and the challenges of revolutionizing education to better serve all children. But this book is more than personal tales. It includes wonderful insights, practical strategies, and friendly guidance for anyone who wants to transform education from top-down knowledge transmission to a student-driven journey of discovery.

Barbara Bray

“The world is shifting with a rapid and increasing pace of change that is complex even for adults. The challenge to transform education is crucial for our children to be prepared for this new world and their future. The Revolution addresses the need for this concern by sharing how we can embrace learning that can be messy even if it comes with a little bit of crazy. Ellwein and McCoy, middle school principals, are passionate about how and why they make this happen for their students. The authors weave in stories and examples, challenges to begin unlearning to relearn, points to ponder and suggestions for Revolution@ry work. The Revolution is a compelling manifesto for all of our schools to change and do what our children need now.”

Derrick Dalton

This book is the key to moving middle schools into the 21st Century and out of the stone ages of educational tradition!  The 4 descriptors of the "New Middle School Learners" was spot on from my 18 years of educational experience as I have witnesses this very real transformation of our learners.  I'm recommending this book to all educators who are risk takers and willing to face the challenges of preparing the next generation of leaders through a revolution of instructional delivery and student engagement!


Great job Derek and Darren--thanks for the support and the plan of action to guide us to sustainable success for our students and the communities we serve!

Todd Bloch

Darren and Derek share the vision of what schools should be for our students in #Revolution. Sharing glimpses of how education can be relevant for every student in the classroom, by moving past outdated practices to provide a future thinking, students centered educational experience.

Salome Thomas-EL

In The Revolution, Darren and Derek challenge all of us to move out of our comfort zones and take risks as educators and leaders! The call to action is to lead with grit and compassion, and to develop a culture of empowerment and collaboration in every school. I pray that we answer the call soon, as our students will need us to be courageous! Start the revolution now!



Brad Gustafson

“A child-centered revolution is waiting to happen within these pages. When it comes to empowering learners, this manifesto doesn’t pull any punches. The authors write from a place of deep credibility and anchor their aspirational message in very real terms. This book will be a juggernaut in leading school change.”

David Geurin

Immensely practical, The Revolution will challenge you to take your school on a journey to the next level of relevance and empowerment. Filled with powerful stories and new ideas, you'll learn to create authentic learning, develop compelling spaces, and foster outstanding relationships. I couldn't put it down. It's amazing to see what's possible when learners are given opportunities to take greater ownership of learning.

Jay Posick

Derek and Darren hit it out of the park!  Throughout the book they provide you with their insight into the culture of learning in revolutionary schools.  They make you rethink what school should be, pushing you to think differently about how we provide learning environments and learning opportunities for the learners- both students and teachers- in our schools.  I guarantee you will pause, reflect, and then implement at least one of their ideas the day after you read their book.

Melanie Farrell

Darren Ellwein and Derek McCoy have written a must-read book for anyone wanting to #BecomeBetter and improve their practice. Read and learn alongside many educators, just like yourself, ready for the education revolution.

Joe Klumper

Darren is a visionary who does not neglect the daily importance of investing in the small things that make great schools. Primarily relationships - with students, parents and his staff. No one has made me feel more worthwhile and creative than Darren. I am forever grateful to him. 

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