Essential Lessons for School Leaders

Essential Lessons for School Leaders

by Joseph F. Murphy

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Keep these heartfelt gems top of mind

This gold mine of wisdom from top education researcher and the best-selling author of Turning Around Failing Schools andConnecting Teacher Leadership and School Improvement contains key tips and strategies every school leader should know. Award-winning

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Keep these heartfelt gems top of mind

This gold mine of wisdom from top education researcher and the best-selling author of Turning Around Failing Schools andConnecting Teacher Leadership and School Improvement contains key tips and strategies every school leader should know. Award-winning professor and former school administrator Joseph Murphy’s concise and instructive lessons will help you stay focused on what matters most as you navigate the hectic world of high-stakes testing and accountability, for example:

  • It really is all about the kids
  • Optimism is essential
  • Caring counts a lot
  • Listen—let people finish talking
  • Don’t confuse excuses and explanations

Editorial Reviews

Tom Burnham
"I found Murphy’s book to be one of the best and most practical sources of wisdom on leadership I have ever read.”
James W. Guthrie
“Murphy has distilled and perceptively packaged a career's worth of insight, experience, and analysis into a set of productive guidelines for organizational and personal excellence"
Terry B. Grier
“This is a unique and wonderful book, riddled with marvelous insights and full of uncommon wisdom. Murphy drills straight to the core of great leadership”
Gayle M. Cicero
“This publication includes a variety of thought-provoking insights, in the form of short quotes and explanations, to guide school leadership practices. The topics selected are current and appropriate for education leaders in the21st Century! The examples are easy to read, relevant, and would be useful for school or district-level administrators. The book could also be a useful tool to generate discussion among aspiring or practicing educational leaders."
Michael Fullan

… gems of wisdom drawn from a master who has both practiced and studied leadership. The positive version of Murphy’s Law! Read five lessons a day and you’ll be a better leader in less than a month.

William K Poston Jr.

Joe Murphy's latest book is another masterful compilation of common sense, research knowledge, and leadership wisdom. This book takes the mystery out of sound and effective educational leadership and communicates its salient precepts in a down-to-earth, practical manner that not only imbues a leader with much-needed guidance, but greatly enhances one’s opportunity for success as well. The book’s organization reflects a clever, relevant, and elegant structure that is enjoyable to follow and hard to put down.

Murphy’s Essential Lessons for School Leaders is one of those unusually uncomplicated, powerful, straightforward, and authentic books that any sensible school administrator looking for what really works in school leadership needs to have on their personal library shelf.

Fenwick W. English

"Those of us who know Joe Murphy as a national colleague will be surprised, delighted, amused, and poked into re-thinking our own leadership experiences in schools and colleges. I’m glad Joe shared his wisdom with the rest of us. These practical and pithy little “nuggets” of life, learning, and leadership are the real ISLLC standards."

Richard Sorenson

"Essential Lessons for School Leaders includes 140 brief vignettes, each one exploring a differing leadership topic. Emotion is 60% of what attracts people to a product. From the first essay forward, Joe Murphy seizes the reader’s heart and mind with riveting themes."

Daniel J. Gutchewsky

"Joseph Murphy has distilled his life experiences into this collection of lessons that cover a broad range of topics from details of professional practice to larger philosophical perspectives on school leadership. The lessons are entertaining, thoughtful, and pragmatic enough that rookie school administrators as well as seasoned veterans will find something valuable for their professional growth."

Christopher Shaffer
"This book captures all the lessons I have learned about educational leadership over the years in a simple andclear way. I have a principal on an improvement plan now and it could have been written from this book. This truly helps me know I am on the right track."
Essie H. Richardson

"Joseph Murphy has artfully captured the essence of educational leadership through a series of essays that extrapolate the truths as well as the myths about what leadership is and is not. This book reflects the powerful lessons learned by the author from his experiences as a school leader and an educator."

Jacquelyn O. Wilson

“What a great book. I enjoyed this so much and remember many conversations with Murphy about some of these lessons. This will be a bestseller.”

Jan Irons Harris

“I am enjoying reading your book so much! There is such truth and beauty in your words of wisdom!”

Gene Wilhoit
"Joe Murphy has gifted all of us with a fun read and a wonderful source of reflection."
Betty Burks
"School leadership as learning is about the relationship between and among people. Essential Lessons for Schools Leaders provides current and aspiring leaders with an abundance of thoughtful corollaries to guide purposeful leadership for improving the lives of students."
Karen Peterson
“In Essential Lessons for School Leaders, Murphy shares powerful insights from his extensivework with educators across the country. This book teaches important professional and personal lessons, while often making us smile.Readers mayrecognize many leaders they have encountered, making this a perfect gift for leaders both inside and outside of the schoolhouse.”
Jackie A. Walsh

"The author’s wisdom and wit are engaging and entertaining, causing the reader to alternate between smiling and nodding, pausing and pondering, and rereading and reflecting. Essential Lessons for School Leaders is a testimony to the author’s deep knowledge of school cultures and his reflection on his rich and broad professional experience."

Thomas Payzant

"Murphy's Essential Lessons for School Leaders will impress readers from the outset as they quickly learn they have found a book they will continue to return to for advice on how to lead successfully and avoid leadership mistakes."

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Product Details

SAGE Publications
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Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.70(d)

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