Leading Good Schools to Greatness: Mastering What Great Principals Do Well

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Build your capacity to lead your school to greatness! Great leaders are made, not born. Written by the authors of From Good Schools to Great Schools, this sequel shows how great school leaders can be developed and how leaders can acquire the powerful personal leadership characteristics that the best administrators use to lead their schools to greatness. Based on sound strategies and the work of Jim Collins, Gray and Streshly tackle how to build relationships, communicate effectively, exercise your personal will with humility, face brutal facts, get faculty on board, and build a school culture of self-discipline. Chapters include: Case studies that provide an ongoing context for professional learning Self-assessments that reveal your inherent leadership dispositions Interviews and tips from exceptional principals in the field Strategies for developing specific leadership qualities Application exercises that reinforce how to put the strategies into action Reflection activities that encourage professional growth Appropriate for both individual and group professional development, Leading Good Schools to Greatness reveals how leadership skills can be learned and used to take your school to the next level

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Editorial Reviews

Kevin Singer
"Our best teachers obtain great results by building positive relationships with their students. Gray and Streshly show how our best principals do the same thing and how these behaviors can be learned and practiced."
Sandra Harris
“This book synthesizes the research and provides activities and reflections that guide leaders to master the art of leading good schools to greatness in a practical, thoughtful way.”
Thomas F. Leahy
"This book is right on target with its thought-provoking ideas and concepts on the characteristics of successful educational leaders. It would have been so helpful for me to have this tool when I began working in educational leadership 37 years ago.”
Robyn Fette
"This book is a must-read for anyone who would like to take the necessary steps to improve their schools, instructional practices, and skill in leadership."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412979788
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 9/20/2010
  • Pages: 183
  • Sales rank: 628,616
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Penny Gray, PhD has been an educator for more than 40 years in Indiana and California, including 15 years as Director of Curriculum Services for the San Marcos Unified School District in San Marcos, California and 7 years as a member of the Educational Leadership faculty at San Diego State University. During her tenure as Director of Curriculum Services she was responsible for the development, implementation, and maintenance of exemplary programs recognized throughout California in Reading/Language Arts, Mathematics, History-Social Science, and Science for grades K through 12. She was also responsible for effective teacher and principal support strategies that during the years under her direction evolved into a powerful system of coaches and facilitators of staff development. Dr. Gray has “walked the talk” in helping principals become truly effective instructional leaders. Her insights give down to earth, practical meaning to the research discussed in this book.

Dr. Gray serves on the San Diego State University (SDSU) Educational Administration Preparation Programs Advisory Committee. In her capacity on this committee and as a current member of the faculty of the Educational Leadership Department in the School of Education at SDSU, she has assisted in implementing changes in that school’s administration preparation program. She has designed and currently teaches an administrative course on instructional improvement through evaluation and supervision. In this course students participate in a walk-through supervision practicum, formal evaluation exercises, and the design of teacher and administrator evaluation systems. In addition, Dr. Gray teaches and coordinates the advanced administrator credentialing program at SDSU and supervises the fieldwork for administrative credential candidates at all levels.

In addition to her involvement with the faculty of Educational Leadership at San Diego State University, Dr. Gray serves as an officer on the Board of Directors of California Curriculum Management Systems, Incorporated (CalCMSi). She is certified to train administrators and teachers in Conducting Walk-Throughs for Higher Student Achievement and has implemented this training in several states across the country. She has also served as an external evaluator of schools and is a certified School Assistance Intervention Team leader for the State of California. She received curriculum management audit training from the California Curriculum Management Audit Center in Burlingame, California, in 1998. Since then she has served on school district audits in California, Washington, Texas, Ohio, Arizona, Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania. She has also served on academic achievement teams conducting comprehensive on-site assessments of the educational operations of school and community college districts in California.

Dr. Gray earned her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and her master’s degree from San Diego State University. In 2006, she received a doctoral degree in educational leadership through the Claremont Graduate University/San Diego State University Joint Doctoral Program.

William A. Streshly is Emeritus Professor of Educational Leadership in the College of Education at San Diego State University (SDSU). Prior to coming to SDSU in 1990, he spent 25 years in public school administration, includingfive years as principal of a large suburban high school and 15 years as superintendent of several California school districts varying in size from 2,500 to 25,000 students.

In addition to his numerous publications in the professional journals, Dr. Streshly is author or co-author of five practical books for school leaders, The Top Ten Myths in Education, Avoiding Legal Hassles (two editions), Teacher Unions and Quality Education, Preventing and Managing Teacher Strikes, and From Good Schools to Great Schools: What Their Principals Do Well.

Currently, Professor Streshly is a Senior Lead Auditor for Curriculum Management Systems, Inc., an affiliate of Phi Delta Kappa International. He has audited the instructional operations of more than 40 school districts in 16 states. His intense interest in the role of effective school leadership stems from his own extensive experience as well as his in-depth observation of the work of hundreds of practicing school principals across the country.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables ix

Foreword George Manthey xi

Preface xv

Acknowledgments xxi

About the Authors xxiii

1 The Skills for Leading Good Schools to Greatness Can Be Learned 1

Applying Good to Great Research to School Principals 2

Conversations With Highly Successful Principals 3

Administrator Preparation Program Reform 6

Reflection 6

2 First, Build Relationships 7

Reflection 9

Assess Your Leadership Capacity 10

A Behavior Different From That of Effective Private Sector Executives 10

The Three Key Elements Needed to Build Relationships 11

Constructing Your Personal Profile of a Highly Effective Principal 12

Part I Building Trust 12

Part II Engaging in Effective Interpersonal Communication 23

Part III Encouraging Constructive Conflict Around Ideas 28

Reflection 38

3 How to Exercise Your Professional Will With Humility 39

Reflection 40

Assess Your Leadership Capacity 41

Research on the Risks of Charismatic Leadership for Schools 42

Distinguishing Personal Humility Is Not So Easy 43

What Highly Successful Principals Say Conveying a Duality of Professional Will and Personal Humility 44

Strategies for Exhibiting Professional Will While Remaining Humble 46

Practical Application of Strategies for Exhibiting a Duality of Professional Will and Personal Humility 51

Ask an Effective Principal 51

Reflection 52

4 How to Face the Brutal Facts ... Then Do Something About Them 55

Reflection 56

Assess Your Leadership Capacity 57

The Research on Confronting the Brutal Facts and Unwavering Resolve 58

What Highly Successful Principals Say About Confronting the Brutal Facts 62

Strategies for Confronting the Brutal Facts and Then Doing Something About Them 63

Practical Application of Strategies for Confronting the Brutal Facts and Doing Something About Them 73

Ask an Effective Principal 73

Reflection 74

5 How to Get the Right Faculty on Board 77

Reflection 78

Assess Your Leadership Capacity 79

The Research on Getting the Right People 80

What Are the Right Places for the Right People? 83

The Wrong People for the School 83

What Highly Successful Principals Say About Getting the Right People 85

Strategies for Getting (and Keeping) the Right People 86

Practical Application of Strategies for Getting the Right Faculty on Board 100

Ask an Effective Principal 100

Reflection 102

6 How to Find and Promote the Hedgehog Concept in Your School 103

Reflection 105

Educators Differ From CEOs 105

Assess Your Leadership Capacity 107

Research on the Hedgehog Concept 107

Highly Successful Principals Exhibit the Hedgehog Concept 110

Strategies for Understanding and Executing the Hedgehog Concept in Schools 110

One School's Process for Developing New Mission and Vision Statements 116

Practical Application of Strategies for Finding and Promoting the Hedgehog Concept 120

Ask an Effective Principal 120

Reflection 121

7 How to Build a Schoolwide Culture of Self-Discipline 123

Reflection 124

Assess Your Leadership Capacity 124

The Research on a Culture of Self-Discipline 125

What Highly Successful Principals Do to Build a Schoolwide Culture of Self-Discipline 128

Practical Application of Strategies for Building a Culture of Self-Discipline 135

Ask an Effective Principal 140

Reflection 142

8 The Road Ahead 143

Research on Leadership Preparation 144

What to Look for in a Principal Preparation Program 145

Tips to Help New Principals Succeed 148

A Final Word 151


Resource A Research Methodology 155

Resource B Interview Participant Selection 159

Resource C Principal Interview Questions Derived From Collins' (2001) CEO Interview Questions and Demographic Questionnaire 163

Resource D Suggested Readings 169

References 173

Index 179

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